What Do We Do?

We recycle 20 million tonnes of materials every year, providing an annual turnover of £5.6 billion. More than 100,000 people are directly employed in a thriving resources and waste sector that is responding to growing public and media concern for the environment.

As well as helping to deliver a long-term zero-waste, zero-carbon future, ESA aims to raise standards across the sector and ensure that the environment and the public are protected. We educate waste producers of their Duty of Care and the requirements for responsible and legal disposal of materials.

We work closely with the UK's environmental regulators to tackle waste crime. We encourage our members and the public to report any incidences of waste crime as well as developing recommendations for what the Government can do to help reduce the blight and its impact on communities, the environment and the UK's economy.

Given the right policy platform, the industry is ready to invest £10 billion in new recycling and recovery infrastructure, create 50,000 jobs and deliver more than 40 million tonnes of CO2 savings by 2030.

The Government's statistics show that the waste management sector is currently a minor contributor to greenhouse gases emissions in the UK. However, the industry has the potential to become a major saver of emissions by driving the UK towards a more circular economy while reducing its impact on the environment. To achieve this, we have produced a Net Zero Strategy that sets out how the industry can become Net Zero by 2040 - ten years before the Governments recommendations

Furthermore, as our climate changes and extreme weather events become the norm, risks of disruptions to established waste management practices are high. To prevent the changing climate from having disastrous effects on waste management services and facilities, ESA is working to ensure that the industry is prepared for the changes to come. 

ESA practises what it preaches: in the three decades since 1990, the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions have come down 85%, a record few other industries can match.