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Waste Management

Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the volume and proportion of (a) municipal, (b) industrial and (c) total waste that was (i) sent to landfill, (ii) incinerated, (iii) domestically recycled or composted and (iv) exported in each of the last 10 years. (231666)

The amount and proportion of municipal waste landfilled, incinerated and recycled/composted from 1996-97 to 2006-07 are shown in Table 1. It is not possible to separately identify municipal waste sent for recycling in this country from that exported for recovery.

Waste to landfill

Total waste to landfill in England from 2000-01 to 2006 is shown in table 2. Industrial waste to landfill is not separately recorded; it is included in the ‘household, industrial and commercial’ category. Around a quarter of total waste is sent to landfill.

Waste incinerated

Waste inputs received by permitted incinerators, broken down by incinerator type for 2006 and 2007 is shown in table 3. Data are collated according to the type of waste the incinerator is permitted to burn, not the source sector of the waste and therefore, industrial waste cannot be separately identified. The figures include all incineration processes that take waste from off-site sources. It does not include processes that burn their own waste. A small proportion of total waste (around 2 per cent.) is managed by permitted incinerators.

Waste recycled/composted

Estimates for total waste recycled or composted in England in 1998-99, 2002-03, 2004 and 2006 are shown in table 4. Around 19.0 million tonnes of industrial waste were recycled/composted in 1998-99, and 18.7 million tonnes in 2002-03. This breakdown is not available for 2004 or 2006.

Waste exported

Data on shipments of notifiable wastes are collected by Government agencies in the UK to comply with the Basel Convention. Therefore, comprehensive data on shipments of these wastes are currently available. However, these wastes represent a very small (1 per cent.) proportion of total waste movements, and the majority is non-notifiable, or ‘green list’ waste. While it is not a requirement for the ‘green list’ forms to be reported to the Environment Agency in England and Wales, movements of ‘green list’ waste can be estimated from HM Revenue and Customs trade database. However, these data are indicative, since in many cases the categories under which trade data are reported do not differentiate between exported wastes and products. Estimates of non-notifiable waste movements from trade data have only been made for 2006.

Total waste exported from the UK in 2006 is estimated to have been approximately 13 million tonnes. Of this, around 4.7 million tonnes was exported to within the EU, and 8.4 million tonnes outside the EU. ‘Green list’ waste accounts for 99 per cent. of waste exports. Estimates by source sector are not available.

Table 1: Management of municipal waste in England, 1996-97 to 2006-07

Thousand tonnes

Landfill

Incinerated

Recycled/composted

Total1

1996-97

20,630

2,207

1,750

24,588

1997-98

21,765

1,846

2,064

25,711

1998-99

21,507

2,296

2,530

26,342

1999-2000

22,199

2,395

3,117

27,715

2000-01

22,039

2,411

3,446

28,057

2001-02

22,421

2,447

3,921

28,905

2002-03

22,068

2,607

4,572

29,394

2003-04

20,936

2,604

5,537

29,114

2004-05

19,822

2,818

6,951

29,619

2005-06

17,873

2,859

7,799

28,726

2006-07

16,890

3,237

8,937

29,187

Proportion (Percentage)

Landfill

Incinerated

Recycled/composted

1996-97

84

9

7

1997-98

85

7

8

1998-99

82

9

10

1999-2000

80

9

11

2000-01

79

9

12

2001-02

78

8

14

2002-03

75

9

16

2003-04

72

9

19

2004-05

67

10

23

2005-06

62

10

27

2006-07

58

11

31

1 Management methods other than landfill, incineration and recycling/composting have not been included, meaning that the totals will be slightly greater than the sum of the management routes.

Source:

Municipal waste management survey 1996-97 to 2003-04, WasteDataFlow from 2004-05.

Table 2: Landfill deposits in England, 2000-01 to 2006

Million tonnes

2000-01

2002-03

2004-05

2005

2006

Inert/C&D

31.2

31.2

26.8

27.3

27.5

Household, industrial and commercial

45.9

42.6

39.7

39.1

36.5

Hazardous

2.8

2.0

2.4

1.5

0.9

Total

79.9

75.7

68.9

67.9

64.9

Source:

Returns made by landfill operators to the Environment Agency.

Table 3: Incineration throughput in England, 2006 and 2007

Thousand tonnes

2006

2007

Municipal

3,282

3,267

Sewage Sludge

196

191

Hazardous

134

133

Animal By-Product

803

799

Animal Carcass

23

19

Clinical

108

118

Co-Incineration of Hazardous Waste

211

273

Co-Incineration of Non Hazardous Waste

90

336

Total

4,848

5,136

Source:

Environment Agency.

Table 4: Waste recycled/composted in England, 1998-99 to 2006

Waste recycled/composted (Million tonnes)

Proportion of estimated total waste (Percentage)

1998-99

52.2

21

2002-03

80.9

30

2004

96.8

35

2006

112.1

42

Notes:

Recycling is defined as the reprocessing in a production process of the waste materials for the original purpose, or for other purposes including organic recycling, but excluding energy recovery. This includes composting and household recycling.

Sources:

1. Estimated from returns made by licensed waste operators to the Environment Agency survey of exempt sites in 2006.

2. National Packaging Waste Database estimates derived from the National Waste Production Survey 2002-03, Surveys of Alternatives to Primary Aggregates, Water UK.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance has been given to local authorities by his Department on the development of joint municipal waste management strategies; and if he will place in the Library copies of such guidance. (232582)

Guidance on the duty for local authorities in two-tier areas to produce joint municipal waste management strategies is publicly available on DEFRA’s website.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has for the future of the zero waste place project. (233874)

The monitoring period for the zero waste projects will run until May 2009, at which point DEFRA will publish a report detailing the experiences of the six zero waste places. This will serve to highlight best practice in sustainable waste management and help to support local authorities to reduce the environmental impact of waste. We will consider further action in the light of this evaluation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the economic downturn on the domestic and international markets for waste; and if he will make a statement. (231668)

On 23 October, the DEFRA funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) hosted a special forum on international markets for recovered paper and plastics entitled “Recovered Materials: Navigating the Global Economic Slowdown”.

The papers discussed at this event are available on WRAP’s website.

The conclusion drawn was that while domestic demand for waste recyclates might be flat, there will still be a demand for waste material for recycling in overseas markets. However, prices are expected to be volatile in the short term, though they are likely to stabilise over time.