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Recycle or incinerate! What is the best solution for our waste materials in Stevenage?

Recycle or incinerate! What is the best solution for our waste materials in Stevenage?

Here in Stevenage we are constantly being encouraged to recycle our waste materials and not put them into landfill. However, there appears to be an emerging trend for incineration of waste in many areas, but is this a good or bad step?

When it comes to waste materials the following advice is often espoused: Waste should be prevented, then reused, recycled, processed for energy recovery, and finally disposed of.

Unfortunately, although waste prevention represents the top priority of many, effective waste measures of this are yet to be developed by local authorities. This is often in part due to the lack of consistency in governmental waste policies. As a result, many local authorities are free to subsidise the activity of burning mixed waste, a process known as incineration.

When waste is not subjected to separate collection, it is called mixed or residual waste. This means that many materials such as plastics, paper and organic waste, which could be recycled if they were separated at the source, are lost, because they will be burnt in incineration plants.

The European Parliament is currently amending the European Directive on Renewable Energy, which will be implemented in the following decade. The legislation that emerges from this process will influence the choices of local policy makers and financial investors. This represents a major opportunity to offset unproductive investments and concentrate the efforts on the options that are the most sustainable, the most profitable, and generate the most jobs. In all these aspects, recycling makes much more sense than incineration, but why?

Recycling saves energy

The practice of incineration is not a sound idea for several reasons. Firstly, it disincentivises the public to care about what they consume. This is clearly a bad idea in a world where more than seven billion people live by using finite resources.

Until quite recently, recycling was considered tricky, time consuming, costly and even impossible according to some. However, now recyclers run a very profitable business, while preserving materials that can be reused. A combination of recycling and composting can save three to four times more energy than an incinerator can produce.

Even more important, recycling saves massive amounts of CO2 emissions and, if optimised, it can play key role in meeting the objectives set out in the various agreements designed to combat climate change.

Finally, when the amount of energy that an efficient recycling regime can potentially save is incredible when compared to incineration.

Recycling is far more profitable

Incineration of mixed waste is a very expensive procedure which requires significant financial investments from local authorities. Unfortunately, the costs to build the facilities and to run them are are covered mainly by public funds with very little private contribution. Therefore, its costs are to be paid by the public through higher taxes and bills for waste management.

The recycling sector has developed into a very successful business. In some countries its turnover has increased by 520 per cent between 2005 and 2009. Agreeing to maximize recycling is even more important for those countries that joined the European Union more recently and are currently building their waste management system. They have also the most to gain in terms of jobs and savings.

Recycling can create more employment opportunities in Stevenage

Burning waste requires a lot of money but very little workforce. This means that incineration facilities create very few jobs.

On the other hand, recycling benefits the entire economy by creating at least ten times more jobs than landfilling or incineration. Now that has to be a better situation to be in!

It has been estimated that, in addition to the nearly 400,000 direct jobs brought by the implementation of the existing European Union waste legislation, 170 000 more jobs could be created, most of them impossible to allocate outside the European Union countries, and 30 billion euros could be saved by 2035.

When comparing the costs, it becomes easy to see how good management and recycling can save money for us, the taxpayers and create actual wealth.

Recycling is more flexible

The technology involved in incineration is neither efficient and presents quite a few problems. Should there be a breakdown of a major incinerator, the operators will be forced to apply for an extraordinary permit to store a massive quantiy of waste. It then follows that such a breakdown will cost vast sums of money to the operator who will likely pass down the cost to the taxpayers to recoup their losses.

Incinerators are not very flexible. This means that, in order to deliver a sound economic profit, they need about fifty years of activity, without taking into account the management costs. In 1998, when the Kent County Council entered into a twenty five year contract to burn waste, it thought it was making a wise economic move. But now, as the recycling economy has improved so much, the council is losing an estimated 1.5 million a year. Rather than selling its recyclable waste for reuse, which would be both economically and environmentally efficient, it must send those valuable resources to incinerator plants. That is a bad situation that will continue until the contract eventually expires.

The re use and recycling attitudes are not only environmentally friendly, but they also deliver a far better result from the economic and social point of view.

Incineration still looms over the heads of many communities as a serious threat, while every year less than 40% of European waste is recycled or re used. The best way to turn this trend on its head is to adopt effective source separation of waste materials and separate collection schemes. It is possible to boost the percentage of recycling carried out, creating an extra value for society and the environment, and finally getting away from the practice of mixed waste incineration for good.


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Having a good clear out of the garden shed or garage produces way more rubbish than you ever imagined possible. Decorating preparation can also produce a good deal of waste, such as old skirting boards and stripped wood chip paper that his been up since the war, so a skip is a great way to dispose of the waste.

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Further Information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 0800 169 8588, email us at stevenageskiphire@live.co.uk or fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Stevenage Skip Hire Ltd - Envirowaste Recycling Centre - Jacks Hill - Graveley - Herts SG4 7EQ

Stevenage Skip Hire Ltd
Envirowaste Recycling Centre
Jacks Hill
Graveley
Herts SG4 7EQ

Articles
New Bill designed to ban export of plastic waste
The problems with waste disposal in Stevenage
Plastic pollution around the globe
Carbon emissions and the environment
How the five R's can dramatically improve our environment in Stevenage?
Recycle or incinerate! What is the best solution for our waste materials in Stevenage?
Single use plastic products in Stevenage
A guide to what can and cannot go into a hired skip
Recycling your waste materials in Stevenage
The problem with plastic pollution in Hertfordshire
Waste reduction in Hertfordshire
Plastic waste from the United Kingdom may be sent overseas instead of recycled
Just how recyclable is the plastic we use in Stevenage Skip Hire
What happens to all the plastic we throw out
Fly tipping: A modern day curse
Recycled plastic for roads and pavements
Seaweed sachets offer an alternative to plastic
The increasing problem of plastics in our oceans
Plastic pollution in the ocean starts from the rivers
Ways to reduce your plastic waste
Plastic microbeads are a load of rubbish
Waste plastic from the UK is polluting the globe
Hiring a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire rather than using the local dump
Hire a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire for your garden waste
Get a skip and avoid fly tipping in Hertfordshire
Some facts about waste and recycling from Stevenage Skip Hire
Hire a skip instead of going to your local Hertfordshire tip
Hire a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire for your soil and mud
Useful information about skip hire in Hertfordshire
Hire a skip from Stevenage Skip Hire to save you time effort and money
The benefits of skip hire from Stevenage Skip Hire in Hertfordshire
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