Hazardous Waste Cost Problem

Article excerpt

From July 16 this year, the cost of recycling or disposing of hazardous waste materials has gone through the roof.

With prices per tonne escalating from pounds 15 to over pounds 50, one local company which specialises in waste disposal predicts that a slow down in the regeneration of brownfield sites and random fly-tipping will be the unhealthy result.

Dr Paul Steadman, environmental manager for Thompsons of Prudhoe, says that increased fly-tipping and cowboy waste management will bring unsightly and smelly carbuncles along country roads and in unspoiled woodlands. It is also likely that hazardous waste will be part of the mix, creating a serious threat to health with added potential dangers, especially to playing children.

Dr Steadman explained: "Up to now a system of co-disposal has existed, where both hazardous and biodegradable waste have been landfilled together. The introduction of the EU Landfill Directive has resulted in the number of sites disposing of hazardous materials being cut from 240 to as few as 13 across the UK.

"So, in circumstances such as these, and with increased transportation costs, those people who are less environmentally friendly will take advantage of the night time to throw their old fridges and asbestos sheets over a field hedge.

"The disposal of hazardous waste, which includes asbestos, paint, process chemicals and contaminants from polluted brownfield sites, will soon exhaust the facilities currently available to waste producers, with no immediate prospects of new sites or additional treatment capacity being created.

"In the meantime, the incidence of fly- tipping is on the increase, doubling every month at some regeneration sites."

The Government's Hazardous Waste Forum estimates that last year alone, the gap between landfill and treatment capacity amounted to several million tonnes. …