Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Waste line obsession


The government's waste strategy targets were based on the common assumption that recycling saves money.

However, council officers have known for years that recycling schemes cost much more than landfill, and that the UK's extra annual costs will soon exceed £1bn.

We should thank AEA Technology and CSS (NCE 27 June) for warning that the figure will be double that.

Recycling is also assumed to be environmentally beneficial, but throwing resources at recycling uses energy which, by releasing fossil carbon as extra CO 2, adds to global warming.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics makes clear that input resources exceed useful output so, unless renewable energy is used, the environmental costs of recycling must outweigh the environmental benefits.

As things are, the current pursuit of 'sustainable waste management' simply makes matters worse.

With the Johannesburg world summit imminent, perhaps it is time to realise that 'waste's waste, because waste's waste, because waste's waste, because à' and come up with a more sustainable approach to waste management than merely striving to meet these illconsidered recycling and composting targets.

Paul Kirkley (M), 25 Capel Close, Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7LA

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs