Managing our waste is incredibly important, without it the streets would be filled with rubbish and the environment would be severely impacted as a result. In the UK, our waste management is handled in a way that keeps our streets as clean as possible and also tries to reduce any effects on the environment it may have. It is important to know how the waste management industry in the UK works, and the methods of disposal that we employ as a nation. Here are some of the most commonly used methods of waste disposal in the UK.
Probably the most commonly used form of waste disposal in the UK, landfills take around 55% of the UK’s controlled waste every year. There are even times when sewage sludge is deposited in these landfills, along with waste from mining and quarrying. As a result of the decomposition process taking place in these landfills, a considerable amount of methane is produced as a result – 1.5 million tonnes a year, to be precise. Methane is a huge contributor to global warming.
In addition to this, leachate fluids that form as a result of the decomposing waste end up polluting the groundwater that could be used for drinking water supplies, which is a huge risk to people. These are known as disperse landfills and they are completely uncontrolled. By using a containment landfill, the spread of this can be reduced, however. The containment landfill is the most commonly used in the UK.
The second most commonly used form of waste disposal in the UK, incineration takes around 15% of the UK’s total controlled waste each year. As the waste is being burned, harmful gases are released into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide. There are a number of types of incineration plants in the UK, ranging from large scale, mass burn, and municipal incinerators, to smaller ones that are used for clinical waste in hospitals. Of course, since new legislation to help the environment was enforced, hospitals now tend to share one large incinerator for their clinical waste.
Environmentally friendly, and a great form of sustainability, recycling is fast becoming an incredibly popular form of waste disposal. By taking your recyclable goods (paper, cardboard, tins, bottles, etc.) to your nearest recycling plant, they can treat and process your recyclable goods, turning them into new and useable items. Usually, the items produced are the same as those that are recycled. So, if you recycled some office paper, then the process would create a new pack of office paper for you to use. The entire process massively reduces the consumption of raw materials, and does not release harmful gases like incineration and landfills. It is a key part of waste reduction in the modern world.
There are so many types of waste management in the country, but these three are the most commonly used. Progress is always being made with regards to sustainability and better management of our waste systems to create something that is more productive but also safer for the environment and the people around it.