Unit 209 Principles of the Waste & Recycling Industry
7517 Principles of
Unit 209 Understand the
principles of the Waste and
There are three learning outcomes to this unit. The
1. Understand the purpose of the waste and recycling
2. Understand the flow of waste and other materials
3. Understand waste minimisation
Purpose of the Industry
The UK consumes natural resources at an
unsustainable rate and contributes unnecessarily to
climate change. Each year we generate approximately
290 million tonnes of waste, which causes
environmental damage and costs businesses and
There has been a clear decreasing trend in Arctic
summer sea ice levels since records began in
Sea levels around the UK rose by 10cm during the
The earth’s surface has warmed by about 0.4°C on
average since the 1970s.
In 160 years of records, the 10 hottest years have
all been since 1997.
The main cause of this warming is the emission of
“greenhouse gases”, such as carbon dioxide (CO2),
methane and nitrous oxide.
Human activity over the past 250 years, including the
burning of fossil fuels, land use change, and
agriculture, has increased the concentration of
greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere.
As these gases build up in the atmosphere, they
strengthen what is known as the ‘“greenhouse effect’”.
C02 Emissions – latest stats
Between 1990 – 2009.... 20% higher
Increase of 35% between 1995-2005
Decrease of 9% 2008-2009
Carbon footprint increased by 12% over period
Mainly methane that escapes into the atmosphere
from landfill sites.
Caused by biodegradable waste, like food and wood,
decomposing in landfill sites and giving off methane
Much of this gas is captured at landfill sites, but the
methane that does escape is estimated to make up
about 3% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions.
Of that figure, 89% arises from landfill, 10% from
waste-water handling and 2% from waste incineration
(these figures are rounded).
EU/National/Local Targets for recycling
recycling and composting of household waste –
at least 40% by 2010,
45% by 2015 and
50% by 2020
Where waste comes from...
Figures for England
Commercial & Industrial/Trade
- Combined 47.9 tonnes
- 23.5 million tonnes
Household recycling has increased
The proportion of household waste sent for
recycling, composting or reuse 2010/11 in
England was 41.2 %, increasing from 39.7% in
Waste generation per person has
generated April 2010 to
March 2011 in England
was 449 kg per person.
185 kg was recycled,
composted or reused
whilst 264 kg was not.
Recycling rates improved
The proportion of local
authority collected waste
composted or reused
continued the long term
trend by increasing to
40.1 per cent between
the years 2009/10 and
Local Authority % to landfill
2000/01 – 78%
2010/11 – 43.4%
England sends approx 49%
of its waste to landfill
Why is this important – The EU Waste Framework
Directive requires the UK to recycle, compost or
reuse 50 per cent of waste from households by
£64 per tonne, and
will increase £8 per
year until 2014.
£2.50 per tonne for
lower rate waste
EU Environmental Policy
‘Polluter Pays’ principle
Framework for liability
with a view to preventing
and remedying damage
to the environment
Research and present:
Zero waste/waste minimisation
Recycling targets/figures for Organisation
Process and the policy of reducing the amount of
waste produced by a person or a society
Using fewer natural resources
A few facts
We throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food
and drink every year from our homes - most of which
could have been safely consumed.
By pursuing opportunities for re-use, the UK
could reduce its reliance on raw materials, including
rare earths, by as much as 20% by 2020.
Our research shows doubling the number of sofas re-
used, could save 52,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. At
the moment, 83% of sofas are not re-used and are sent
to landfill or recycled.
Tip of the iceberg……
Activities within the
Research and present:
Where waste and materials go to
Illegal Waste Disposal
Waste Incineration – Energy Recovery Facilities
Approx 9% of waste is incinerated in England
UK - The dustbin of Europe
"The Dustbin of Europe" was how the UK was
described in 2007. Almost five years ago, Britain was
reported as disposing of more rubbish in UK landfills
than any other EU state. The Local Government
Association (LGA) estimated the UK put 27 million
tonnes of waste into landfills every year, 7 million
more than any other country and that the area given
over to landfill space was about the size of Warwick.
Not just that, but we would run out of landfill space
One tonne of waste tipped in a landfill produces
between 200 and 400 cubic metres of landfill gas.
Landfill sites released 32% of the UK's methane
emissions in 2009.
Methane is about 21 times more potent than carbon
dioxide and allowing methane to escape into the
atmosphere has significant global warming
How does a landfill site work?
(1) When waste arrives, it is weighed and its' contents checked to ensure it complies with
the landfill operating licence.
(2) This waste is then tipped into the ‘tipping face' of the landfill.
(3) This is then compacted by specialist machinery and covered with layers of cover
material, such as soil. This layer helps to reduce odour produced by the waste and deter
scavengers, like rodents, flies and birds. At the end of each day the operational area of the
landfill is completely covered with a layer of cover material.
(4) A common misapprehension is that waste is simply dumped and buried in landfills, but
actually much of it is naturally broken down by microbes under anaerobic (absence of
oxygen) conditions. This decomposition, combined with rainwater filtering through the
landfill, results in the production of liquid, called leachate, and gas.
(5) This gas is mostly carbon dioxide and methane and due to its harmful nature is often
burnt off or directed to an on-site energy generation plant, where it is converted into
electricity, which is most commonly exported to the National Grid.
(6) The liquid is pumped into storage tanks where it is treated and cleaned before being
discharged into the sewer.
Illegal Waste Disposal
Site licence issues
Thousands of incidents daily
Visible - public concern
Affect amenity of public spaces
Risk to public health
Local authorities, Environment
Agency, other land managers,
the police, Inland Revenue
Policies and Legislation
Environmental Protection Act
Duty of Care
Hazardous Waste Regulations
Waste Carriers Regulations
Waste Strategy for England 2007
Waste Regulations 2011