We all produce waste. Everything we use has to come from somewhere and it must go somewhere when we are finished with it.

We believe that everybody can make a real difference by thinking carefully about what we buy and before throwing something away.

We want to move towards a circular economy in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the most value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their life, or the energy contained within residual waste.

This way we can maximise resource use and the reduction of waste overall.

The Circular Economy is supported by the 4Rs

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle
  • Recover

The first step: reducing the overall amount of waste in the first place by preventing waste at source

By using our purchasing power as consumers and businesses, choosing products which are produced sustainably, use little or no packaging and are durable, we can reduce the amount of waste generated.

Buying only what we really need and avoiding single use products really helps to reverse the trend of today’s throw-away society. And ensuring the food we buy is not wasted is good for the environment and your pocket

The second step; reuse

Give unwanted items a new lease of life by using them differently or passing them on to others in the community.


This way your unwanted items like furniture and bikes can find a fresh new home.



Opting for refillables, such as cups, and avoiding single use can make a real difference.

Reuse can save money, help local communities and prevent items ending up in land-fill.

Step 3: recycle more

Recycling materials saves valuable resources and can conserve energy

The more we recycle and buy recycled content products, the more competitive and available those products will become, supporting and driving demand for high quality recycled materials.

Recycling materials saves valuable resources and can conserve energy, and when we recycle locally it can help to further reduce a community's carbon emissions from transporting new goods long distances.

At Waterbeach we operate a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) which contains machines that separate different materi-als including plastics, cardboard, metals and paper ready for use as raw materials for new recycled products

Step 4: recover leftover value

There is still waste left over after communities have reduced, reused and recycled as much as possible, but then the next step is to recover the materials that have ended up in the wrong bin through our ‘MBT’ system at Waterbeach.

Energy from Waste

What we want to do next is recover the energy in any materials that can't be recycled. This way the non-recyclable (black bag) waste can be put to good use rather than being sent directly to landfill.

We hope to gain permission to build an Energy from Waste (EfW) facility at Waterbeach which will use the non-recyclable waste as a fuel to heat up water to make steam, which will power a steam turbine to produce electricity and/or supply a local district heating network. You can find out more about the Energy from Waste proposals here.

Landfill. The last option for waste is currently landfill

Landfill is the oldest form of waste management and as a society we’ve decided to move away from putting rubbish in the ground as we need to manage waste more sustainably by adopting the 4Rs approach.

Landfills create around 36% of the UK’s methane – a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

Landfill does not maximise the recovery of resources from residual wastes. We want to minimise waste and maximise the value to local communities and to society as a whole.