As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of waste baling technology, here at Riverside Waste Machinery we keep a keen eye on industry news. And given that the word ‘landfill’ is never far from the headlines, we weren’t surprised to see that the Green Alliance’s latest report, “More jobs, less carbon: why we need landfill bans” achieved so many column inches.
The company claims that launching landfill bans could create 47,500 jobs in the UK and its analysis urges the Government to keep five key waste materials out of landfill, namely plastics, food, electronics, textiles and wood.
According to the report, banning plastics could create 16,100 of those jobs followed by food creating 12,100; electronics creating 9,500; textiles 6,600 and wood 3,200.
It raises the point that reuse, remanufacturing and recycling creates new and valuable products and selling these generates profit which would support skilled jobs from drivers to plant managers.
It really does make you wonder what we’re waiting for. In addition to the obvious employment benefits, surely the industry, government and consumers alike cannot continue to allow, for example, 70 percent of the UK’s post consumer plastic waste to go to landfill. For non-recycled plastic alone we are one of the worst performers in Europe and it is clear that a drastic change such as this is essential if we are to help the EU achieve its goal of sending zero plastics to landfill by 2020.
The UK and its worst counterparts – Italy, Spain, France and Poland – account for some 80 percent of Europe’s landfilled plastics waste. In stark comparison, the countries that have introduced bans including Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland, sent less than 10 percent of plastics waste to landfill and that was because it was in a form that could not be separated from other materials.
With UK landfills expecting to reach capacity by 2020 and constant calls to increase the landfill tax, companies across a whole host of sectors must look to update their waste strategy or indeed implement one altogether.
Whether it’s to upgrade or purchase a waste baler or invest in a whole new waste management system, something has to be done to halt the fact that we bury around £3.2bn of resources in landfill each year – and lose out on thousands of skilled jobs to boot.