A new analysis by the Green Alliance this week found that a total of 50,000 jobs could be created if the government were to ban landfill sites. If products like WEEE, food waste, textiles, plastic and wood were recycled properly then the UK economy could potentially save £3.8bn.
This week, the Green Alliance published a paper entitled “More jobs, less carbon: why we need landfill bans.” In it, they claimed that better collection systems, improved infrastructure and the banning of landfill sites, could create more jobs within the recycling sector.
Each year, 19 million tonnes of waste is sent by us to landfill sites. This is an absolute criminal waste of resources. Perfectly renewable waste is being sent to sit and rot on rubbish tips, where it can add to harmful greenhouse gases, ruin the local environment and generally become an unpleasant eyesore. Added to that, the UK economy is currently throwing away £3.8bn on wood, plastics and electronics that could have been re-used.
According to Dustin Benton, head of resources at the Green Alliance, “landfill makes no sense economically.”
He writes, “remaking old products requires skilled labour for disassembly, fault finding and repair. High quality recycling is a sophisticated industrial process, requiring engineering and technical skills.”
Mr Benton also claimed that by selling recycled product on justifies the “labour required to process them.”
The Green Alliance believes that as many as 16,000 jobs could be created by banning plastics from landfill, 12,000 through banning food waste, 9,500 through banning WEEE, 6,600 for banning textiles and 3,200 for banning wood. All told, a total of almost 500,000 jobs could be supported by an efficient recycling industry.
Landfill bans have proven to be successful across Europe, in Germany, Sweden and Austria and have even been introduced in several US states. The UK government however, remain reluctant to impose any bans on landfill sites.
Back in January, Dan Rogerson DEFRA minister, told letsrecyle.com that the department did not think it was “practical” to impose a ban on waste being sent to landfill sites.
He told the website “I don’t think it would be practical to bring in a ban because there will still be residual waste going into various routes … unless we are going to rip open every black bag to check what is in there I don’t think we are at a stage where we would want to (impose bans.)”
Instead, the government is trying to impose landfill tax. Last weeks’ budget introduced a new standard rate of £82.60 per tonne, and a lower rate of £2.60 per tonne which would be applied to inert waste that poses only a very limited threat to the environment.
The Green Alliance, and supporters of recycling like ourselves, are not convinced however. Mr Benton writes, “the UK is currently buying billions of pounds of value in landfill and losing out on thousands of skilled jobs … a change in policy would improve resource productivity and boost private sector jobs growth at a time when the economy really needs it.”
Here at Recycle Technology, we’ve always favoured recycling over sending products to landfill. That’s why you can rest assured that nothing we collect from you will simply be sent to a rubbish dump.
Don’t contribute to the culture of waste being encouraged by the government! Recycle as much as you can, and help improve the environment for the future.
To see the Green Alliance report, click here.