J4: Residual waste arising by type and sector

Short Description

This indicator shows how much waste is incinerated and landfilled in England rather than recycled, reused or treated further up the waste hierarchy. Data presented are captured through the Environment Agency’s permitted site data and annual monitoring reports. There are still gaps in the data and these will need to be addressed in order to provide reporting by source sector.

Readiness and links to data

This indicator is not available for reporting in 2023 in a finalised form. An interim indicator is presented here that shows trends in waste landfilled or incinerated (with and without energy recovery) in England, excluding major minerals. Some data are available via the Environment Agency’s Waste data interrogator and incineration monitoring reports, but further work is required to split these data by source sector. This interim indicator, together with additional supporting methodology is also included within Defra’s Resources and waste strategy for England.

Notes on indicator

For the purposes of this indicator, residual waste refers to waste sent to landfill or incineration in England.

These data do not include exported waste figures. However, it is intended for these to be incorporated in the future.

Indicator components

Figure J4: Residual waste (excluding major mineral wastes) in England, 2010 to 2020

Table J4: Residual waste (excluding major mineral wastes) in England, 2010 to 2020

Year Incineration Landfill
2010 5,968,551.74 24,612,296.41
2011 - 23,068,274.01
2012 7,036,313.00 21,250,142.45
2013 - 19,281,184.22
2014 8,599,041.49 17,051,546.03
2015 10,366,875.00 15,161,446.70
2016 11,639,105.59 14,550,501.19
2017 12,992,265.46 13,658,447.21
2018 14,346,646.30 13,749,225.36
2019 15,296,420.62 13,755,240.19
2020 16,328,078.00 12,756,526.69

Trend description for J4

In 2020, the total quantity of waste (excluding major mineral wastes) landfilled or incinerated in England was 29.1 million tonnes, a 5% reduction against levels in 2010 (30.6 million tonnes). This reduction was due to less waste being landfilled (falling by 48% over the period 2010 to 2020), and more waste being sent to incineration (increasing by 174% over the same period).

Assessment of change

The time series for interim J4 indicator Residual waste (excluding major mineral wastes) in England begins in 2010 which is not yet long enough to produce an assessment for medium and long-term time periods. The assessment shows trends for the total of both landfill and incineration waste. A small increase in residual waste (or deterioration) was observed over the short term. This assessment does not consider whether this improvement is on a sufficient scale to meet any targets.

Change since 2018 has also been assessed. An increase in residual waste has been observed since 2018. However, this is based on only 3 data points so should be considered as indicative only and not evidence of a clear trend.

Further information on this assessment, along with details on the methodology, is provided in the Assessment background page. Summaries by 25 Year Environment Plan goal and information on indicator links are presented in the Assessment results pages.

Table J4: Assessment of change

Component Subcomponent Period Date range Percentage change Smoothing function Assessment of change
J4 Total waste Short term 2014 to 2019 19.54 Loess Deterioration
J4 Total waste Medium term N/A N/A N/A Not assessed
J4 Total waste Long term N/A N/A N/A Not assessed

Note that assessment categories were assigned based on smoothed data, so percent change figures in Table J4 may differ from unsmoothed values quoted elsewhere. Percent change refers to the difference seen between the first and last years in the specified date range.

Indicator Metadata