London — According to a new Environment Agency report, the UK waste industry has recently shown steady year on year growth in turnover from £15.3 billion in 2008 to £18.5 billion in 2013. The waste industry in England now holds over 11,000 Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) permits issued by the Environment Agency; 81 per cent of EPR permits. The number of permitted facilities increased by 19 per cent between 2010 and 2013. The increases in waste treatment permits are mostly in non-hazardous waste treatment and metals recycling.
In recent years, more waste has been re-used and recycled, and less landfilled. Tax on landfilled waste was introduced in 1996 as a method of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill sites. It was intended to encourage waste producers to use more sustainable waste management methods, such as recycling or composting. The sites the Environment Agency regulates recovered 59 per cent of their waste in 2013, compared to 39 per cent in 2000. A third of waste produced by sites the agency regulates is sent to landfill; the lowest proportion on record.
Local authority managed waste
- the household waste recycling rate reached 44 per cent in England in 2012/13
- landfillled waste decreased by more than 60 per cent in the last 10 years (from 20.9 million tonnes in 2003/4 to 7.9 million tonnes in 2013/14), while the amount incinerated with energy recovery more than doubled over the same time (2.6 million tonnes in 2003/4 to 6.2 million tonnes in 2013/14)
- the amount of household waste recycled, composted and reused has increased: nearly 3.5 times as much in 2010/11 (9.7 million tonnes) as in 2000 (2.8 million tonnes)
- about 40 per cent of waste collected for recycling, compost and reuse in 2012/13 was green waste for compost (3.9 million tonnes of 9.8 million tonnes)
More used as a resource
More waste is being used as a resource. Where possible, we produce a quality protocol for each examined waste material, which clearly explains what has to be done to produce a fully-recovered, non-waste, quality product. As a result over 20 million tonnes of ‘waste’ has been diverted from landfill since 2012/13, representing a saving of about £275 million to businesses (eg by avoiding landfill costs, and by enabling business to sell the materials involved).
More refuse derived fuel (RDF) is being produced, and more sites are managing it:
- the number of permitted sites storing RDF increased from 74 in 2011 to 156 in 2013
- 30 per cent of RDF sites stockpiled waste between 2010 and 2013
- fires, flies and odour issues continue to be a problem at some sites storing and managing RDF
2013 evidence summary
The „Regulating the waste industry: 2013 evidence summary“ document shows facts and statistics about the number of permits the Environment Agency issued to the waste industry, and the amount of waste that was recycled, reused or sent to landfill. It also gives details of environmental consequences including the number of serious pollution incidents relating to the waste industry, the waste industry’s environmental performance and facts about illegal waste.
The full report can be downloaded from gov.uk.
Source: UK Environment Agency