A Tip for the Future. Teesside's Growing Waste Mountain Is Providing a Vital Source of Raw Materials for the Region's Green Energy Industry. JEZ DAVISON Reports

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Byline: JEZ DAVISON

TEESSIDE generates almost a third of the waste produced by North-east industry, a new report has revealed.

Each year commercial and industrial firms in the region leave behind 2.18m tonnes of waste -with Teesside contributing 680,853 tonnes or 31% of the total.

Teesside's chemical industry is a major contributor, generating a quarter of industrial waste in the area.

But the fingers can also be pointed at textiles, wood, paper and publishing firms, which churn out more than 114,878 tonnes between them.

The figures will raise con ern among ministers who are trying to create a zero waste culture in Britain, where everything we throw away can be turned into something of value.

While some of the waste is being converted into energy and raw materials for everyday products, a staggering 33% is still tossed to landfill despite Government measures to stop the practice.

Landfill prices are set to soar from pounds 48 per tonne to pounds 80 per tonne over the next four years, which translates into hefty extra costs for heavy waste producing companies.

The North East Sustainable Resources Board (NESRB), which commissioned the research, is urging firms to consider ways of reducing the region's waste mountain.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: "A key issue will be identifying the opportunities for future investment in waste and resource recovery.

"These include the resources currently being sent to landfill, which could be recovered for re-use, recycling and energy production. "This survey will shape and inform potential future investment into new waste and resource management infrastructure and is therefore vital to the region's long-term strategic waste planning."

Teesside firms are already cashing in on the industrial waste boom.

Middlesbrough-based Rebuild North East takes waste from construction firms and either re-sells it to the trade at a knock-down price or uses it to upgrade local properties.

That reduces waste to landfill and gives bargain-hunting builders the chance to buy materials at a 45% discount on market value.

Green experts say the next challenge is to get more companies to follow suit.

Chris Hayward, MD of the recently launched green energy consultancy Renew +, said: "There's potential in much of the waste that we throw away. …