The Government's waste hierachy
The 2008 Waste Framework Directive, which is enshrined in law, outlines a hierarchy of options for managing waste. It gives top priority to preventing waste in the first place. When waste is created, it gives priority to re-use, then recycling, then other recovery such as energy recovery, and last of all disposal (for example landfill).
Increased recovery of waste and diverting waste away from landfill plays a key role in tackling the environmental impacts of increasing waste volumes. As recycling and EfW via combustion are increasingly used, net greenhouse gas emissions from municipal waste management are expected to drop considerably by 2020.
From a briefing published by the European Environment Agency in 2008