April 27th, 2018

Bad news: why journalists get the environment wrong

by Mike Brown   Listening to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier this year, I heard an interviewer premise a question by saying that coffee cups weren’t really disposable because they couldn’t be recycled. Read that again – it makes no sense however you look at it. While it betrays a pretty weak grasp of […]

April 13th, 2017

A gas-tly mess?

by Mike Brown   As the UK’s landfill infrastructure rapidly approaches its retirement, this seismic change in how waste is managed is spitting out a range of issues that our current system is ill-suited to manage.  I’ve previously examined issues of how aftercare is funded, and the resilience challenges that a move away from landfill […]

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 […]

August 21st, 2015

Who will care for the UK’s elderly landfills?

by Mike Brown and Bethany Ledingham   The speed of change in the residual waste sector is both unprecedented and unrelenting. There are many positives to emphasise – some efforts towards waste prevention, more reuse and recycling, and new and environmentally preferable treatment technologies are all having an impact. Residual waste arisings have declined as […]

December 5th, 2014

Is waste a source of renewable energy?

by Mike Brown   Whenever you look at material produced by the developers and users of energy from waste (EfW) incinerators, you soon come across the phrase “renewable energy”. Vince Cable used the term to describe a new incinerator in Lincolnshire just last week. On the websites of companies such as Viridor, SITA, of councils from […]

August 1st, 2014

Storing up trouble: is export the cause of ‘orphaned’ waste?

by Mike Brown   To call the increase in the amount of UK waste being exported to mainland Europe as refuse derived fuel (RDF) over the past few years ‘dramatic’ would be an understatement. Growth from around 270,000 tonnes in 2011 to over 1,500,000 tonnes in 2013 has now been surpassed with current tonnages of […]

May 3rd, 2013

Too much authority, not enough planning

by Mike Brown   I owe Deborah Meaden a bit of an apology. In an article in February I cocked a snook at her comments that the key considerations about the Gloucestershire incinerator were aesthetic, when for me the central issues were long term availability of feedstock and whether the scale of the incinerator was […]