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Benn: No sense in dumping aluminium and food waste into landfill

Secretary of State for the Environment Hilary Benn has implied that aluminium and food waste could be banned from landfill.

In a speech at the Labour Partys annual conference in Brighton (28 September), Benn said that the public were recycling more than we did a decade ago but more needs to be done. He said:
It doesnt make sense to dump thousands of tonnes of aluminium in landfill every year when someone will buy it and recycle it into new cans, using 90 per cent less energy.

It doesnt make sense that we throw away a third of the food we buy costing us money and most of it ending up rotting in a tip, producing greenhouse gases when instead we can turn it into clean renewable electricity to power our homes.

So we need to stop thinking of these things as rubbish, stop sending them to landfill, and start making the most of everything.

Earlier this month, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs research was published examining the effect that landfill bans had when they were introduced into other countries such as Germany, Sweden and Austria (see MRW story).

It found that landfill bans had been very effective in other countries and regions. For example, waste to landfill in Germany decreased from 27 per cent to one per cent.
Defra has been exploring the possibility of banning or restricting some materials for some time.

In June, when announcing the Packaging Strategy, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: Take food, glass, aluminium or wood why would you put any of them into landfill when they can be recycled, or used to make energy? What sort of a society would throw away aluminium cans worth £550 a tonne when aluminium producers are crying out for the raw material?

A Defra spokeswoman said that the Government is assessing how landfill bans can work in the UK and what infrastructure and resources would be needed, what the impact would be, and how effective it would be. This research will be published in October/November.

It aims to consult on proposed landfill bans for certain materials by the end of the year or beginning of next year.



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