Monday, 23 February 2009

Is Recycling Rubbish?

Here, in West Oxfordshire, we have just received the latest (Spring 2009) edition of 'Creating Futures', the PR 'comic' from West Oxfordshire District Council.

The latest edition of 'Creating Futures' states

"As waste decomposes at landfill sites it releases carbon dioxide and methane gases. Both these gases contribute to global warming. There is also a land shortage for landfill sites. For these reasons it is essential to keep recycling."

This is, in fact, blatant propaganda as the following will show.

We already have the technology to extract and utilise methane from landfill. This is well documented and the New York Times carried an article on the use of methane gas, to create electricity, in a number of US states on 13th September 2008.

Last June, through pages accessed on the DEFRA and the UK Minerals Year Book websites, both of which are no longer 'available' but of which paper copies exist, this is the position with regard to landfill capacity in this country.

We quarry about 260 million tonnes (mt) a year of land minerals, mostly limestone, granite and sand and gravel, plus 9mt a year of opencast coal. In terms of volume, that equates to new holes with a capacity of about 110 million cubic metres (mcm) a year. Our existing licenced holes have a capacity of about 700 mcm. We produce less than 100mcm of waste and refuse a year. The system, as scientists would say, is therefore in equilibrium.

The 'crisis' has been created artificially by a combination of EU blind stupid regulation and the Labour government's cupidity. Tyres, for example, are now classed as 'hazardous' waste in the same class as hospital waste and strange glowing chemicals. Artificially witholding waste disposal licences from perfectly suitable holes in the ground creates an artificial shortgage. And the government have not only imposed an aggregates levy that taxes minerals coming out of the holes but a landfill tax that taxes waste going back in to fill them up.

It is also worth noting the following by the CLG Select Committee in the opening paragraphs of their report 'Refuse Collection'.

"Yet the strength of reaction that rubbish inspires may seem disproportionate to its true significance. Municipal waste collection in England accounts for less than one tenth of all waste: the rest comes from commerce, industry, mining, quarrying and construction (in all of which sectors, it is fair to say, recycling rates are higher than for municipal waste). Once the commercial waste that some councils collect is removed from the municipal total, the household component - what we put in our domestic bins, bags and boxes - is only around 7 percent of the nation's waste. The efforts of the past decade may have quadrupled the household refuse recycling rate, but it is rarely pointed out that this equates to less than 2 percent of the resources in the nation's total annual waste stream."

So a little more factual information from government generally and a little less propaganda might be in order?

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