Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Back to the 1950s with the EU

I've posted before that there is no shortage of landfill in the UK*. The volume of aggregates extracted from quarries above the water table every year comfortably equals the volume of trade and domestic waste we produce. There is an imbalance in location; because of the south-east aggregates drag, landfill capacity is always northwards, and increasingly in Scotland where superquarries have hollowed out entire hills to feed the hunger for roadstone in the south, whereas waste production is greatest in and around London. So there's a transport issue, but not a capacity problem.

Much of Europe doesn't have our landfill capacity, and so on the principle of dragging everyone down to the capacity of the weakest, the EU are ending waste-to-landfill. Or sustainable Methane harvesting, as I prefer to term it. When the Methane has been exhausted, and all the putrescible and organic materials have decayed away, the residue can be quarried to recover metals and polymers. But the EU's inflexibility means that local councils are paying £56 / tonne Landfill Tax in 2010/2011 on top of the costs of waste collection and transport - hence the loathed fortnightly collections, bin police, rotting food and rats.

So no surprise that people have gone back to doing what their parents did in the 1950s, when a family's weekly waste fitted in a three-foot high galvanised dustbin, and are burning their flammable waste. Then it was on open coal fires, now it's largely in back gardens. The difference is that back then it was cardboard and paper, while now it's a lot of plastic. But plastics themselves are probably not the cause of the record levels of dioxins from domestic burning; the burning of organic waste where Chlorine ions are present will produce the most dioxins, a ready-made mix found in domestic waste. Anyway, thanks to the EU we're now not only poisoning ourselves but wasting valuable sustainable opportunities to really recycle waste into something useful - Methane and residual recoverable material.

Whether we leave the EU or not, it will take a government with balls to tell the EU that the UK will not comply with the EU Landfill policy, and turn us back to making use of all those empty quarries. Will Brown? Will Clegg? Will Cameron?

*And yes I'll repeat the figures and their sources for sceptics if called upon to do so

Update
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I'll post again with the evidence in the next day or so, as I have time

8 comments:

Robert said...

I'm not a sceptic and what you say is total sense, but please let me have a link to the figures.

Elby The Berserk said...

Labour - the masters of the unintended consequences of legislation. Morons

Bill Quango MP said...

Elby. That really should their be their epitaph.

I like the description given about Admiral Kimmel who commanded the Pearl Harbour fleet when it was sunk.

As he walks along the road to hell paved with his 'good intentions' he must reflect that a large part of that stone was hewn from his own quarry.

yokel said...

Like Robert, I would welcome a link to the figures, for the purpose of ramming into the skulls of those I am trying to convince.

Demetrius said...

You are bang on with this. Where I live the smell of "bad burning" has increased radically in the last couple of years or so and coincides with the changes in refuse collection. When the collectors stopped emptying many bins I guessed that the residents concerned would soon start burning, and they did.

Anonymous said...

Why do we conform?
Just continue with landfill and sod the 'fines' we are the country with a real army, what are Europe going to do - invade?
It is the fanaticism of the Nu-lavs nazis who are to blame, was anyone fining the Neapolitans for chucking their trash out on the streets?
Fcuk the EU.
How much more of this cr*p are the British going to swallow?
They need us more than we need them, if only we had a leader with a 'pair'...................looking at the potential candidates in the coming farce some call an election - it ain't gonna happen.

English Pensioner said...

Rules and Regulations, but no thought!
I've just put out my black bag for the dustman tomorrow. The Council requires it to be out by 6.30am for collection and is likely to impose penalties if it isn't, in spite of the fact that it's rarely collected before lunchtime. Some animal has already torn it open and the litter is now down the street. No doubt somehow they will decide that it's my fault as well.

Budgie said...

Yes, we have rats in the garden now for the first time for 30 years. I had not made the connection with the rubbish problem. I remember, as a child, that the rats used to infest the local rubbish dump - I guess that kept them away from the houses.