Why landfill sites are bad news for your commercial recycling

As a business that is striving towards ‘zero waste to landfill’, we think it’s important that our customers also understand the negative impacts that landfills are having on the environment. In this article, we explain a bit more about the process of waste going to landfills, why it’s bad and what we can do about it.

Let’s start with some facts

  • 15 million tonnes of waste is sent to the landfill every year in the UK*
  • UK tonnages of biodegradable waste to landfill have reduced almost every year since 2010**
  • In 2019, 3.2 million tonnes of waste that was sent to landfill was categorised as ‘mixed waste’.**
  • Plastic bottles take around 500 years to decompose and many are ending up in landfills, but they are 100% recyclable.***
  • And, if you think that’s a long time… glass bottles take 1 million years to decompose which are also 100% recyclable!

So, what’s actually happening to the environment because of landfills?

The environmental issues that surround landfills generally fit into one of 3 problems:

Greenhouse gases

With all this waste piling up in one space, it is creating excessive amounts of greenhouse gases. This is when there isn’t enough oxygen so the waste, therefore, releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is about 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. By now, we all know that greenhouse gases are one of the biggest contributors to climate change and global warming.

Toxins

When landfills used to dump hazardous waste types such as electrical equipment (batteries / TVs etc), these items released toxins such as mercury, arsenic, and solvents. These are harmful substances that are all eventually making their way into our soil.  However, since the regulations changed in 2012, WEEE materials are not accepted in landfills anymore. At Commercial Recycling, we can recycle these waste types for you.  

Leachate

This is produced naturally as the waste breaks down. It is an extremely harmful liquid that is polluting our land and getting into our water.

What can you do?

As a business, the first step to tackling waste going to landfills is to dispose of your own waste properly. This means segregating it as best as you can, so it’s less likely to land there. You should also be wary of where your waste is ending up, which is why it’s good to arrange waste collection by a company like Commercial Recycling or to tip your waste directly with them.


As a local business, you have a duty of care to do the correct thing for a cleaner environment, and actually, it’s far more cost-effective for you to take your waste to a recycling centre than it is to a landfill. The current rate for landfill tax alone is £96.70/tonne, plus you’ll need to pay the landfill charge to the operator separately!

What are we doing?

Many of the wastes that end up in landfills can actually be recovered and turned into energy (we have written an article about this, which you can read here).

Some of the other waste types can also be reused and recycled into aggregates or repurposed for other items. So for example, when builders come to one of our recycling centres with waste inert materials from a building project, we will repurpose it into 6F5 crushed concrete, type 1 recycled and other construction aggregates.

Here are some stats to back up what we do:

  • We receive and process up to 93,656 tonnes of waste per year!
  • Up to 90.5% of the waste we receive is diverted from landfill.
  • Each year we have recycled up to 203,704.37 tonnes of inert waste into aggregates.
  • Last year we safely processed 826.46 tonnes of hazardous waste.

Need more information or ready to dispose of your commercial waste?

If you are looking for a waste disposal provider, look no further than Commercial Recycling. We have recycling centres in both Somerset and Dorset as well as an inert facility in Somerset too.

With convenient opening hours, competitive waste disposal prices and various waste collection options, you will have peace of mind that you are also helping us with our aim of ‘zero waste to landfill’.

For more information, get in touch with our knowledgeable team by calling us on 01202 331560 or email enquiries@commercialrecycling.co.uk.

* https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-waste-data

** https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002246/UK_stats_on_waste_statistical_notice_July2021_accessible_FINAL.pdf

*** https://ismwaste.co.uk/recycling-facts

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