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The slow, green way to recycle

The news that a vast, shiny, new state of the art recycling centre in Lancashire is to be mothballed after incurring "catastrophic losses" will not come as much of a surprise to anyone who keeps an eye on the green scene. A moment's thought by anyone with more than a couple of braincells to rub together leads to the inevitable conclusion that expending vast resources - energy, labour, capital, chemicals and the like - to turn low value items into even lower value items is not much of an economic proposition. With councils increasingly cash-strapped, it is becoming ever harder to sustain the illusion that recycling is anything other than virtue-signalling from middle-class poseurs.

Perhaps landfill needs to have its brand detoxified. Rather than wasting all those precious resources on collecting refuse to turn it into heaven knows what, let's use the power of Mother Nature to break down and recycle what can be broken down, leaving what is inert to cause no trouble to anyone. Yes, it will be slower than what passes for recycling now, but aren't greens in favour of using slower, more natural approaches whenever they can?

"Landfill: the slow, green way to recycle".


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Reader Comments (166)

As I posted on unthreaded: " Well they did consult Friends of the Earth, so no surprise it turned out to be a disastrous waste of money and also an environmental disaster. The law of unintended consequences strikes again". If it wasn't for the EU and our own idiotic politicians, all waste that has no intrinsic value could go to landfill and become a valuable resource in the future. This country has lots of huge redundant quarries just waiting to be turned into landfill sites.

Apr 11, 2016 at 9:29 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Or how about incineration?
Could even use the heat energy to produce electricity. Now there's a thought

Apr 11, 2016 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil-M

A moment's thought by anyone with more than a couple of braincells to rub together

...............Therein lies the rub.

The great Green failure, of insane Green zealotry, begets Green outcomes. Green outcomes, where solving a problem which did not previously exist, occasions and greatly amplifies wasting taxpayers money. Indeed, like a mental aberration the Green mania is a canker which debilitates people, turns politicians into grinning cretins and is an unaffordably onerous imposition on all of society. The Green agenda, is nothing else but spending your taxes and to providing non jobs - augmenting big government.

Apr 11, 2016 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

The true costs of production = present consumption.
Given the rationing seen within the population something is wrong with the mechanisms of production.

What we have typically seen is a local authority gives the role of let's say waste collection to multiple companies.
This requires separate and additional truck movements etc etc.

Also I am becoming increasingly sceptical of LED lighting schemes given their huge up front cost.
My gut tells me these lights will last much less then the 20years it says on the tin.
By that time consultants and other spivs will be long gone.
Fully shield the lights is a good thing but lEDs are efficient simply because they typically produce less lumens.
They also use more expensive objectives rather then simple spherical reflectors.

Apr 11, 2016 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

So many folks these days seem to use slogans as a substitute for thought when it comes to such matters, that I think your 'Landfill: the slow, green way to recycle' will come across to them as powerful stuff.

Well worth a shot, and although calling something so sensible, 'green', is wincible, the pain should be brushed aside for the benefits.

And who knows, perhaps one day, 'green' will no longer be the new 'stupid'.

Apr 11, 2016 at 9:56 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I must congratulate you on that phrase "virtue-signalling from middle-class poseurs", it really does sum up the fact that the left today far from being the hard nosed union bosses are now well off and middle class. They are also ignorant of any facts and deluded as to the reality of any situation.

Apr 11, 2016 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

Why not cut out the FoE middle men and dump shedloads of £50 notes directly to landfill?

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Bish- "virtue-signalling from middle-class poseurs".

I live in a town full of them.
Work in a place full of them.
Constantly have to bite my tongue to not offend them- sometimes fail.
Most people who know me think I'm some kind of tin-foil helmeted nutter because I think (and sometimes say)
that AGW is a con, as are "renewables".

Hence my handle "Bitter&twisted".

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

A few years after the Landfill Tax was announced there was a Countryfile episode where they looked at several European incinerators, which was the EU solution to the problem. They then cut to the UK guy who said 'no, the UK is going to recycle properly'. I shouted at the TV 'bloody burn it! Once we're dealing with it the easy way, we can consider something more indulgent'. We need to get out of Europe, to stop the ease with which our civil service blow our money on the pretext of complying with EU rules.

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

@Phil-M "Or how about incineration?"
..but that is how it's done ...but they make sure they get good insurance first 'allegedly'

- Seems a bit of a pattern : Gets some Green grants, Set up a recycling centre, get some green awards, bring the stuff in stack it up, stack it up more ...ooh whoops we've had a electrical fire
In example of these TWO in Bishes story above : Farington, and Thornton Lancashire they forgot to have a fire ..I guess

Oh hangon it's a new pattern : Leigh recycling centre left a trail of job losses, rubbish ‘piled up taller and wider than five terraced houses’ and reports of rats near the site. April 3

Tap UK recycling' into Google click the News button
Saltley recycling site fire sees more than 800 tonnes ablaze 29 March 2016 Birmingham
- Plastics fire at Tudor Group recycling unit, Ellesmere BBC News-Mar 28, 2016
- A fire involving piles of wood chip that burned for more than a week the at old Llynfi Valley Power Station Site, South Wales Wood Recycling Limited 15 MAR 2016

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:26 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I have a recollection that some landfill re-branding happened in Canada a few years back - in particular that a landfill site was re-designated as a "slow methane digester" or somesuch - doing an end-run around the recycling rules / fines/fees.

There have been repeated suggestion s that recyclers at a corporate level have been operating a cartel in the UK. I wonder what percentage of councils operate their own recycling operations? - I'm guessing not many.

I notice some blame the "civil servants" - I'd say the blame really should be laid at the door of the municipals and The Environment Agency whose antics around recycling have been perverse, divisive, ill informed and in many cases more toxic than the rubbish. Ask any WEEE recycler .....

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:31 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Yep as @TinyCO2 and @Phil-M say Proper high temperature incinerator, will not realease PCBs etc.

Air Quality ! jesus while EU greens focus on 1 or 2 parts per million, they ignore real world problems.

Six more schools closed due to haze The Borneo Post-Apr 4, 2016 (number of schools closed due to the haze situation were 77)
- Cloud seeding begins in Sabah The Borneo Post-Apr 7, 2016

Type : 'Borneo haze' in google and hit the News button

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:33 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Phillip Bratby.

Sorry to disabuse you, but there are not "lots of huge redundant quarries just waiting to be turned into lanfill sites.

1) Most of those remaining in suitably located sites are within sedimentary strata - chalk, limestone or sandstone, all of which are, to varying degrees porous. Thus only inert materials such as building rubble can safely disposed within them without potentially contaminating groundwater. So if these sites are to be used, the waste will have to be sorted (very expensive) or a geo-liner must be used (also expensive).
2) Quarries in non-porous rocks, usually igneous, are extremely valuable as waste disposal sites and commonly are reserved for potentially hazardous wastes or those whose alternative disposal would be significantly more expensive.
3) Many inert quarries are not redundant. They have mineral rights attached to them that currently cannot be exercised because of current local opposition to them being worked.
4) Other quarries have different values and cannot be used for waste disposal. Many are SSSIs, others have potential as building sites, both commercial and residential. I would suppose that some quarry owners would hold out for these higher value uses.

Quarrying is not favoured by local authorities (especially National Parks) and there are fewer and fewer operating as time goes by. The absence of suitable sites for landfill is also an every increasing problem, to the extent that special sites need to be constructed. If we can't landfill, recycling is one method, even if not profitable, to get out of our future waste problem. It will need [horror, horror] subsidies.

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Perhaps rebranding as Carbon Capture and Storage would be the most effective?

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered Commentergrumpybadger

Whenever this comes up I have to re-visit the classic Penn and Teller video, some quotes:

"Exposing the reality behind recycling, a supposedly pro-environment activity that in actuality creates pollution, has to be subsidized by the government because it's cost ineffective, and is completely unnecessary because, contrary to popular belief, our landfills are not running out of space."

Penn Jillette: It takes more energy to recycle a plastic bottle than to make a new one.

Penn Jillette: So, so far we're feeling good for no reason. And that's fine too. But if you want to feel good while being stupid and wasting your time, maybe *heroin* is for you.

Difficult to find a link these days that doesn't want money or is restricted because CBS claims copyright, but here's one:

You can get rid of the Romanian? popup quite easily and the full video is the original.

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:52 AM | Registered Commenterdennisa

@Alan Kendall can you quote any sources for those assertions ?

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:52 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Following on from other comments .......

Legislation has been passed to make this type of recycling economic, yet it is still a failure.

What percentage of the total cost was spent on professional fees, to design in, additional costs to create additional professional fees?

Golfers will be familiar with the term Green Fees

In construction and other expensive projects such as this, Green Fees are the factor that leads to ruin. Some are little more than 'hush money' to prevent Green Blob objections blocking Planning Permission, and ensure maximum grant and subsidy payments.

You would have thought that a simple computer model prepared on a 30 year old computer, would allow quasi government agencies to spot business schemes with a zero chance of success. There is so much available data, and you really couldn't make most of it up.

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

When you promote landfill as the greener way, you may be pushing at an open door with your regulars here, Bish, but think of all the brain-washing that's gone on in schools over the last 20 years or so. Children and their green controllers are not going to be so easy to meld to the new (old) paradigm.

Apr 11, 2016 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

"Landfill: the slow, green way to recycle"

Great quote! That was priceless.


Apr 11, 2016 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Davies

Apr 11, 2016 at 9:29 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I used to work on lots of landfill sites in the west country. Monitoring them, designing them. New ones were to be lined with polypropelene sheeting, taped & welded joints, etc, drainage systems designed to collect leachate, even some had gas-flaring sytemes to burn off the methane! Old disused railway cuttings running through farmland, as well as disused quarries, many were used for such things. It was only in the early 90s that they were required to be monitore for their gaseous output, CO2/CH4, the latter being more important due to its potential flamability! The EU with its sprawling reach, whilst recommending monitoring (a good thing - work for locals & gas metering equipment manufacturers), worked on the UK labelling it the "dirty man of Europe", with those paragons of virtue, FoE/Greenpeace/WWF jumping onto the bandwaggon - they could probably smell the money availabe from the taxpayers!

Apr 11, 2016 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Just as well its closing, because too many of them catch fire and stay alight for weeks. Two near me in the UK W.Mids over last 3 years...spontaneous combustion. But they rescue the fish in the local rivers ASAP and meanwhile residents have large lumps of black sh*t falling on their property etc.

Apr 11, 2016 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Living in a part of the country subject to both coastal erosion and which is tilting (East Anglia) I have often wondered why landfill (inert and sorted as it already has been) could not be used to build up selected areas of the coastline. Build a cofferdam and fill that.

Apr 11, 2016 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Stewgreen. I'm sorry but I cannot except without a great deal of effort on my part. I wrote my contribution based on my experience, some contact with what is now Nature England about SSSI sites, teaching a module on mineral deposits at UEA that involved me and my students examining mineral planning regulations, and discussions over several years with the then Norfolk mineral planning officer (who also gave a lecture in my teaching module).

I'll do my best.

1. Can be verified by consulting a UK geological and hydrogeological maps. Regulations concerning restrictions on geological disposal of non-inert wastes can be obtained from local mineral planning regulations, all of which are governed by various contamination of surface and groundwater legislation (sorry I don't have precise details). Use of geo liners is, I believe governed by the same planning laws.

2. Is based on discussions with quarry managers in Northumberland whose quarries were destined to accept asbestos waste. It is now I realize an assumption of mine that this restriction would be a nationwide one.

3.This again is based on my experience of visiting many defunct quarries, on an old Channel 4 documentary "Quarry Queen" that I used in my UEA teaching, and talking with Norfolk's planning officer.

4. Is common knowledge. English Nature (and I suppose its equivalents elsewhere) preserve quarries (or parts of quarries) for their geological significance and because they commonly have value for attracting wildlife. Whole housing developments are located in huge chalk quarries in northern Kent, and I know of many quarries in County Durham currently used as caravan parks. I acknowledged that it was my speculation that quarry owners would prefer waiting for more profitable uses for their openings.

Apr 11, 2016 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

My local council, Norfolk CC has a slow green scheme when it comes to DIY material. Only one item at a time can be disposed of at the council run sites. So if, as I am, renovating a bathroom, then it is the bath one week, the sink another and so on, tiles and other rubble form their own trip as well and must be limited to 80 litres each time. Same scheme with kitchen cabinets, one a week. Curious, it does not reduce landfill or whatever, just spreads it out over a longer period. Maybe to prevent commercial operations exploiting it but as they also log vehicle details electronically and share with other sites in the county, so maybe not. Of course, making multiple trips uses more fuel so maybe a covert way to green the environment CO2 enrichment wise. :)

Apr 11, 2016 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

Alan the Brit. Yes, I thought it was the norm to line land-fills these days.

Apr 11, 2016 at 12:08 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

If hospitals and crematoriums are able to incinerate potentially harmful medical waste safely, then so should others. And hospitals are also full health professionals at least some of whom will be trained in toxicology. I've not heard them complaining about incineration [discounting the ones who think carbon dioxide is coming to incinerate us]. I suspect many people living near a hospital incinerator don't even know it is there.

The process is often used for heating too, so it is actually recycling the energy. What's not to like about that?

Apr 11, 2016 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The assertion that landfill is the slow, green way to recycle is a ridiculous one. At least, burn the stuff at high temperature to generate power, before dumping the remains. Unless you consider leaking nutrients and toxic substances into the ground water as a sensible form of recycling.

Apr 11, 2016 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterAldus du Flaperon

Ah, yes - the Landfill Tax. We've all seem the unintended consequence of that - its called 'fly tipping'....

Apr 11, 2016 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Stewgreen. I didn't justify my last comments.

Anyone who has taught geology recently would agree with my last comments. Fewer and fewer quarries are available for study. Quarries are disappearing by landfill and other uses, and much of the extraction industry is being concentrated in larger quarries in fewer areas (like parts of the Mendips that hosted (and may still do) Europe's largest quarry).

Restriction of quarrying in National Parks should be a national scandal but unfortunately is little known. The closure of limestone quarries and the prevention of future quarrying by the Yorkshire Moors park authorities means that vernacular building (new and repairs to existing buildings) can no longer be done properly because the local limestone is no longer available (as of 2007, the situation may have changed but I doubt it).. Instead of using local stone that fits into the landscape, Millstone Grit from the Pennines is being used - totally alien to the area. The same planning restrictions affect parts of Dartmoor where building requires importation of granite from other parts of the Park, and the imported stone does not match that which used to be produced locally. These National Park authorities are destroying the architectural heritage that they were formed to protect.

Apr 11, 2016 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Alan the Brit.

I was under the assumption that geo liners could only be successfully used if the excavation was in relatively soft materials that lacked sharp, jagged edges. Is this correct, or has the development of such linings reached the point where they can be used more widely?

Apr 11, 2016 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Waste to energy plants are used in some places in the US. The entire rubbish stream (customers are required to separately recycle hazardous items like chemicals, CFL's, some batteries, electronics) is dumped into the top of a vertical burner. The ash that exits the bottom goes through separation equipment to extract metals and glass, which are sold to a recycler for a pittance. Burner generates steam for a conventional generator to produce electricity for the region. The one near me has been operating for more than 20 years, has paid for its capital costs and now is a source of revenue for the local gov't (they charge for rubbish tipping input and for electricity output). Just had the entire control system updated. Probably has another 30 years of life before a rebuild is needed.

Landfill next to plant is used for overflow and for the waste ash, and has had its space-limited life extended by at least 50 years. If you look at the footprint of the plant, 50% of the structure consists of filtration bags, scrubbers and precipitators to remove particulates from the burner exhaust. Another 30% consists of the (covered) receiving area for the rubbish lorries. The remainder is the HV substation, burner and generator.

The biggest challenge in recent years has been a *lack* of rubbish mass to keep the burner running at optimum rates, thanks to people throwing out less stuff. They also battle with reduced kWhr/tonne from rain, since a larger fraction of the collected rubbish weight is water.

Finally, the smell normally associated with a landfill that serves 1 million people is nonexistent.

Apr 11, 2016 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

It makes sense to recycle the rare and/or expensive.

Most of what is recycled today is neither.

Apr 11, 2016 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

Sherlock 1, indeed, clearing up 'flytipping' is a growth area in the Green economy. Some flytipped waste, can be cleared up in one local authority's area, at substantial cost to local tax payers, and dumped in another area to avoid paying for disposal costs, which is of course where the profit is.

Some rubbish and waste burns a lot of diesel in transport costs as it does a lot of travelling, before spontaneously combusting out of control.

Apr 11, 2016 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Ah! Recycling - it's as useful as tits on a bull.
But don't it make you feel good?

Apr 11, 2016 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered Commentertoorightmate

@Alan Kendal: Yes generally, but it depends on the actual sub-strata of the quarry. I understand in some cases a concrete linging is sprayed onto the jagged rock to create a smoother base for the liner! The concrete still requires a liner as the concrete being wet, will shrink & therefore crack, & gases being near liquid like will seep through anywhere! There are hundreds of former railway cuttings & the like in the west which farmers earned an honest crust from the local authority to allow waste to be deposited there for donkeys years, which were unmonitored, merrily bubbling away releasing CO2/CH4 etc. As to recycling? Do it when it makes sense to, unlike here in the Peoples Demcoratic Republic of the European Union, is forced upon us for the sake of it, much as we know being simply transferred from one tip centre in the UK to the Far East! At least the Beeb did do some research on that & publicised it on things like The One Show, etc!

Apr 11, 2016 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Can't say 'landfill'. Perhaps 'terrestrial decomposition'.

Apr 11, 2016 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

I was amazed that anyone agreed to do this in the first place. This is the Victor Meldrew effect in action. These people are genuinely daft in the head and twice as pompous..

"COUNCIL bosses are under attack for BINNING weekly food waste collections after spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on the service.

More than 110,000 plastic bins were doled out to homes as part of the flagship environmental service which was rolled out between September and November 2013. Renfrewshire Council also paid out a fortune on the six Isuzu Farid 7.5 ton refuse collection vehicles used to operate the kerbside collection scheme across the local authority area.

However, under proposals going to the Leadership Board on Wednesday, bosses are dumping the service and merging food waste collection with garden refuse pick- ups. The move has sparked anger, with Renfrewshire councillors scratching their heads over the cost to the public purse in setting up a scheme which lasted barely two years.

SNP group leader Brian Lawson, member for Paisley East and Ralston, said: “This means 110,000 plastic bins, two per household, will be literally going in the bin themselves. “I wonder if the council has plans to recycle them? Add to this the cost in purchasing food waste bin collection vehicles, and the associated costs in staffing the service too.

Apr 11, 2016 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

1) Most of those remaining in suitably located sites are within sedimentary strata - chalk, limestone or sandstone, all of which are, to varying degrees porous. Thus only inert materials such as building rubble can safely disposed within them without potentially contaminating groundwater. So if these sites are to be used, the waste will have to be sorted (very expensive) or a geo-liner must be used (also expensive).

Prof. Alan Kendall,

Chemicals and toxic waste - who knows where some of that ends up............... but my guess is - local streams and thence straight into the water cycle. OK, true enough it is that, most of our industry has off shored - but the same happens in India and China - you can offshore it but the problem remains - does it not?

There is no easy answer but 'there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt' of - yet. It's a long times ere I studied this stuff but aquifers and seeping, permeated water takes some time (thousands of years) - to reenter the water cycle on a human scale, if not on a Geological one, what happens in leaching, chemical mixing, biological processes - is very poorly understood, not least because we'd have to wait a few thousand years to assess thus.

Incineration for some waste, is perfectly feasible and possible but as we are all aware, there are toxic consequences of burning some substances.

Storing toxic waste, is always vulnerable to seepage - no matter how careful are your sealants laid.

As I said, of course there is: no easy answer. I'll leave with, a construction consultant and engineer who stated:

So just how critical is the UK's supply of landfill sites? Well, not very at all. We quarry about 260 million tonnes (mt) a year of land minerals, mostly limestone, granite and sand and gravel, plus 9mt a year of opencast coal. In terms of volume, that equates to new holes with a capacity of about 110 million cubic metres (mcm) a year. Our existing licenced holes have a capacity of about 700 mcm. We produce less than 100mcm of waste and refuse a year. The system, as scientists would say, is therefore in equilibrium.

There are regional imbalances, of course. In order to counter the south-east minerals 'drag', following the recommendations of the Albemarle Report many years ago, a policy of licencing superquarries in Scotland and the north and transporting their products directly by sea or rail to the south-east means that Scotland and the north have more holes than waste to fill them with. And the landfill 'push' from London which places additional demands on sites in the home counties means that the M25 area has more waste than holes. The solution to this is patently obvious. Why have ships and rail wagons returning to Scotland empty?

No. No natural problem, really. The 'crisis' has been created artificially by a combination of EU blind stupid regulation and the Labour government's cupidity. Tyres, for example, are now classed as 'hazardous' waste in the same class as hospital waste and strange glowing chemicals. Artificially witholding waste disposal licences from perfectly suitable holes in the ground creates an artificial shortgage. And the government have not only imposed an aggregates levy that taxes minerals coming out of the holes but a landfill tax that taxes waste going back in to fill them up. Landfill tax is currently £32 / tonne and will rise to £40 t next year and £48 t the year after. Local councils have to pay these charges, but receive nothing extra from government and are restricted from raising council taxes generally to pay for it. Small wonder, really, that the Bin Police have taken off in such a big way and that councils in London are looking at 10p/kg charge to cover not only these and fuel costs but the costs of compliance with Ken's emission charging scheme.

There's no crisis. Just Brown's stealth taxes.

Apr 11, 2016 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Athelstan, sorry but I beg to differ with your belief that it takes a long time for contamnation to reach groundwater. This can easily be established with tracer tests. Usually a photoactive chemical is introduced and can be detected away from the entry site and in the worst cases this occurs within hours. We used to do this with students in the Mendips as part of our hydrogeology course.

Usually test borings at specific distances away from possible contamination sites detect the contaminants ( chlorine from the waste is commonly used) within months or a few years. The migration of contamination plumes over time can be determined using this methodology. The existence of strict water pollution legislation is also testament to the existence of past contamination events and the seriousness with which authorities try to prevent such events occurring in the future.

Alan the Brit thank you for the information. Based upon the experience of my neighbours trying to construct a lined fishpond, I wouldn't want to live near a quarry converted to a landfill , lining or no lining.

Apr 11, 2016 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I don't know how it is in Britain, but in the US there is lots of recycling done at landfills. A key action of Toy Story 3 is based on this recycling.

Apr 11, 2016 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

"Bitter and Twisted"

No you're not, you're just wise.

Tell the poseurs that and watch their faces.

Apr 11, 2016 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

I did some work on fuel from biomass recently. The Big Problem was bring the biomass to the processing plant; the second Big Problem was the seasonal flow of biowaste. Then the little light in the ageing brain switched on - collection for landfill sites is already happening, and the flow of biodegradable waste is reasonably constant. Just tap the landfill for biogas. Then the economics really started to make sense.

Apr 11, 2016 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Lloyd

I don't believe they ever really expected this to make them money. So not sure what is happening here.

Apr 11, 2016 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Is there a 'Green List' of individuals and companies with a track record of charging fees for bad advice (technical, economic, financial, political etc) that has seen public money wasted in this way?

It would be really helpful for Local Authority Planning Departments to understand the motivation behind some of these schemes and what the 'Experts" are actually seeking to gain.

Apr 11, 2016 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Landfills tend to use an High Density Polyethelene (HDPE) membrane, around 2mm in thickness, & when installed properly will function adequately. All joints are heat-welded by a special tool & spark tested for air-tightness, usually through a copper wire within the weld. A fish tank liner it ain't!

Shredded tyres were used for many years in Germany & elsewhere because it cleaned up the leachate, before in entered a water-course. Ironically it was the carbon that was effective at cleaning it. Carbon drinking filters are mounted onto taps/sinks to provide bottled style water. In fact several water companies use a layer of carbon as part of the filtering system in sewage works, it is so efficient!

Apr 11, 2016 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Athelstan, I looked more closely at the quotation you used and am not impressed. I should add here that I may be woefully out of date (the last contact I had with the subject was probably 2006-7 when I last was involved in teaching it) and I am more than prepared to give way to anyone with more up-to-date knowledge.

The quotation states there is no shortage of landfill volume since we are creating more quarried space than material to be landfilled. A potential problem of a mismatch of the location of quarry space and material to be dumped is identified and a possible solution (transporting waste from the Southeast to Scottish coastal superquarries) is proposed. I have serious reservations.

Much of the void space identified is in extractions for rocks and unconsolidated materials which would be unsuitable for anything other than inert waste. (I googled quarry, landfill, Uk and, as expected the overwhelming number of advertizing hits specified inert waste only). Much of the extraction sites are, as I previously mentioned in superquarries, many of which quarry beneath the previous position of the water table. Not only that but in order that they remain operating, they kept open and are not available to accept waste until they close.

As for Scotland accepting English waste, I wonder what Nicola would think about that. There already was considerable national opposition to quarrying parts of the beautiful Scottish coast to supply Sassanachs.

Apr 11, 2016 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Paper is relatively easy to recycle, but still has expenses to strip out the plastic, remove the ink,etc. In the end, here in the US recycled printer paper is twice the cost of virgin fiber retail. what a great deal,eh?

Apr 11, 2016 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle


You have been seriously misinformed. Sedimentary rocks - silicates and limestones - near the surface typically have high porosity and permeability because they are not compressed by overburden. Porosity of greater than 20% and permeabilities measured in Darcies are very common - especially in quarries where nice homogeneous rock has been identified and excavated. To support Alan Kendall's comments, flow of meteoric waters, driven by gravity-drainage, is often measurable in unit meters per hour or higher order. This makes it a problem for today, not for your grandson.

Apr 11, 2016 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul_K

Landfills & recycling centres are excellent very useful items. I bought a camping gas stove a coupld of years back, mint condition hardly ever used, £5, ideal for when the lights go out at least I'll still be able to have a hot meal!

Apr 11, 2016 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Probably the only commentator on this site who regularly visits these areas via a Transit van full of dead people's or hoarders junk that has accumulated over a lifetime.
There is value in sorting.
Perhaps not plastics but certainly metal (even today)
The drop in diesel prices helped but they are rising again......

What concerns me is the hidden subsidy of private corporations by the residents of city and county councils.
Again if we observe the street lighting debacle this stuff becomes more clear.

Previously the semi state electricity supply board of Ireland handled the 14,000 street lights of Cork.
Now the contract is under the umbrella of airtricity corporation.
Here is where it gets absurd.
Airtricity is responsible for single outages of lanterns while the old Esb organisation continues to deal with major outages.
I think there was a dispute along these lines a few years ago, as to what constitutes a major outage etc etc.
It is apparently resolved.
But the duplication of work remains......

Also I noticed the first LED light in my area.
These have a much higher capital cost but is advertised as a item requiring reduced labour.
So residents end up subsidising private companies labour expenses via the purchase of higher capital cost items.
Previously local.council workers recycled their wages locally in the pub.
Now their labour value is extracted out of the locality via the above and other mechanisms.

Apr 11, 2016 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

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