J5: Prevent harmful chemicals from being recycled

In development In development

Short description

This indicator will track the amount of banned or restricted chemicals in waste which is being destroyed. The removal and proper destruction of such chemicals is necessary to prevent them contaminating recycled products or being released into the environment.

Initially the indicator will use data on the amount of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) being sent for destruction. This is in line with the goal to substantially increase the amount of POPs material being destroyed or irreversibly transformed by 2030. Similar data on elimination of the use of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) will be included once those data become available.

Where possible, these chemicals should be removed prior to disposal, minimising the amount of waste being sent for destruction. Data may soon become available for some of these waste types, enabling assessment of improvements in the quantity and quality of waste material available for recycling.

This indicator is not available for reporting in 2021; some data are already published via the Environment Agency’s Hazardous Waste Interrogator. Further work is required to develop the indicator, initially for POPs and subsequently for PCBs.

This table provides metadata for the interim or final indicator presented above.

Indicator name

Prevent harmful chemicals from being recycled

Indicator reference


Outcome Indicator Framework theme

Resource Use and Waste

Headline indicator status

Resource efficiency and waste

Relevant goal(s) in the 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Minimising waste
  • Managing exposure to chemicals
Relevant target(s) in the 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Fulfilling our commitments under the Stockholm Convention as outlined in the UK’s most recent National Implementation Plan
  • Seeking in particular to eliminate the use of Polychlorinated Biphenyls by 2025, in line with our commitments under the Stockholm Convention
  • Substantially increasing the amount of Persistent Organic Pollutants material being destroyed or irreversibly transformed by 2030, to make sure there are negligible emissions to the environment
  • Working towards our ambition of zero avoidable waste by 2050
Position in the natural capital framework
  • Pressure on natural capital assets
Related reporting commitments
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants Regulation (Article 13)
  • UN Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (Article 15)
Geographic scope

UK; data are also available at regional level, and by local and waste planning authority.

Status of indicator development

In development

Date last updated

11 June 2021