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Departmental Waste

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 21 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what volume of waste his Department generated in each of the last three years; what percentage of this was (a) paper, (b) plastic, (c) glass, (d) metal, (e) electrical goods and batteries and (f) food waste; and what percentage of his Department's waste was (i) disposed of securely, (ii) disposed of in landfill and (iii) recycled. (311840)

The waste figures for the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) are not separated out therefore individual figures for the amount of: paper, plastic, glass, metal, electrical goods and batteries and food waste generated and the percentage of each type that was recycled are not available; nor are figures for the amount of waste disposed of securely and disposed of in landfill.

The MOJ was created in May 2007. All central Government Departments and executive agencies are required to report on sustainable operations on the Government estate (SOGE) targets as part of the sustainable development in government (SDiG) reporting process. The waste reduction and recycling targets are to:

Reduce waste arising by 5 per cent. by 2010 and by 25 per cent. by 2020 relative to their 2004-05 levels, and to

Increase recycling figures to 40 per cent. of their waste arising by 2010 and by 75 per cent. by 2020.

The estimate made of total waste arising from the Ministry of Justice in 2007-08 was 71,060 tonnes of which 22 per cent. was recycled. The assessment of 2007-08 performance can be found on the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) website:

The estimate made of total waste arising from the Ministry of Justice in 2008-09 was 82,3277 tonnes—a reduction of 19.9 per cent. against a revised baseline. This represents excellent progress and the Ministry of Justice has already exceeded the 2010-11 waste reduction target; 36.6 per cent. was recycled. The assessment of 2008-09 performance, published by CESP on 18 December 2009, can be found on the OGC website:

Recording food waste as part of SOGE (sustainable operations on the Government estate) is optional. The following table gives an estimate of food waste generated at the Ministry of Justice by those areas that have collected the data.









National Archives




HM Prison Service carried out two surveys as part of a business case to evaluate requirements for in-vessel composting and de-watering technology with the overall aim of providing an effective solution to sites with food waste disposal issues and upholding the philosophy of “waste to resource”. The philosophy of “waste to resource” means taking waste and processing it into a useful, useable product and adding value to it. In 2006, based on 32 prisons, on average 1.45 kgs of food per prison place were wasted per week. In 2007, based on 51 prisons, the figure was 1.34 kgs of food waste per prison place per week.

Number of prisons responding

Operational capacity

Average food waste per place per week (kg)









The use of de-watering and in-vessel composting technology has been introduced at around 35 prisons to process food waste into compost. The compost is used on prison gardens and horticultural activities thereby reducing the requirement for bought-in compost and contributing towards the HM Prison Service strategy for phasing out peat-based products.

Additionally, a small scale anaerobic digestion plant has been installed in Guy Marsh Prison with the objective of processing biodegradable wastes, including food waste, into biogas.