This section highlights the main social drivers in planning, establishing and maintaining a waste prevention plan.

In writing your local authority waste prevention plan, the first stage of the process should be to determine the drivers for waste prevention in your area.

Implementing and promoting waste prevention programmes will be largely based on local plans which are driven by national plans and, in turn, legislative drivers. These will cover both environmental and social aspects of government policy.

Social policy and drivers

Welfare Reform Act 2012

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 abolished Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans from April 2013. Instead, funding is now transferred to local authorities (LAs) and the devolved administrations (DAs) to develop their own local support schemes for those in a crisis or facing unavoidable need.

One of the ways that LAs and DAs might choose to invest this funding is in expanded provision for re-use items. 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) highlighted the opportunities that LAs might have in encouraging social services departments to work with waste management teams. This would support re-use of goods and the provision of goods to recipients of local welfare provision. 

For more information see DWP guidance to local authorities (see section 3 pp25-28).

Welfare reform is an on-going process. For the latest please see:

DWP Work Programme

The DWP Work Programme provides tailored support for jobseekers, delivered by DWP service providers who decide how to support participants. Service providers may or may not receive payment for this.

Re-use organisations often rely on unemployed volunteers and work placements and in some cases will generate income from providing placements and training opportunities for the long term unemployed. 

However, DWP contractors are now much stricter on their placement conditions, for example less time allocated to a placement, which could discourage re-use organisations from extending their services and weaken their business models. 

Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012

The Act requires local authorities to;

  • include in their sustainable community strategy, proposals for engagement with social enterprise;
  • include measures to enable social enterprises to participate in implementing proposals; this could include waste prevention activities delivered by the third sector such as collections, repair and sale for re-use, and community-based waste prevention initiatives; and,
  • when entering into public procurement contracts, to give greater consideration to economic, social or environmental wellbeing during the pre-procurement stage for public contracts.

Further details and guidance for commissioners and providers of public services, including case studies are available here.