Green Alliance, an influential environmental think tank working to ensure UK politicians deliver solutions to global environmental issues have recently published a document on why we need landfill bans.
Whilst they are not a formal alliance they work closely with partners in the third sector, business and other spaces, therefore their latest document namely, why we need landfill bans, is something worth noting.
Landfill bans are important for a number of reasons, according to economic theory raw materials in products should be valuable enough to keep them out of landfill, however, many of the products containing valuable materials are being thrown away.
The concept of making things which contain valuable raw materials in order to ensure they last for years is therefore no longer making sense, because we are putting it back into the ground again.
Broken products contain valuable materials, which should be worth enough to keep them out of landfill but too many are still ending up in landfill. The main reason for this is because these products have been difficult to collect and difficult to recycle, therefore resulting in a pattern where we continue to lose the resources inside them.
By taking away the easy option, landfill bans encourage better collection systems and create economies of scale which brings down the cost of recycling. Preventing textiles, food, wood and plastics from going to landfill would keep at least £2.5 billion worth of resources in the economy, and avoid £1 billion in landfill costs.
WEEE regulations resulted in the UK recovering 25% of mobile phones from landfill in 2010, in the future this could mean that 80% of mobile phones recovered from landfill will keep £13m of value in the economy each year.
By 2015, 95% of all cars in the UK will be diverted from landfill, saving £58m per year. It shows that landfill bans work for cars and technology why not increase the saving by extending the bans. The document identifies that £2.5bn of resources could be recovered each year by extending landfill restrictions similar to those applied to cars and waste electronics to food, textiles, wood, and plastics
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