Each household produces about one tonne of rubbish annually, amounting to approximately 27 million tonnes for the UK each year.
Unfortunately, modern waste contains more products that can't degrade when they're put in the ground. Packaging waste makes up about a quarter of all the rubbish we throw away at home, yet most of this could be recycled.
Businesses can save as much as £1000 per employee through the effective use of raw materials. However, many companies fail to recognise this and continue to throw away profit in the form of avoidable waste.
There's no question that we simply must recycle more waste - we can't keep on burying and burning rubbish forever. This is recognised by international governments.
The overriding directive which introduced controls on recycling and waste management throughout the EU is the Framework Directive on Waste. This has been transposed into a number of laws in the UK, which help us manage the amount of rubbish we produce and control how we deal with it.
Although most of the laws are similar in each country in the UK, there are some regional differences. There are a number of organisations that can provide more specialist advice:
Environwise is a government programme offering free, independent advice on practical ways to minimise waste and maximise profit.
Groundwork Environmental Business Services provides practical support, advice, information and training to companies on environmental business issues.
Environment Agency provides guidance on relevant regulations and waste management advice.