What is the Waste Hierarchy?

This is a simple tool to help you work out the best way to tackle waste.

It is best described in this diagram

Preventing waste through using resources and raw materials efficiently is the best option, followed by re-using goods such as clothing, books and furniture. Recycling materials such as paper, glass and plastic into new products is the next preferable option. If unable to reuse or recycle then recovering value, often in the form of energy, from the remaining waste is promoted. A Zero Waste society is one where waste is managed as far up the hierarchy as possible with disposal, such as landfill, being the option of last resort.

The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 and the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011 place a duty on everyone who produces, keeps or manages waste (including local authorities) to apply the hierarchy.

It is your duty to take all reasonable measures to ensure that waste is treated as far up the hierarchy as possible. This is part of your Duty of Care and the Scottish Government has prepared a Code of Practice to help you comply with it.