Original Waste Hierarchy of Ad Lansink
Recycling is the third step in the waste hierarchy or Lansink’s Ladder, after the priorities initiated by the politician Ad Lansink in the Dutch parliament in 1979.
The waste management hierarchy indicates an order of preference for action to reduce and manage waste from most favourable to least favourable actions.
A proper application of the hierarchy can help prevent greenhouse-gas emissions, reduces pollutants, save energy, conserves resources, create jobs and stimulate the development of green technologies.
Redesign of Lansink’s Ladder
In 2012 we designed Lansink´s Ladder in a modern format.
Download the Waste Hierarchy: Lansink’s Ladder
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- Waste Hierarchy – Lansink’s Ladder (.png)
- Waste Hierarchy – Lansink’s Ladder (.jpg)
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- Waste Hierarchy – Lansink’s Ladder (.pdf)
Who invented the Waste Hierarchy?
Ad Lansink is the founder of the original waste hierarchy, which is called ‘Lansink’s Ladder’. The former Dutch politician introduced the waste hierarchy in the Dutch parliament in 1979. Internationally the principle of Lansink’s Ladder is known as the Waste Hierarchy or the Hierarchy of Waste Management.
What does the Waste Hierarchy mean?
The waste hierarchy, or Lansink’s Ladder, distinguishes six steps of waste management to reduce and manage waste in order to maximize the efficient use of natural resources. It ranks waste management options according to what is best for our environment.
Prevention and reusing waste are the top priority (avoidance). Recycling and high-quality energy recovery is the second priority (recovery). The least preferred is burning waste and dumping waste on landfills (disposal).
The intention of the hierarchy of waste management is to step up the ladder and reduce the amount of waste and the need of virgin resources.
What is the order of the Waste Hierarchy?
To explain the hierarchy of waste management further we have to take a look into the concept of the waste hierarchy. Lansink’s Ladder is a list of six steps in the shape of a pyramid or ladder. The waste hierarchy diagram consists of the following steps:
List of steps of Lansink’s Waste Hierarchy
Quantitative and qualitative prevention and avoidance of waste. Reduce and minimize waste by replacing pollutant products with biodegradable alternatives, such as replacing disposable plastic bags with reusable canvas bags.
Reduce waste by reusing products and materials. Reusing and reducing go hand in hand. By reusing materials you also reduce the amount of waste. A form of reusing is up-cycling, these are environmentally friendly DIY projects. Such as transforming an old pallet into a vintage table.
Most waste can be recycled. Such as single streams of plastics, paper and metals. Recycling is a (long) process where disposed items or waste materials are separated, collected and processed in order to manufacture an entirely new product. Recycling is a preferred option when waste can’t be reused. It prevents the need of extracting raw or virgins resources.
Generating energy from (mixed) waste materials. This is also known as ‘waste to energy conversion’. By incinerating waste materials energy can be generated. Such as heat and electricity. The downside of energy recovery is that waste materials are burned and lost forever in order to generate energy. Composting organic waste or bio-mass waste in order to generate energy is also a form of energy recovery.
Incineration is also a form of burning waste materials. But in this case no energy is produced by burning the waste. The purpose of incineration is to dispose waste in order to prevent it from being dumped on landfills.
A landfill is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burying it in the ground. This is the last method of waste disposal and least favoured. Dumping waste on landfills only has disadvantages. It won’t generate energy, it is heavily polluting and recycle resources materials can’t be reused. Landfills are one of the causes of the amount of plastic waste in our oceans.
Why is the Waste Hierarchy important?
The waste hierarchy guides consumers and business to generate the minimum amount of waste per product. It stimulates a circular economy and it promotes sustainability because it shows opportunities for waste minimization. This results in reducing the amount of virgin materials being extracted and used for new products. Because of recycling, reusing and reducing we decrease the amount of waste in the world generated by the community, industry and government.
Advantages and benefits
- Saving energy.
- Reducing pollutants.
- Conserve valuable resources.
- Stimulate the development of green technologies.
- Prevent emissions of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Waste Hierarchy and the 3rs: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle
The most important steps of the Waste Hierarchy are the three R’s. These steps represent reduce, reuse and recycle. The three steps can also be found in the universal recycling symbol, each arrow symbolizes reduce, reuse or recycle. Recycle is step three, reuse is step two and the most desired step is reduce. By reducing, reusing and recycling waste we can bend our linear economy into a circular economy.
Waste hierarchy GIF
More info about Lansink’s Ladder
Blogs by Ad Lansink
Waste hierarchy essential for circular economy
Presentation on the Third International Conference on Waste Management in 2015 in Pisa held by Ad Lansink on the relation between Lansink´s Ladder and the concept of circular economy.
Download presentation (pdf – size: 1,4 Mb)
Climbing Lansink’s Ladder
By Recycling.com/ 21 June 2016