December 2nd, 2016

The ups and downs of landfill data

by Dominic Hogg

 

There’s a hackneyed phrase that people often come out with when they are looking for improved data: ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’. Waste management strikes me as the perfect counter example: for anything other than waste collected by local authorities, the quality of the UK’s waste data is generally of terrible quality. Does that really mean we don’t know a thing about how waste should be managed?

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November 4th, 2016

What’s worse than landfill?

by Mike Brown

 

For the best part of twenty years, the message for waste managers has been clear. Landfill is bad. Do everything you can to get waste out of landfill. Over that time, it has been a pretty decent rule of thumb, if one that has its limits. However, I suspect that policy makers may soon have to face up to something that those involved at the sharp end of waste operations may already understand. Certainly, landfill is bad – but no access to landfill might, for a while at least, be even worse.

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October 28th, 2016

Are councils driving waste on the road to nowhere?

by Neil Grundon

 

In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher took a scythe to a bloated and unproductive public sector with the introduction of ‘Compulsory Competitive Tendering’ (CCT). Like most things Thatcher did, it was divisive but effective, and eventually undone by its dogmatic application to everything. For Grundon, it opened up a huge opportunity, although not quite in the way we originally planned.

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October 7th, 2016

Back to MRF: rejects and contamination

by Andy Grant and Peter Jones

 

When we wrote last month about the possible causes of the rise in reported recycling rejects, one of the concerns we raised was that materials recycling facilities (MRFs) have historically underreported rejects. We also highlighted the concerns reprocessors have in the past expressed regarding the quality of MRF outputs.

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September 30th, 2016

What’s VAT got to do with the price of bins?

by Peter Jones

 

Should local authorities have to charge VAT on their commercial waste services? Not according to Mr Justice Warren of the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber), who this month declined to overturn HMRC’s 2011 decision that such services were VAT exempt.

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September 16th, 2016

Released without charge: inside England’s carrier bag data

by Steve Watson

 

Back in July, six months after England adopted a five pence charge on single use plastic bags (SUPBs), the government released the first data showing how the measure has affected consumption. The headline figure reported in the media was a reduction of 83%, which looks like a fantastic result – especially considering that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland reported smaller reductions of 76%, 80% and 71% in the first years of their respective bans.

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July 15th, 2016

Losing ground: the decline of England’s landfills

by Chris Cullen

 

To hear many waste commentators talk, one would think that a huge proportion of the nation’s waste is still being sent to landfill. For example, as recently discussed on Isonomia, it is not uncommon to hear calls for landfill bans for specific materials, as if this would automatically entail that they were recycled, and we are frequently told of the benefits of getting waste ‘out of landfill’.

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