landfill by 2012 (“1/2W2L”), as a result of waste reduction, reuse and recycling. How might this be achieved and what will the impact be?
In England, the Government’s Waste Strategy and draft Sustainable Construction Strategy both propose the target of 1/2W2L. Nationally, performance would be measured against waste disposal in 2005. The construction sector’s Sustainability Forum together with WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) put forward the same goal last year.
Progress towards the target would:
- set the sector on the road to the ultimate goal of zero waste to landfill;
- follow the waste hierarchy by promoting waste reduction and reuse, not just recycling; and
- reduce carbon emissions.
How much waste?
Construction, demolition, refurbishment and excavation produce around 120 million tonnes (Mt) of waste in the UK each year. This is an estimate, particularly for the non-inert fraction such as timber and plastics (roughly 15 Mt). Inert materials (such as soils and concrete) total around 105 Mt, while some 2 Mt of hazardous waste are sent to landfill
We estimate the total amount of unused waste going to landfill at around 20 Mt, including (approximately):
- 8 Mt of inert material, excluding materials used for landfill engineering and capping and for backfilling quarry voids;
- 10 Mt of non-inert material (i.e. two thirds of this waste category); and
- 2 Mt of hazardous waste (i.e. all such waste).
The 1/2W2L target refers to unused waste,hence would require a 10 Mt per annum reduction by 2012.