A European-wide landfill ban could cut millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency: which could be good news for Plastic Surgeon as well as the planet as a whole, thanks to our “repair don’t replace” ethos which saves thousands of tonnes of construction components being scrapped.
The roll call of building products saved from going to the tip includes worktops, cills and doors, baths, basins and sinks, tiles, glazing and even bricks and stone. Thus saving the need to replace gouged, scratched or dented substrates; along with all the wasted effort, energy and budget that is involved.
The study, ‘Waste opportunities – past and future climate benefits from better municipal waste management in Europe,’ states that there is a huge opportunity to cut the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from waste management practices, but European countries are apparently not doing enough to embrace this.
Waste volumes continue to rise across the EU and could reach 558 kg per person by 2020 unless effective policies are put in place to reduce waste generation, the report warns. It takes a life-cycle approach to calculating emissions from waste, considering all direct emissions from municipal solid waste during processing and transport. This also accounts for emissions that are avoided in other parts of the economy – for example, accounting for the reduction of emissions when fossil fuels are displaced by energy recovered from waste.
The study presents different scenarios for 2020, which illustrate that the potential for greenhouse gas savings largely depends on how countries implement EU waste policies; in particular whether they meet the EU Landfill Directive targets. In a business-as-usual scenario, net greenhouse gas emissions from municipal waste management would be cut by 44 million tonnes until 2020, compared to 2008. The main factors responsible for this improvement are reduced methane emissions from landfill and extra emissions through recycling being avoided.
If all countries fully meet the Landfill Directive’s waste diversion targets, potential life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from municipal waste management in 2020 could be cut by 62 million tonnes. However a complete ban on land-filling could cut emissions even further, reducing potential net emissions from waste management in 2020 by as impressive 78 million tonnes compared to 2008 figures.
We at Plastic Surgeon are not only conscious of our own environmental footprint, but are well on our way to helping our customers achieve ‘zero waste’ as well as ‘zero defects’ – last year having saved 1,750 tonnes of damaged materials from going to landfill.
This year – for which we still have several months to assess, we have already saved nearly 1,200 tonnes of waste going to the tip, simply by repairing rather than replacing damaged building products. All of this being accurately verifiable thanks to our in-house developed VisibilITy software that enables clients to see exactly what we have repaired for them over a given period; and the corresponding weights involved.