Landfilling is discouraged due to a number of key
- Climate change caused by landfill gas from
- Loss of resources.
- Constraints on areas suitable for landfill sites.
- Loss of recyclable components of waste landfilled.
Landfill tax is seen as a key mechanism in enabling the UK to
meet its targets set out in the Landfill Directive. Through
increasing the cost of landfill, other advanced waste treatment
technologies with higher gate fees are made to become more
Following the 2007 Budget the standard rate of landfill tax will
be increased from £21 per tonne to £24 per tonne on 1 April 2007.
From 1 April 2008 onwards it will increase annually by £8 per tonne
until at least 1 April 2010. The lower rate, which applies to
specific inactive wastes, will increase from £2 to £2.50 per tonne
from 1 April 2008.
This landfill tax drives the economics of recycling concrete out
of the waste stream. Concrete is a recyclable material. Most people
do not stop to think of what happens to the rubble when a structure
is demolished, apart from assuming it all goes to landfill. But in
fact anything up to 95% of a building's components can be recycled,
including the most heavily reinforced concrete 1.
Tackling the tyre mountain
year the UK produces 400,000 tonnes of waste tyres, posing a
significant environmental problem 2. Legislation
prevents the dumping of tyres in landfill.
Currently around 40% of waste tyres
are recycled into retreads, all-weather surfaces and other uses,
but that still leaves 28 million tyres with seemingly nowhere to go
Used tyres make an ideal kiln fuel
for the production of cement, without any adverse environmental
effects. Kiln temperatures are so high that tyres burn without
fumes or flame and what's more, the residue from burning tyres can
be chemically treated and reused again as fuel.
The obvious pay-off from burning
tyres is the fossil fuel and carbon emissions saved. It is
estimated that the UK cement industry currently consumes 5.6
million waste tyres. Trials are also underway with other
alternative fuels in cement making, such as recycled liquid fuel,
inert processed sewage pellets (PSP) and packaging waste.
Used tyres have even been recycled
into concrete as they contain steel fibre, according to recent
research sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The research found that recycled steel fibre (which is cheaper than
conventional steel fibre) leads to an increase in concrete's
strength, ductility and toughness, making it suitable for a range
of specialised applications such as impact and acoustic
Preserving open countryside
It is projected that up to 60% of
the additional 2.8 million homes planned by the government will be
built on previously developed, brownfield sites 3
thereby limiting urban encroachment on virgin, greenfield
The reuse of brownfield land is
often made possible by cementitious materials. Cement-based
stabilisation, capped by a solid concrete layer, is one way of
reclaiming contaminated industrial sites for residential
This method is likely to become more
popular in light of the latest EU landfill directive, effective
from July 2004, which places further limits on the landfilling of