Category Archives: landfill

2017 – China’s Year of Ending Imports of Rubbish

A very significant proportion of “Blue Bin” recycles have gone to China , attracting PRN’s. Not any more!

China will ban imports of 24 categories of recyclables and solid waste by the end of the year. This campaign against yang laji or “foreign garbage” applies to plastic, textiles and mixed paper and will result in China taking a lot less material as it replaces imported materials with recycled material collected in its own domestic market.

The UK exports rather a lot of these materials to China.  The EU somewhat more. Yet, in the UK at least, the Environment Agency tightens regulation almost by the day, takes months to make decisions and is discussing raising its fees, possibly more than doubling them, and introducing new ones.

It is about time that government, especially the Civil Service, began to realise that their job security and index linked pensions depend on enabling industry to earn profits within a commercial timeframe.  Better to get started before the rubbish mountain ends up in local ditches.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd., 9th November 17


The circular economy: 10. Landfill is not a resource bank.


The circular economy: 10.  Landfill is not a resource bank.


Itis a beautiful world and population pressure is changing it. How can we manage the change better?

The science: It is certainly the case that we can “mine” old landfill sites to reclaim resources. Sometimes.  Some of the resources. Not very efficient. Globally, maybe in excess of half the materials we enlist for use get lost to landfill or incineration. Nearly all the energy is lost.

The bad news: Globally, we are still geared up to derive energy form burning hydrocarbon fuels.  We do have enough for decades, maybe a century, but they will increasingly expensive to extract and, we cannot get away from it, they produce greenhouse gas. Further, CCS – Carbon Capture and Storage is not likely to solve the global problem, ever.)

The good news: We can reduce waste in manufacturing. For example, we used to make solid furniture from solid wood, shaved down with the shavings discarded. Now, most domestic furniture is made by chipping nearly all the original timber and making strand board and MDF.  High quality MDF really is a very useful material.  Next step currently is to take discarded furniture and use it for Energy from Waste (EfW). Better still if we could collect it all and make new product out of it. If we could do that at local level to cut out the energy and pollution cost of long distance logistics, we really would be winning.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 29 May 2016