current affairs

UK: A future leader in landfill mining?


I’ve often toyed with setting a short story in a future where we mine our waste for all the useful things we chuck out without thought. Well the future is here, as the IHT reports:

In Britain alone, experts say landfill sites could offer an estimated 200 million tons of old plastic – worth up to £60 billion, or $111 billion, at current prices – to be recovered and recycled, or converted to liquid fuel.

The report goes on to say that this October London will be hosting the first “global landfill mining” conference. We’ve made mistakes in the past, been foolish and lazy in how waste has been handled but we’ve got no excuses now – the technology and knowledge are widespread. Better to not have plastic packaging in the first place, but when we do it’s totally crazy to send it to landfill only to dig it up again!

Brighton & Hove is a recycling laggard both in terms of the range of materials we recycle and also in terms of percentage of total waste. We don’t need to lecture residents, we need to re-organise our waste system to make recycling the new default, easy thing to do.