David Levy – Crazy Days are Here Again – Mar 19

Under the Waste Hierarchy the landfill of waste was programmed for elimination via higher and higher staged tariffs.

The reason for this was to lower the carbon footprint of landfill and to make waste materials available for recycling and re-use, key policy objectives higher in the Waste Hierarchy. This all coincided with the Climate Change Act of 2008. Dovetailed thinking you may think.

At the time Stephen and myself were founder members of UKWIN (UK Without Incineration Network). We saw the writing on the wall. We foresaw that waste companies, who have always tended to follow archaic waste disposal options, would opt for incinerators to deal with their mixed waste and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).

We were right. Although European countries were ahead of us in building incinerators, they quickly ran out of incinerator feed stock due to their success in developing recycling. Their solution was to seek our dried MSW as pelletised SRF (Solid Recovered Fuel). We in the UK bulked up our dried MSW and sent it to Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

Seeing that their air is our breath, Marinet along with UKWIN and other environmental organisations opposed this practice and we sought better recycling in this country and especially the eradication of plastics in SRF.

For the record, Municipal Solid Waste is officially classified as hazardous waste. Whilst SRF, which to repeat is just dried MSW, is not classified as hazardous waste! As Paul Daniels would say, “That’s Magic”! In fact it is chemically impossible to change the nature of hazardous waste by just drying it; and the Environment Agency has never explained why SRF is not hazardous.

Other revelations show just how crazy the Waste Hierarchy is.

Emissions from incinerators, largely due to the plastics in the SRF, produce approximately 2.5 times more CO2 than landfill. So the Climate Change Act is not being better served by incineration in preference to landfill. Also burning the petro-chemicals used in most plastics pollutes the air and thus damages the health of citizens living nearby to incinerators as well.

Do not tell me that those in the waste industry did not see this coming.

I do not believe it. Frankly, they are self-serving and only act towards their own ends.

Politicians are now voting through their councils an incinerator almost every month whilst voting, at the same time, for CO2 reductions under the Climate Change Act!

They truly are in charge of the asylum.

David Levy

 


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