Improved waste management services needed to halt rise in domestic volumes

Innovation in waste handling equipment and improved waste management services are key elements in providing better services for UK customers, on both the domestic and commercial fronts. LAWE's special feature looks at recent developments in the governmental and industrial areas that drive the market for advances in waste handling plant

Environment Agency Chief Executive, Barbara Young, is leading the way, with her call at this year's agm for a shake-up in Britain's approach to waste management, particularly household waste.

Barbara Young declared: "Progress in waste reduction, re-use and recycling is too slow." Over the next year she wants to see greater public awareness and involvement in the debate about waste management

Cost of waste
Turning to the cost of waste, the Agency Chief Executive pointed to "a clear incentive for business to minimise waste. It makes sound economic sense with direct benefit to their bottom line."

On the domestic front, however, she said: "Householders are cocooned from the true cost of waste. No matter how much is produced households are charged the same." Baroness Young warned: "If Britain fails to control its runaway wastage, even at today's bargain basement waste management prices, it will cost an extra £1 billion per year just to cope with the additional dustbin load by 2020."

Calling for greater incentives for the reduction of domestic waste, she said: "Britons already produce one a half times the waste per person of our European neighbours, and are set to equal US waste production unless we act quickly. If we do not, our dustbin waste will double by 2020. Waste that will have to go into someone's backyard."

Waste survey
The 1999/2000 Municipal Waste Management Survey published at the end of July, which gives regional and national statistics on the collection and management of municipal waste by local authorities in England and Wales reinforces the Agency analysis.

There was a further increase in the amount of municipal waste collected, up from 27.9 million tonnes in 1998/99, to 29.3 million tonnes, in 1999/2000. Over the five years of the survey, carried out by DEFRA and the National Assembly for Wales, municipal waste has grown at an average annual rate of just under 4 %.

Although there has been a slight increase in the tonnage of municipal waste being disposed of to landfill since 1998/99, the proportion of waste being disposed of in this way did decrease slightly from 82% in 1998/99 to 81% in 1999/2000. There has been a corresponding increase in the proportion of municipal waste being recycled or composted, from 9% in 1998/99 to 11% in 199/2000. The proportion incinerated with energy recovery has remained constant at 8%

The figures shown that there is immense scope for improvement in waste management and recycling and recovery of municipal waste in particular.

That is reflected in the wide range of new and improved handling plant and machinery that is available to waste management, examples of which are featured in this issue.

Viridor Waste expansion
The waste management industry also continues to change and consolidate in moves such as Pennon Group plc's announcement of the acquisition of two waste management businesses by subsidiary Viridor Waste Ltd for a total of £12.2 million.

The Suffolk Waste Disposal Co Ltd (SWDC), the recycling and waste disposal company owned by Suffolk County Council, was acquired for £8.6 million and will complement Viridor's existing disposal activities in East Anglia. The former LAWDC Suffolk Waste has consented landfill void of 4 million cubic metres which brings Viridor's total consented landfill void to 73 million cubic metres.

Viridor Waste Management's Managing Director, Mike Hellings, said: "This deal represents an excellent opportunity to further strengthen Viridor's performance in East Anglia and overall. Our assets and experience, combined with the regional experience of SWDC, will allow us to assist the County and District Councils and businesses in delivering increased recycling and safe and efficient waste disposal for the long-term future."

Chris Mole, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said, "I am delighted that a company with a strong track record in waste disposal and recycling is buying the Suffolk Waste Disposal Company."

In a separate transaction, Viridor Waste has acquired Lavelle and Sons Ltd, a Manchester based transfer station, recycling and collection company for £3.6 million.

Both businesses will be integrated into Viridor Waste Ltd and the acquisitions reflect Pennon's strategy of expansion within the waste management area .


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