A review of plastic waste management practices, life cycle assessments, challenges and opportunities

This report provides an overview of current waste management practices for plastic waste in the UK and critically reviews end of life plastic waste life cycle assessments to highlight best practice waste management methods. The report further identifies challenges and potential solutions to help move UK plastic waste up the waste hierarchy.

The waste hierarchy is concerned with establishing the best waste management options with respect to their environmental impact, with options that are best for the environment at the top of the hierarchy. In all circumstances, preventing waste in the first place is the preferred option, with landfill and incineration typically being the least desirable options.

Moving the management option, where there is a choice, up the hierarchy should in theory reduce the impact of the resource on the environment.

Life Cycle Assessments

A second report – the Plastics Waste Hierarchy Life Cycle Assessments - highlights further detail about the life cycle assessments used in DEFRA’s Plastic Waste Hierarchy.

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  • The Plastics Waste Hierarchy Report.pdf

    PDF, 608.25 KB

  • Plastics Waste Hierarchy Life Cycle Assessments.pdf

    PDF, 501.27 KB