Every year, millions of tonnes of mixed plastic are sent to landfill. For example, in 2009/10 in England and Wales alone, some 27.3 million tonnes of municipal waste was collected. Around 50% went to landfill (20% of which was plastics), 12% was incinerated and 37% was recycled or composted.
A further 40m tonnes of trade/commeWRial waste (of which 10% was plastics) were collected mostly by private contractors from retail businesses, institutions (hospitals, schools, prisons, etc) and restaurants (source: DEFRA). Sources in DEFRA confirm a fall of approximately 2.1% in gross municipal waste collected from January 2010 to December 2010 to 23.1 million tons.
Additionally, incremental annual landfill tax increases are being used as an incentive to reduce waste, now at £56 per ton and rising £8 annually to £72 per ton in 2013, as well as fines of up to £200 per ton on local councils and other authorities that do not meet landfill reduction quotas.
But landfill is here to stay unless a technology can be launched to start the process of eradicating what is a serious environmental blight. There is a clear and very determined commitment by Western Governments to try and tackle the massive problem of plastic waste disposal. The opportunity therefore is vast and the market wide open. WRi is in a perfect position to exploit these developments.