Defra is considering altering waste regulations to include bans or restrictions on the types of wastes which can go to UK landfill sites.
Research commissioned by Defra and undertaken by Green Alliance studied the impact of various bans and restrictions imposed on landfilling in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the Belgian state of Flanders and Massachusetts in the USA.
The results showed that imposing restrictions on the types of waste that can be landfilled, or placing bans on the landfilling of particular waste streams, has encouraged higher rates of recycling and recovery. In Germany, the amount of waste sent to landfill reduced from 27% to 1% after a landfill ban was introduced for some materials, such as paper and card.
The production of the report and the imminent consultation indicates the government’s intention to introduce restrictions on all or some ‘priority’ materials such as paper, food and green waste, glass, aluminium, wood, plastic and textiles, whose diversion from landfill allows significant environmental benefits.
In June, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn highlighted the issue, saying:
“Take food, glass, aluminium or wood – why would you put any of them into landfill when they can be recycled, or used to make energy? What sort of a society would throw away aluminium cans worth £550 a tonne when aluminium producers are crying out for the raw material?”
Changes to such legislation would increase demand for recycling and recovery, which would in turn encourage business' to further segregate their waste stream.
Posted under Environmental Regulations and Legislation and Waste Management on 11 September 2009