Waste management

Reduction + Re-use


- The best way of managing waste is preventing it, so businesses are encouraged to reduce their packaging

- Envirowise give advice to companies on how to reduce waste and costs

- Consumers are discouraged from plastic bags by having to pay for them


- Milk containers, soft drinks bottles and jam jars have been attempted

- Most successful has been sale of "bags for life"

- Some shops charge cash deposits on glass bottles to encourage their return

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- Paper, glass, metal cans, plastic and clothes can be recycled if they're collected economically

- Start up costs of schemes can be high and market value of material produced may be low

- Households can be unwilling to sort waste

- Large amounts of steel/aluminium cans and paper are recycled, but plastic bottles can prove difficult to be profitable

- Does have hidden costs of transporting, cleaning and processing the materials

England (%)

2001/01  |  2001/02  |  2002/03  |  2003/04  |  2004/05  |  2005/06

  11.2          12.5          14.5           17.8          22.5          26.7

EU's target was 30% by 2010

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Energy Recovery

Waste material => Energy

- Main method is incineration

Past: Many councils burnt waste, added CO2 emissions+pollutants into the atmosphere, older incinerators closed down

Now: Generate electricity or power neighbourhood heating schemes and considered to be good option for waste disposal

-17 licensed municipal incinerators in UK and figures for Environment Agency show emissions have fallen since 1990

- One of the best known incinerators serving Byker Wall flats in Newcastle-upon-Tyne closed

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Small scale

- Kitchen scraps and garden waste

- Can be used to make compost which can fertilise gardens or farmland

Large scale

- Anaerobic digestion, an advanced form of composting, takes place in an enclosed reactor

- Biological treatment of organic waste speeds up breakdown process

- Gasses made (mainly methane) can be burnt for electricity, soild residue can be soil conditioner

Countries that use it: Germany, Denmark, Italy

Expensive to set up

UK dried sewage residue has been used in pellet form as biomass fuel in Derbyshire

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- Dumps in old quarries or hollows for convenience and cheapness even with groundwater threats through toxic chemicals leaching out and contaminating water sources

- Decaying matter produces methane which is explosive and a strong greenhouse gas

- Nappies account for 15% of household waste, cost £40m a year to dispose of approx 1 million tonnes of nappy waste (75% urine and faeces) and take approx 500 years to break down

- In 2006 it was reported the UK only had 9 more years landfill capacity before shortages of available sites began to occur

- Overall, all of this means landfills are becoming increasingly expensive and other options are now preferred

Japanese cities: operate a staggered system of waste collection (waste dependent), they use colour-coded translucent refuse sacks, collectors can check contents and give heavy fines for non-compliance, overall works in an efficient and orderly manner

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