Thursday, 13 January 2011

EU Landfill Directive 'Backfiring'

A report by Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has warned that pressure on recycling more leads to goods that can be recycled such as; paper, glass and plastics being sent to landfill anyway because the quality is not good enough:

The document by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) says councils are focusing too much on the quantity of recycling rather than quality.

This is tending to produce a poor-quality stream of recyclable material.

Because of this, the lower-grade material sometimes has to be sent to landfill anyway.

To combat this the ICE believes that focusing on the quality should be as important as the quantity:
The report says the waste industry must change its culture so the focus is not only on increasing the quantity of recycled materials but on retaining the quality and value of reusable materials.
Quite how the ICE thinks the culture will change whilst we under EU obligations (Landfill Directive 99/31/EC) to send less to landfill - or else, it doesn't say.

I'm sure Councils would like to improve recycling quality, but that's not where their priorities lie. Their priorities lie in trying to avoid massive EU fines - £150 fine per landfill tonne (a possible £3 Billion bill to the taxpayer). This kinda concentrates Council's minds over and above all other considerations. It simply matters not if the consequences are; poorer quality recycling material, fortnightly bin collections, residents anger, public health issues, unpopular incinerators or no collections at all.

And until our relationship with the EU changes, then the ICE can produce as many reports as it likes, it matters not one jot.


  1. There is also the point TBF that we extract more from the land than we infill - yet another stupid effect of the landfill directive.

    Keep digging at this rata and there wont be a UK left - but perhaps that is their fallback option?

  2. Not while we're net contributors WfW, the EU doesn't want us to go anywhere...just yet.

  3. What WFW says, we have enough disused coal mines and quarries to take five centuries' worth of the stuff (or whatever the figures are).

    And some recycling makes good commercial sense (aluminium) and some of it is a waste of effort.

    Incineration and power generation also seems to be a good idea (plus it really p-sses off the Greenies).