Waste & Recycling in the UK

A Look at Waste and Recycling UK

Since time immemorial, mankind has been throwing rubbish in holes in the ground. Pits and mine, ditches gullies have been dug since the dawn of time, and civilisations have formed, so waste has thrown in them.

Even today, excavations for one reason or another, can turn up rubbish pits from the days of this country being part of the Roman Empire, from plague pits of the Middle Ages to bottle dumps of the Victorians.

Since the end of the Second World War, the consumer society has been growing, with manufacturing producing goods costs previously unheard of, particularly with growth in plastics, the throwaway society came into being.

From the 1970’s the advent of central heating in our houses extinguished the fires in our grates, which used to consume any inflammable rubbish, and so saw it put into the rubbish bin.

The late 1970’s also saw the growth in supermarkets and their self-service format in which everything had to be perfectly packaged, but added untold tonnage to go to waste.

So the landfill industry grew apace, becoming something of a science to itself. These sites came under close scrutiny from local and national government.

Pits had to be lined to prevent leachate, and bespoke heavy machinery – see Hanlon CASE for waste handling machines – employed to compact and compress in ordered, structured procedures.

Gas pipes laid within the “foundations” and layered to bleed off future building up of gases, carbon dioxide to the air, and methane put to use in producing energy.

As Western societies moved into the 1990’s, it was becoming apparent that mass consumption and the endless throwaway life style was no longer sustainable.

Islands of plastic bottles were forming in the oceans, plastic bags chocking the life out of marine fish, reptiles and mammals, and landfill sites filling too rapidly, and what had started as something of a fad, became mainstream, that of recycling.

As the new millennium arrived, recycling was becoming big business indeed. Both industry and households responded to the social awareness of waste (focused by a large dollop of taxation too) and recycling became applicable to pretty much every commodity we use.

The industry has tuned much of this into exacting economic science and business. Some levels of recycling are quite astonishing, aluminium for instance.

Not just the big things, like aeroplanes or cars, but look at the simple drinks can. Taken that aluminium can be recycled infinitely, and that it takes around 95% less energy to recycle it than create it from raw material, the drinks can that you take off the shelf today, can be re-worked, recycled, reformed and refilled and back on that shelf within 60 days!