Pile of recycled card and paper in a reprocessing facility

Re-use and waste prevention

Delivering the wider benefits of re-use and waste prevention

Waste ‘prevention’ is defined in the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) as measures taken before a substance, material or product has become waste, that reduce:

(a) the quantity of waste, including through the re-use of products or the extension of the life span of products;

(b) the adverse impacts of the generated waste on the environment and human health;

(c) the content of harmful substances in materials and products.

Re-use’ means “any operation by which products or components that are not waste are used again for the same purpose for which they were conceived.”

Preparing for re-use’ means checking, cleaning or repairing for recovery operations, by which products or components of products that have become waste are prepared so that they can be re-used without any other pre-processing.

How to take action

Preventing and re-using waste helps to meet national policy drivers, reduce demand on finite natural resources, minimise greenhouse gas emissions, reduces local authority waste management budgets and can encourage social inclusion and economic development. 

The following links and resources provide examples of waste prevention and re-use initiatives, advice on developing waste prevention strategies and guidance on building partnerships between local authorities, waste management companies and third sector organisations in order to deliver these wider benefits.