The United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) has today launched a report that looks into the climate change impacts of waste incineration in the UK.
The 56-page report found that in 2017 the UK’s 42 incinerators released a combined total of nearly 11 million tonnes of CO2. Around 5 million tonnes of this CO2 was emitted through the incineration of fossil-based materials such as plastic. The 5 million tonnes of fossil CO2 released by UK incinerators in 2017 is estimated to have resulted in an unpaid cost to society of around £325 million.
The report highlights yet another way that plastic is harming our environment, with polluters getting away without paying their fair share for the climate damage that they are causing. The study says that over the next 30 years the total cost to society of fossil CO2 released by UK’s current incinerators equates to more than £25 billion pounds of harm arising from the release of around 205 million tonnes of fossil CO2.
A study by researchers in Sweden has identified the most effective steps people can take to reduce their individual impact on climate change and the fact that all individual actions matter.
The researchers found that behavioural shifts could often be faster than waiting for national climate policies and widespread energy transformations.
The top four actions identified were:
- having one fewer child (an average for developed countries of 58.6 tonnes CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) emission reductions per year),
- living car-free (2.4 tCO2e saved per year),
- avoiding airplane travel (1.6 tCO2e saved per roundtrip transatlantic flight) and
- eating a plant-based diet (0.8 tCO2e saved per year).
The study stated that “These actions have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies like comprehensive recycling (four times less effective than a plant-based diet) or changing household lightbulbs (eight times less).” However all individual actions are important and contribute to the reduction in emissions.
Resource Efficient Scotland has produced a new guide to help businesses improve their waste management.
Scottish businesses spend on average a whopping £7,000 a year on waste. Add that up over 5 years, a bill of £35,000 is not inconsiderable. Given that most businesses pay per uplift, it makes sense that preventing waste is always better than managing and paying for it.
You can download the Guide here
Glasgow City Council have been piloting a Commercial Waste project in the City Centre to reduce the number of bins left on the streets and are planning to role the scheme out across the City.
Scottish recycling, composting and re-use of waste from all sources has rocketed past the 60% milestone for the first time. That was the key finding of Official Statistics published recently by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
- Scottish recycling, composting and re-use of waste from all sources rockets past 60% for the first time.
- Food recycling and anaerobic digestion increased 20% from 2015 –
a 78.1% increase since 2011.
- Lowest quantity of Scottish waste landfilled since 2011.
In 2016, 6.96 million tonnes (61%) of waste was recycled, composted or prepared for re-use, over half a million tonnes more than in 2015.
What’s more, 2016 also saw more households and businesses recycle food waste as 605,614 tonnes of organic wastes was recycled in composting or anaerobic digestion facilities – an increase of 102,580 tonnes (20.4%) from 2015 statistics and a 78.1% boost since 2011.
Total waste generated in Scotland fell by over half a million tonnes (0.53m tonnes) since 2015, with Scotland achieving the lowest quantity of waste being landfilled since 2011 – a 10.3% decrease from 2015.