Waste has become one of the most important environmental issues on the political agenda. While national targets have been established for industrial and commercial waste (DEFRA, 2000), numerous targets have been set for municipal solid waste (MSW), mainly related to recycling and recovery. The Waste Strategy 2000 (DEFRA, 2000) describes a vision for improved management of waste and resources. It sets out the changes needed to deliver more sustainable development, providing the framework for regional and local government to prepare integrated waste management strategies.

In 2003, the South West Regional Assembly (SWRA) published a two-part technical report entitled Developing a Regional Waste Strategy for the South West Regional Assembly (SWRA 2003a and 2003b), which led to the publication of From Rubbish to Resource: The Regional Waste Strategy for the South West 2004-2020 in October 2004 (SWRA, 2004c). The aim of the technical report was to provide:

  • A baseline review of existing waste management activities in the region;
  • A forecast of future waste trends;
  • An assessment of the effectiveness of waste minimisation initiatives;
  • A range of options to meet aspirational and statutory diversion, recycling and recovery targets; and
  • Appraisal of these options against an appropriate range of sustainability criteria, including those normally included in a 'Best Practicable Environmental Option' (BPEO) assessment.

The options developed in this technical report cover all waste produced in the South West, including municipal solid waste (MSW), commercial and industrial waste (C&I), agricultural waste and construction waste. Seven options were developed for waste management (excluding waste minimisation) in the South West for 2020 and these have provided the base on which the scenarios presented below have been developed. Not all options are presented here, but the remainder can be found in Additional Information. The waste scenarios presented below cover two waste streams: municipal solid waste (MSW) and commercial & industrial (C&I), which are analysed separately.

Additional scenarios were developed to illustrate the role of waste minimisation in addition to waste management. Finally, scenarios were developed to show what actions could achieve an environmentally sustainable South West.