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Waste, the Landfill Tax and the Inert Problem

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Waste, the Landfill Tax and the Inert Problem 1.0 ABSTRACT Waste is an important issue that affects us all; it is also very complex. What waste actually is is also very unclear the issue has been before the courts on a number of occasions because regulatory authorities and industry see the definitions differently. The confusion is caused by the existence of numerous definitions of waste. In England and Wales three main methods are used to deal with waste, they are Recycle and Reuse, Incineration and Landfill. All three methods have problems which can have a harmful effect on the environment or public health, reuse and recycling suffers from economic problems. In 1996 the government introduced the landfill tax which aimed to encourage recycling and reuse and to free up space at landfill sites. The landfill has reduced waste arisings at landfill sites but there is no evidence of increased re use or recycling, it is believed that the waste is being disposed of in either the unregulated or illegal sectors. This is then causing further environmental problems. 2.0 CONTENTS: Page No. 1.0 ABSTRACT 1 2.0 CONTENTS 2 3.0 APPENDICES 3 4.0 INTRODUCTION 4 5.0 WHAT IS WASTE 6 6.0 CURRENT DISPOSAL METHODS 9 7.0 THE LANDFILL TAX 12 8.0 THE INERT PROBLEM 15 9.0 REGULATION 19 10.0 CONCLUESION 20 11.0 BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES 22 2.0 APPENDICES: Appendix 1 Statutory Definition of Waste Appendix 2 Statutory Definition of Special Waste Appendix 3 Section 45 of the EPA 1990 Appendix 4 ECOTEC (2000) Survey Framework Appendix 5 My survey Appendix 6 Graphs Appendix 7 Exemptions in Full Appendix 8 Photographs 4.0 INTRODUCTION Mellanby (1992) blames the waste problem entirely on humans, he says, "before Homo sapiens appeared on earth, there was no real waste materials." By this, he means that in nature nothing is wasted, the bodies of dead animals and plants are efficiently recycled when they die. ...read more.


Under the landfill tax, all waste that goes to landfill is subject to a tax levy of a certain amount per tonne. There were two tax rates introduced in 1996, eleven pounds per tonne of active waste and two pounds per tonne of inert waste. DETR (2000) states that in the 1999 budget the rate of tax charged on active waste is to be increased by one pound per year with a review in 2004. DETR (2000) goes on to state that the purpose of the increase is to encourage greater diversion of waste from landfill. Research carried out by ECOTEC (2000) on behalf of the DETR has shown that the landfill tax has had a significant effect on the amount of waste that is sent to landfill, the framework for the surveys carried out by ECOTEC is included in appendix 4. I have chosen not to use data from my own survey as the limited number of responses that I received mean that the data gathered can not be coincided reliable, details of my own survey are enclosed in appendix 5. Table 2 below shows changes to the arisings that occur at landfill sites before and after the introduction of the land fill tax. Pre tax Average tonnes Post tax Average tonnes % Change Company 1: site 1 186310.5 242244 30 Company 1: site 2 205945.5 230267.5 12 Company 1: site 3 1507000 695000 -54 Company 2: 3 sites 1930800 2162350 12 Company 3: site 1 247261.5 239957 -3 Company 3: 7 sites 6016500 5071000 -16 Company 3: site 9 796132 658272.5 -17 Company 4: site 1 483000 211200 -56 Company 5: site 1 490000 367500 -25 Company 6: 20 sites 4016000 3346500 -17 Totals 15878950 13224291 -17 Table 2 shows the change in mixed wastes sent to land fill before And after the introduction of the landfill tax, the data is based on Surveys carried out by ECOTEC (2000). ...read more.


predicted that this would happen because construction companies would fly tip rather than pay increased waste disposal costs at landfill. Reeds (1997) suggests that fly tipping is purely done to reduce costs and hence increase profits, he calls the construction industry greedy and uncaring for the environment. It has also been suggested by Broad (1997) that the landfill tax has discouraged the redevelopment of brown field sites because of the cost of disposing of contaminated soils. This goes against current government policy to redevelop brown field sites rather than encroaching on to green belt land. Issues of waste management are complex, it is going to be very difficult for the country to reduce the waste that we produce if we want the country to continue to grow economically, Mellanby (1992) says that growth in waste production is linked with economic growth. I believe that the only way to improve our waste management strategy is to increase the re use and recycling of waste. I would like to call on the government to introduce a tax levy on the use of virgin materials at a level that would make recycled products affordable and recycling operations economically viable. Other suggestions have been made for the long-term disposal of waste Angel (1996) suggests the use of the deep oceans for waste disposal. Angel (1996) does suggest that much research needs to be done before we start using that option because we need to ensure that we don't damage the fragile ecology of the oceans. I feel that during this study I have only scratched the surface of many important issues. I believe it to be of great importance that detailed research is carried out on the inert problem to discover the whole truth about what is going on and what we can do to prevent it from happening in the future. I believe that an interesting area for further study would be to look at the international trade of waste that was highlighted by the voyage of the Khian Sea ship that was carrying special waste between 1986 and 1988. 11. ...read more.

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