Waste Management The process and ‘The Fourth Utility’
GPT Waste Management Limited 14 Whitworth Court, Manor Farm Road, Manor Park, Runcorn, Cheshire WA7 1WA Tel: 0844 854 5000 Fax: 01928 571 335 www.gptwaste.com
Date: APRIL 2013 Ref: GPTPR042013
Waste Management and ‘The Fourth Utility’ Waste Management is the collection, transportation, processing, managing and monitoring of waste materials or rubbish. In the UK, each household produces over 1 tonne of rubbish every year. This amounts to around 31 million tonnes of rubbish produced per year in the UK alone. Commercial and industrial businesses produce about one quarter of all waste in the UK. This is a drain on the economy which could be improved if companies made products using fewer natural resources thus reducing the cost of waste treatment and waste disposal. In 2010 a survey of commercial and industrial waste arisings was conducted to provide estimates of the amount of waste that businesses generate and how it is managed in England for the year 2009. In the findings, it was estimated that commercial and industrial waste generation in 2009 equated to over 47.9 million tonnes. Within this bracket, the small organisations alone (between 0-49 employees) produced 16.6 million tonnes of waste. Combining the domestic waste with the commercial and industrial figures presents an alarming picture and a clear indicator as to why it is so crucial that waste be managed correctly in order to have minimal impact upon the environment. In order to address the issues presented by waste, it is important understand the processes and the opportunities that lie within them. During the waste disposal process, in the first instance, commercial and domestic waste is taken by the service provider to the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) which is a specialised plant that receives and separates waste materials and prepares recyclable materials for marketing to the enduser manufacturers which in turn produces revenue from waste – there’s cash in trash! There are two main forms of Materials Recovery Facility: clean and dirty. The clean MRF takes in recyclable materials that have been pre-separated by domestic or commercial sources. Municipal solid waste such as this comes in the form of glass, metal, aluminium and other non-ferrous metals.
The dirty MRF takes mixed solid waste and separates out recyclable materials through manual and mechanical separation processes. The recyclable materials undergo further processing in line with regulations which enable them to meet specifications set out by the end user manufacturers and the remainder of the mixed waste is then designated for landfill. In 2009, 11.3 million tonnes of waste was sent to landfill. Landfill sites were historically the most common method of organised waste disposal or waste treatment however there are a number of impacts that occur as a result of landfill such as pollution of the environment, contamination of groundwater, soil contamination, off gassing, disease to name a few. Landfilling practices in the UK are rapidly changing to meet the regulations laid out by the European Landfill Directive and each year the taxes imposed upon biodegradable waste increases per tonne (currently at an all-time high of ÂŁ72/tonne), making it more appealing for service providers to manage waste more effectively to avoid penalties and charges by diverting waste from landfill in favour of more lucrative and environmentally friendly methods such as recycling.
Once the various waste streams are separated at the MRF, many of the products are sent for recycling which allows us to conserve vital resources, reduce air and water pollution whilst cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling is not just an opportunity to earn revenue from waste materials, it is also extremely beneficial in the process of reducing the level of waste produced.
‘Waste’ can be broken down into the following streams: plastics, cardboard, wood, paper, metals, glass and non-recyclable. There are increasing volumes of products being manufactured from recycled materials such as plastic, metal, paper and glass that have been collected and processed through the MRFs and sold back to manufacturers as raw materials ready to be channelled back through the production process. The likelihood is that many of these products are being manufactured using renewable, waste-based energy produced from burning non-recyclable materials which reduce greenhouse emissions and save thousands of pounds in annual energy bills. ‘Waste to Energy’ or energy-from-waste is the process of generating energy in the form of heat or electricity from the incineration of non-recyclable waste. Through years of innovation, we are now able to produce renewable and sustainable energy without imposing a drain on the earth’s resources. From a more in-depth environmental perspective, wasteto-energy plants are also equipped with pollution control equipment to meet regulations and to ensure that the emissions produced are cleaned. To provide an example of the potential for energy to be generated from waste, every year, the average household waste produced contains enough unrealised energy to produce 3500 showers or 5000 hours of television. If you take that principal and multiply the results to imagine the level of waste produced including commercial and industrial sectors, you can quickly identify where there are opportunities to turn non-recyclable waste to energy. ‘Waste’ is becoming the fourth utility; landfill disposal isn’t necessary or fashionable. Through education and awareness-raising, organisations are gradually becoming savvy about waste disposal and waste management. They are beginning to realise the implications of poor waste management and the opportunities to turn waste into a revenue stream rather than a cost to the business.
By segregating waste on site, it can be managed more easily through facilities such as MRFs. Many manufacturers are still disposing of by-products and secondary products as traditional waste streams. By highlighting the opportunities to turn waste to revenue, the waste streams become identified as valuable commodities to other manufacturing organisations. By emphasizing the waste process to commercial and industrial organisations, they recognise where improvements can be made, where waste can be reduced and where savings can be made through improved waste management and recycling systems. The ‘Fourth Utility’ Infographic illustrates how revenue opportunities can be achieved by commoditising recycled materials. Click here to download the Infographic.
About GPT Waste GPT Waste, the largest UK independent provider of waste management solutions and sustainable waste services. They continually demonstrate operational efficiency as well as financial savings via their innovative approach to waste management systems and routes to processes. Click here for a selection of case studies. GPT System for Waste Handling Review – the clients waste service and requirements Recommend – the most operational, financial and environmentally effective solution. Implement – the service, working with the employees to increase their understanding of waste. Innovation – identify new technologies for processing waste to reduce cost and landfill. Recycle – by utilising the most effect route to process by extracting all recyclate from waste streams. Report – provide clients with transparent reporting.
GPT Waste Contact Details – Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0844 854 5000, www.gptwaste.com