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Why Does The Waste Hierarchy Matter?

7th Apr, 2017

Whether you’re a homeowner or business owner, you may have heard the words ‘waste hierarchy’ before. Essentially, it’s a concept that’s based on the idea that the best way to deal with waste is to organise our priorities so that we produce less of it in the first place. Sounds like solid thinking to us at Skip Hire Network! Let’s have a look in a bit closer detail.

What Is The Waste Hierarchy?

waste hierarchy diagram

If you’ve ever thought about hiring a skip before, you may well have heard of the waste hierarchy. The whole idea revolves around the notion of the most efficient use of resources – it’s the objectives of the current EU Waste Framework Directive, which the UK still currently falls under, and it affects our own waste legislation and regulations. The exact words and phrases sometimes differ between nations, but here are the core ideas:

Prevention and Minimisation

We’re starting at the top; this is the highest priority for the waste hierarchy. The easiest way to deal with waste is if there’s less of it (or even none at all), so using less material is key to ultimately cutting down on waste. Plastic bags are a good example, and as a nation we’ve recently drastically cut down on the amount of plastic we waste by not picking up one every time we visit our local supermarket.


Where cutting down on waste in the first place isn’t quite feasible, the next most preferable option is to reuse what we’ve got. To continue using the plastic bag example, that means that if we do find ourselves having to pick a new one up, using it as many times as we can before it breaks can still effectively cut down on producing waste. Cardboard boxes are another good example, as are milk bottles, plastic water bottles, ink cartridges…the list goes on!


If you’ve read any of our blogs before, you’ll already know what big fans of recycling we are here at Skip Hire Network. But awesome as it is, recycling is still only making the best of a bad situation by dealing with existing waste. If we manage not to produce it in the first place, that’s still a far more preferable option!

Energy recovery

This is mostly a gentle way of talking about burning things, to be honest. And while it’s not necessarily amazing, it’s not the worst thing in the world – we’ve now come far enough technologically that we’ve worked out ways to harvest energy from the process, which is what the term ‘energy recovery’ refers to.


The final and least preferable option is a single word that we can more or less equate to ‘landfill’. While we’ve previously outlined that modern landfills are more than just dirty great holes in the ground – they even sometimes overlap with energy recovery techniques – burying our waste is still not the greatest idea, and we’re still trying to avoid it at all costs.

How Does Skip Hire Network Honour The Waste Hierarchy?

waste trommel recycling

Efficiency and environmental friendliness are two of our guiding principles in the way we do business here at Skip Hire Network. We segregate everything we collect in our skips and use anything we can, only disposing of it as an absolutely final resort – in keeping with the philosophy of the waste hierarchy.

That means that when you hire a skip from us, you can rest easy with the knowledge that we’ll treat your waste responsibly. Just enter your postcode and phone number onto our website to get hiring a skip today!

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