In 2018 the UK government reported that over 37 million tonnes of industrial and commercial waste were generated in England. This accounts for 32% of all waste generation* but excludes the waste generated from construction, demolition and excavation, which accounts for more than double this figure. With waste generation rising by over 4% year on year you have got to ask yourself where is all this going?
REMONDIS is a waste management company based in South Yorkshire and North East England, providing internationally-renowned services to the whole of the UK. To understand where this waste goes and the international standards set we talked to them about 6 ways “the Brits” dash their dirt.
Fly-tipping – a term to describe an act of dumping waste at a random site instead of disposing of it correctly. Although deemed a residential issue there were over 1 million cases** reported in the year 2018/19 which was an increase of 8% on the previous year. The sad thing with this waste is that it usually goes directly into landfill as it is the most cost-effective way to clear the mess for local authorities – but probably not the most cost-effective way for our environment.
By 2050 it is expected at the current rate that plastics will outnumber fish, which is a heartbreaking statistic from Condor ferries. Now fish don’t always pull on the heartstrings of the public but what about knowing mammals such as whales and dolphins are found entangled in litter as much as 1 in 3.
The UK is not the biggest offender of this, that lies within China where the Yangtze River carries 1.5 million tonnes into the sea every year compared to our River Thames that dumps just 18 tonnes (although 18 tonnes too many).
Unless you buy an apple directly from the market stall and are one of those people that eat the core as well, then you cannot avoid that with any purchase you are going to have to throw something away.
Disposing of our waste ethically should be a priority but still, the UK dumped 8.7 million tonnes in landfill. REMONDIS boasts that 99% of the waste it collects does not go into landfill avoiding additional taxes for waste management and more flexible service.
Did you know that the plastic bottle you still so diligently put in for recycling can still end up in a mountain of plastic waste? The UK is responsible for shipping 611,000 tonnes*** to Asian countries for them to dispose of it – that is disposed of not to recycle. However, it is hopeful to know that the UK has made large commitments to lower the amount of shipped waste due to the “Blue Planet Effect” on public behaviour – Well done Sir Attenborough!
Work with it
All over the UK and the world we see new entrepreneurs creating businesses from waste that they find in our waterways, bins and landfill. A Kent businesswoman has been recycling adult toys from local rivers and turns them into novelty items for children, decorative pieces and homeware that she sells in her local village. An African woman set up a charity in which she collects 1,000’s of flip flops washed up on to the beach, she employs local women who create souvenirs for tourists. But if you are looking for an excuse to have a glass of wine, Vega in Italy turns the waste from wine production into bio-textiles, saving pollution from Italian Rivers but also creating safer working environments for textile workers.
With all good intentions, most of us still want an easy way to dispose of our waste. Two top projects that are turning waste into charity are FareShare and Ecobricks.
Fareshare are collecting unused or food being discarded and distributing it to local charities all over the UK. This equates to saving over 24,000 tonnes of food waste, providing over £14 million to charity and feeding nearly 1 million people per week.
Eco Bricks works by households and businesses filling empty 2 litre drinks bottles with the plastic waste that cannot be recycled like food packaging and labels. The bottles are jam packed with this waste, dropped off at a local distribution point and distributed all over the world. The bricks are then used by construction companies to fill groundworks and reduce the amount of concrete used in projects and they are even used in developing countries to build homes and properties for the poor.
Waste Management Means Managing it Right
Whatever you do with IT ensure you are aware of what you are doing and making the most of it for our environment. REMONDIS works with over 30,000 staff in dozens of countries across the world. It ensures that it’s waste management and recycling services are of the highest levels, but most importantly it is serving you and the planet a better future.