Government publish 2021 Waste Management Plan for England

Today (27 January 2021), marked The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) publication of their updated Waste Management Plan for England; fundamentally, this doesn’t make changes to how waste is currently managed nationally and aims to bring waste management policies under one plan, but there are amends to note for the collection and disposal method

You can view the full government plan document HERE

In line with the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, the Waste Management Plan has to be reviewed every 6 years and it provides analysis of the current waste management situation in England, as well as evaluation of how the Plan will support implementation of the objectives of the aforementioned waste legislation. In line with the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and feeding down to the Resources and Waste Strategy, this Waste Management Plan is derived from both of these longer-term policy documents.

There are comprehensive waste management policies in England which together deliver the objectives of The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 and these are; to protect the environment and human health by preventing or reducing the generation of waste, the adverse impacts of the generation and management of waste, and by reducing overall impacts of resource use and improving the efficiency of such use. Therefore, the intention of the Plan is not to introduce new policies or to change the landscape of how waste is managed in England, its core aim is to bring current waste management policies under the umbrella of one national plan.

Whilst there are no major changes in the 2021 Plan, there are a few points to note to reflect new government commitments:

  • Introduction of a recycling target for municipal waste of 65% and reduction of landfill to 10% by 2035
  • Separate weekly food waste collections were particularly highlighted as part of planned measures to increase material collection consistency, which is expected to require additional infrastructure and where this does need to happen, DEFRA are expecting Local Authorities to implement this “at the earliest opportunity allowed for by contractual obligations.”
  • Continued growth of energy from waste (EfW) plants – specifically an increase in plants which operate in combined heat and power mode as this considerably reduces their emissions
  • The Plan references Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging, as well as consistency in collections framework and Deposit Return Scheme legislation, all of which will be consulted on again in the imminent months; we will be communicating when these consultations are released and sharing how producers can share their views, as well as how we can support with responses
  • Introduction of additional EPR schemes for Textiles, Bulky Waste, Construction and Demolition wastes and Tyres and Fishing Equipment, which, as part of the Resources and Waste Strategy will be reviewed and consulted upon. DEFRA is looking to implement two of these new waste stream regulations by 2022, however, at this stage the Plan does not state which.

MP Rebecca Pow said, “this Plan will play its part in embedding sustainable thinking around waste management and bringing about a real step change in how we consume resources, protecting the planet’s natural capital for the benefit of us all – both now and in generations to come.”

For any queries regarding this Waste Management Plan or any upcoming consultations, please contact our policy team –

You can also keep up to date with the latest and upcoming policy developments relevant to packaging, WEEE and batteries producers on our environmental policy and consultations calendar HERE which is continually updated by our policy team in line with government announcements.