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Cement Kilns

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 18 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many tonnes of waste were used in cement kilns in the years 1998 to 2002; and if she will make a statement. [115771]

The amount in tonnes of waste burnt in cement kilns in England and Wales is contained in the following table as reported to the Environment Agency for the years 1998 to develop future policy in this area. This is expected to De published by the end of 2003 and will include Information on the impacts of production and disposal.

(a) Disposal—PVC is generally disposed of either to landfill or to incineration. In both cases there is no specific separation of PVC from other waste streams such as municipal waste.

Incineration of PVC has the potential to produce a number of chemicals such as hydrogen chloride, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and small quantities of dioxins and furans. Incineration of waste is regulated under Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC), and tight limits are imposed on releases from incinerators to ensure the protection of health and the environment.

The PVC polymer is generally considered to be stable under landfill conditions, but there is a potential for losses of plasticisers and stabilisers from flexible PVC to occur. The behaviour of PVC in landfill is a complex subject and further information may be obtained from the above European Commission report at: pvc/landfill.pdf

The Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC requires that landfills comply with a number of technical standards regarding the protection of soil and water, including leachate collection, bottom sealing and gas emission control.

(b) Production—during production of the vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) there is the potential for emissions of VCM, chlorine, ethylene, ethylene dichloride, HCI and other chlorinated by-products to occur. Due to this pollution potential, production has been regulated for many years under Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) and will be regulated under IPPC. During compounding and transformation of PVC, there is the potential for release of the antioxidants, plasticisers and pigments used, but closed processes mean that any release would be small.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the weight of consumer goods known to contain PVC (a) disposed of by (i) landfill, (ii) incineration and (iii) other means, (b) recycled and (c) reused, in the last year for which figures are available. [119088]

Information on waste arisings held by the Environment Agency are based on the Agency's special waste database, which comprises records of each load of special waste moved, and on the commercial and industrial waste survey.PVC is not classified as a special waste and so does not appear on the special waste database. The commercial and industrial waste survey is a sample survey of approximately 18,000 businesses, but it does not include the level of detail to establish the weight of PVC in waste consumer goods or the proportion disposed by different routes. The Government's Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will shortly be funding a comprehensive research project into options for PVC recycling in the UK. The research will identify the relevant sources of waste, assess reprocessing options and investigate potential end markets for the reprocessed materials.