Defra Publishes Key Stats on Waste and Resources

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published a series of key statistics from the waste and resources sector.

The publication – Digest of Waste and Resource Statistics – 2015 Edition – is a collection of key statistics on a range of waste and resource areas and is based on historical data from Defra, WRAP, the Environment Agency, the Office for National Statistics and Eurostat.

It is the first time that Defra has produced a Digest of waste and resource statistics and the document aims to bring together a wide range of key statistics on waste and resource into one publication.

The Digest includes six core data sets which have been used as indicators for the monitoring of waste prevention.  These data sets are:

  • Raw material consumption per unit of GDP
  • Waste arising by sector (including construction and demolition, commerce, industry and household)
  • Hazardous waste arisings by sector
  • Waste arising per unit of gross value added for the commercial and industrial sector
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from landfill
  • Gross value added of the repair and reuse sector


Developing such metrics to serve as indicators for monitoring progress on waste prevention is a key part of the Waste Prevention Programme for England.

Statistical data within the publication covers a range of topics, including resource flows, waste generation, the waste hierarchy, waste composition, food waste, waste infrastructure and fly tipping.  The Digest also looks at economic characteristics of the waste sector and environmental issues relating to waste, as well as drawing comparisons between UK performance and that of the wider EU.

The collated data suggests that the UK has made some progress over the last 12 years in reducing waste.  Overall there has been a decrease in waste arisings across sectors, with household waste declining from 22.1 million tonnes in 2010 to 21.6 million tonnes in 2013.  The data also indicates that there has been an overall decline in the generation of methane emissions from landfill, with emissions almost halving between 2000 and 2012.

However the report also shows that waste arisings per pound of gross value added in the construction, demolition and excavation sectors has remained stable and that the volume of hazardous waste being generated has slightly increased.

The Digest is aimed at a wide audience, including policymakers, analysts and specialists in the Defra Network, Environment Agency, WRAP, other organisations, the waste sector, academia, other researchers and consultancies.

The full publication can be viewed here.

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