Elimination / Reduction
While occupying the top tier of the waste hierarchy, a normal waste contractor can do little directly to eliminate or reduce a producer’s waste – this normally being a function of the person or organisation producing the waste or consuming products. We can, however, provide support for any initiatives the partners consider and can provide specialist environmental support when reviewing working practices and implementing waste minimisation strategies. We would happily participate in any working groups on these matters.
Re-using waste can be more problematic than you think! If a material falls under the legal definition of waste, a strict framework is in place to ensure safe disposal. Many obstacles, such as product liability laws, have to be navigated. As an example, we are aware of WEEE ‘recycling’ companies who sell untested and potentially unsafe electrical devices to the public. For wastes of unknown provenance we always promote recycling above re-use.
The core method of transforming waste back to the material supply chain is recycling. It necessitates energy, which is why it appears this far down the list. Fletchers and Forward are specialists in recycling and promote sustainable forms of recycling which concentrate on low energy techniques. Inevitably, market forces play a large part in the cost of recycling. Potentially, everything is recyclable, but the cost may be prohibitive. Best value in recycling relies on good source segregation at the point of production to ensure uncontaminated streams.
Waste to Energy
From waste incineration with energy recovery to biomass plants and recycling of oils to produce diesel, this area is wider than most believe and seeks to take advantage of calorific value in some waste streams. Fletchers are currently considering proposals to establish a biomass plant at their Chesterfield facility, with a demand for wood and delaminated woodchip.
Disposal is always the last option considered. Disposal will always be a presence in waste management as certain materials, such as asbestos, will always require landfill due to prohibitions on recycling. But this service is not simply about Landfill, and also includes other methods such as physiochemical treatment of hazardous wastes.