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Westminster environment guidance - Section B

Find information on carbon and pollution reduction, as well as urban greening.

Section B - waste management

Local authorities are required to allocate sites and identify waste management facilities through which they should manage their waste. Westminster will have to manage 188,000 tonnes of waste in 2021 and 199,000 tonnes in 2040.

This means moving the city’s waste up the hierarchy by increasing recycling and reuse, supporting the shift to the circular economy and contributing to London’s net self-sufficiency in waste management as per the aspiration of the London Plan. The City Plan’s waste policy will ensure that the council and its stakeholders will consolidate these achievements through:

  • working collaboratively with other London boroughs
  • ensuring developers incorporate waste management and recycling facilities into their development for the whole life cycle of the development from construction through to occupation and operation (Clause D – minor modification)
  • safeguarding and improving existing waste management sites and services for household and commercial waste.

Waste hierarchy guidance (

Through our current Municipal Waste Strategy (2016-31), we are aiming to achieve a 65% recycling target of municipal waste by 2030 and the council will offer separate collections for dry recycling, food waste (by 2023) and non-recyclable waste for households and commercial businesses. We will also provide visitors and residents the opportunity to recycle on the go through segregated litter bins.  

The council’s Reduction and Recycling Plan 2018-2022 (RRP) details our approach to increasing the scale and performance of recycling services in the city, a key priority for the council, and ensures the trend of rising recycling rates in Westminster continues. The plan introduces household food waste collections for the first time, the transition to a ULEZ-compliant waste collection fleet and working with Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) on waste consolidation schemes, among other initiatives. 

The council has also produced guidance on Recycling and Waste Storage Requirements for new developments. All planning applications must demonstrate that adequate provision has been made for the storage of waste and recyclable materials and, where possible, include off-street waste collection. Architects should use our waste storage requirements guide which outlines the council's requirements and gives examples of suitable waste management equipment.

Circular economy

As we move to a climate resilient Westminster, we will be looking for opportunities to move from a linear to a circular economy. A straightforward way to think about the linear economy is the take-make-waste model.

Linear economy model 

Resources are sourced globally to make anything from bricks to buildings and once the building is considered to no longer be functional, the building becomes waste through the demolition process. 

Circular economy model

Putting the circular economy into action in Westminster’s built environment means in the first instance exploring retention and refurbishment of buildings rather than demolition and re-build.  If this is not possible, then incorporating reused materials into a new development or if not possible avoiding final disposal of the material.

If we ensure that demolition processes allow the reuse of materials, we gain these opportunities:

  • preservation and enhancing green infrastructure and city greening
  • maximising opportunities for renewable energy
  • waste minimising and reduction

In the linear economic model, the intrinsic value of products and materials reduce over the life of the building. By moving to a circular economy approach, both buildings and their component parts retain the intrinsic value when they are reused and retained. This approach is considered in more detail in the waste management section. [ADD LINK]

Our circular economy perspective is still being developed and we currently align with the GLA.

For more details, see this guidance produced by the Mayor of London:

Design for a Circular Economy

Circular Economy Statement

See also:

WCC Municipal Waste Management Strategy 2016 - 2031

Designing out Waste: Landscape opportunities: WRAP

Designing out Waste: A Design Team guide for civil engineering: WRAP

Designing out Waste: A Design Team Guide for Buildings: WRAP

Code of Practise for Sustainable Use of Soils on Construction Sites: Defra

Published: 23 April 2021

Last updated: 23 April 2021