A clever government would listen to the Green Alliance when it calls for the ban on landfill for wood, textiles, WEEE, wood waste and plastics, warns Mike Webster, operations manager of leading London landfill prevention charity, LCRN.
“And the chance of gaining nearly 50,000 jobs resulting from the ban would be as worthwhile as would the ban itself,” he adds. “This is how environmental legislation can create jobs and government needs to understand this.”
Environmental think-tank the Green Alliance claims landfill bans for certain products could lead to the creation of up to 47,500 jobs in the recycling and manufacturing sectors in the UK.
In a document titled More jobs, less carbon: why we need landfill bans, the Alliance claimed landfill bans could help stimulate better collection systems, underpinning investment in infrastructure.
The organisation claims as many as 16,100 jobs could be created by banning plastics from landfill, 12,100 through a ban on food waste, 9,500 jobs would be created via a ban for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), 6,600 for textiles and 3,200 for wood.
These would include jobs in industries including anaerobic digestion, textile recycling, panelboard, plastics and electronics manufacturing.
Writing in the report, Dustin Benton, head of resources at the Green Alliance, said: “The UK puts at least £3.8billion of resources in landfill each year. Keeping these resources out of landfill would support skilled jobs and cut the UK’s carbon emissions”.
“Remaking old products requires skilled labour for disassembly, fault finding and repair. High quality recycling is a sophisticated industrial process, requiring engineering and technical skills.
“Selling the products created through reuse, remanufacturing and recycling generates profit, justifying the labour required to process them. In contrast, landfill just has a labour cost. Landfill is easy, but it makes no sense economically.”
The organisation also claims landfill bans, coupled with better collection systems to ensure a high quality of material is collected and investment in new reprocessing and remanufacturing infrastructure, would help to secure more skilled jobs and value from the UK’s resources.
“Landfill bans help stimulate better collection systems and economies of scale, underpinning infrastructure investment. Scotland, Austria, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and several US states have already introduced them. It is time the UK did too,” Benton adds
Despite support from the Green Alliance and other industry figures, government has already ruled out a ban on sending biodegradable waste to landfill, with Defra minister Dan Rogerson telling says he did not believe it would be practical to do so in England.
A ban on sending wood waste to landfill has also been ruled out by government after concerns were raised that the measure would lead to additional costs for wood recyclers and doubts about the practicalities of the proposal were raised in a consultation.
LCRN and letsrecycle.com