Thursday, March 5, 2015
Victoria's Green Matters - 5th March 2015
Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: It was very encouraging to read a report this week about landfill and recycling. In 2009, 90% of our waste went to landfill but now that figure has dropped to 50% and is set to reduce to less than 10% by 2020.
In 1996, landfill tax was introduced and the cost of tipping one tonne of waste is now £80 which is set to increase to £82.60 from April. This charge has forced companies to deal with their waste in different ways, from using waste to create energy and to recycling material which can be used to make new things.
Companies that have made their businesses from all forms of waste have had to think far beyond landfill and make investments into other systems for dealing with rubbish. 'Waste to energy' plants, where waste is burnt to produce electricity which is then supplied to the National Grid is a large part of their business now. Methane gas, which is given off at landfill sites, is being collected and either being piped directly to users or is being burnt to generate electricity. One plant, near Birmingham, produces enough electricity to power 25,000 homes from its methane. This saves a potent greenhouse gas from reaching the atmosphere.
There are different opinions regarding 'waste to energy' plants. The purists feel that there should be ways of reusing everything and that there should be no residue while the realists know that there will always be something left over.