The Waste Management Sector Plan led by the Environment Agency (EA) and Environmental Services Association (ESA) explains how the industry is performing environmentally and pinpoints the main areas for improvement over the next five years.
Included in its ten objectives are the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the consumption of raw materials, tackling waste crime and illegal operators and improving data on waste production and management.
EA head of waste regulation Liz Parkes said: This plan shows how we are working in partnership with the waste management industry in England and Wales to help look after the environment and achieve a greener business world.
Although the sector itself does not have a huge negative impact on the environment, there are still a number of incidents that occur when handling waste. A key part of this plan is to take measures to reduce such incidents and their effects on the environment. Also the plan aims to tackle the increasing number of illegal operators who undermine the legitimate waste management sector.
The objectives will be reviewed annually and will also include improving health and safety, relations between the EA, industry and the wider community and enhancing natural habitats around waste management sites.
ESA chief executive Dirk Hazell said: ESA has led private sector debate in Britain and in Europe on modernisation of environmental regulation because our industry appreciates how good regulation can align economic and environmental sustainability.
Our members have made impressive improvements in environmental performance going well beyond the requirements of the law. This sector plan helps to sustain improvement by offering shared understanding of what is to be achieved and structure for delivery.
Waste will also be promoted as a resource as the plan strives for a sustainable and competent industry, targetting areas such as landfill and waste treatment plants.