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Waste arising - UK generates lower waste

Released: 29 June 2011 Download PDF

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Total waste

The UK generated an estimated 313.6 million tonnes of waste in 2008, 28.5 million tonnes (8.3 per cent) lower than in 2006. The amount of waste reduced as:

  • non-household waste fell by 27.6 million tonnes to 282.1 million tonnes

  • household waste fell by 1.0 million tonnes to 31.5 million tonnes

Waste arising by sector

Waste arising by sector, Environmental Accounts 2011
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Total non-household waste accounted for 89.9 per cent of the total waste in 2008. This was mainly due to waste generated by the construction industry, and by mining and quarrying, which together accounted for 75.2 per cent of total non-household waste.

Total non-households waste fell by 27.6 million tonnes in 2008, compared to 2006, mainly due to a fall in waste generated by construction industry. Waste in the construction industry fell by 18.5 million tonnes to 126.1 million tonnes, primarily due a fall in non-household mineral waste, and general and mixed waste. Mineral waste fell by 9.4 million tonnes, and general and mixed waste fell by 7.1 million tonnes.


Total household waste fell by 3.1 per cent to 31.5 million tonnes in 2008, compared with 2006, mainly due to a fall in household general and mixed waste. Total household waste was the fourth largest contributor - after construction industry, mining and quarrying, and services - in generating the total waste in 2008. Household general and mixed waste accounted for 73.2 per cent of the total household waste in 2008; however, it fell by 6.9 per cent to 23.1 million tonnes in 2008, compared with 2006.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. The above data includes estimates of waste reused / recycled on-site in England and Wales – no data is available for Scotland and Northern Ireland, hence the figures may provide an underestimate of the total construction waste.

  2. Environmental accounts provide data on the environmental impact of UK economic activity, on the use of resources from the environment in the economy, and on associated taxes and subsidies.
  3. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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