Dump, burn or sell for a decent profit?

The Müllverbrennungsanlage Spittelau: world's most beautiful incinerator? pic: Wikipedia

The Müllverbrennungsanlage Spittelau: world's most beautiful incinerator?

The Guardian’s Leo Hickman wrote last week of the debates and arguments about recycling in the UK, and when and if incineration is actually more practical:

  • There is a crisis of confidence in recycling there, mostly over worries that waste intended for reprocessing is in fact going to landfill anyway.
  • Many local authorities in the UK are moving towards “co-mingled” collection, where residents no longer have to separate, for example, glass, paper and plastic. Sorting is automated. When a co-mingled system is adopted, recycling rates climb by 20%.
  • Incineration is becoming more viable with technologies that provide for ultra-clean burning. One such new incinerator in Vienna is so beautiful simply as a work of architecture that it has become a tourist landmark. (Is there a lesson for the builders of nuclear power stations here?)
  • After an economy-related slump last year, Chinese purchasers of UK waste are already returning to the market.

Incite’s Anthony Dane has just described to me a “co-mingling”-type recycling scheme operating in Plettenberg Bay, where residents need only separate waste into rubbish (kitchen waste, etc) and recyclables (cleaned and dried glass, paper, plastic etc). The council apparently provides bags, and the service is free of charge.

Here’s a list of the City’s recycling depots in Cape Town, where the inefficient recycling services operated by the City have led to a number of small companies entering the market to serve the needs of more conscientious citizens: Going Green has some more details.

Urban Sprout has a good article on the state of recycling in Cape Town last year.


About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
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