Keeping Greater Manchester’s waste out of landfill
12 August 2022
At STE Waste, we’re passionate about ensuring all the waste we collect is properly disposed of and recycled wherever possible. Common materials we collect like card and paper are easy to recycle, and many components in any electrical equipment we collect can also be reused, but what about the stuff we can’t recycle?
We would love to be able to recycle 100% of the waste we collect, but the nature of many materials make this impossible. While all plastics are recyclable in theory, for many kinds, it would use more energy to recycle them than it does to create the material in the first place. Some plastics – like the ones which up single-use drinks bottles – are made from a waste material from fuel manufacturing and can be recycled easily.
Other plastics, like polystyrene used to make all kinds of things like packaging and yoghurt pots, are more challenging. Then there are the composite materials – like plastic-lined disposable paper coffee cups and aluminium foil-lined plastic crisp packets – where two or more materials are combined in the manufacturing process. These are almost impossible to separate back into the raw materials and recycle.
The complexity of modern materials means there will always be some things we just can’t recycle.
The impact of landfill sites on the local Manchester and Cheshire community
There are over 500 landfill sites in operation in the UK, amassing waste at an alarming rate. Despite more work being done to dispose of, and limit the use of these sites, the impact they can have on the environment through pollution can be significant. According to data from the Government’s Environment Agency, Greater Manchester has the highest number of landfill sites in England, with an alarming 94 within its boroughs.
Unless managed effectively, pollution created from these sites can have catastrophic effects on the surrounding area particularly to water courses. In addition to the sites themselves, the vans or trucks that deliver waste to them add to congestion and diminish air quality locally. Landfill is now a last resort for waste materials with taxes set to drive their use down.
Alternatives to landfill
Environmental preservation is a big part of what we do. Whilst reliable, and efficient client service remains one of our top priorities, we continue to make strives to being an environmentally sustainable business. Our commitment and pledges to this cause are all documented in our ESG position paper, which you can read here.
For the materials we cannot recycle, the best current alternative is to use a regional Energy from Waste centre which is used to recover energy from non-recyclable waste material used as a fuel.
These plants are not the incinerators of the 1960s and 70s. They are modern, regulated facilities which generate electricity and treat emissions before they are released into the atmosphere.
The plan moving forward for our Manchester and Cheshire services
As a Manchester-based waste management service, we’re very proud of the contribution we’ve made to environmental sustainability in our local area. With tha in mind, we plan to continue providing our top-tier services to our Manchester and Cheshire clients whilst constantly evalutating our impact on the environment around us.
Diverting waste from landfill sites is just a small part of what we do. And nowadays it’s more important than ever to be mindful of where the things we throw away end up if not regulated properly, not just for businesses like ourselves, but all other businesses and the general public as well.