Efforts to tackle waste are underpinned by the waste hierarchy, the purpose of which is to encourage the effective management of resources that are discarded or could be discarded as waste.
Taken as a guide, it encourages the prevention of waste, followed by the reuse and refurbishment of goods, then value recovery through recycling and composting.
The next option is energy recovery, an important level in the hierarchy as many materials have significant embedded energy that can be recovered.
Waste prevention, reuse, recycling and recovery are collectively defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as waste minimisation.
Finally, waste disposal should only be used when no option further up the hierarchy is possible.