Archive for March, 2008

Taxing your Understanding

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Climate change, green taxes, zero carbon standards, carbon footprints, land fill tax. All words we are familiar with in this day and age. But how many people really know how landfill tax works?

The Chancellor again referred to this rather specialised tax in the 2008 Budget, announcing that the standard rate of landfill tax will increase by £8 per tonne to £40 per tonne in 2009/10. But this is a form of taxation which only a few people need to know about.

It is now nearly 12 years since it was introduced, applying to all waste disposed on or after 1 October 1996 by way of landfill at licensed landfill sites. It is charged by weight and there are two rates of tax: £2 per tonne for inactive or inert waste and standard rate for all other taxable waste. Back in 1996, the standard rate was £7 per tonne, rising steadily to £15 per tonne in 2004. Since then it has risen by £3 per year and for 2007/08 it is currently £24 per tonne. In 2008/09 the standard rate will be £32 per tonne and the inert waste rate £2.50.

However, tax credits (another buzz word favoured by the current government) are available to reduce the amount of tax payable.

The Landfill Tax Credit Scheme encourages landfill site operators to fund local community environmental projects. In simple terms, 90% of a donation to an enrolled environmental body for spending on an approved object, can be claimed against the landfill tax liability, subject to a maximum of 20% of the total tax payable in a 12 month period. (For example, if total landfill tax for a 12 month period is £100,000, the maximum tax credits claimable are £20,000 which would allow donations of £22,222, 90% of which is £20,000.)Approved objects include public parks, architecturally interesting or religious buildings, and conservation projects all in the vicinity of the landfill site.

As well as hiking up the rate of landfill tax, the government has imposed on each waste disposal authority an allowance for the amount of bio-degradable waste it may dispose of to landfill for the years 2005 to 2020. Any authority that goes over its allowance faces a penalty of £150 per tonne on top of the cost of disposing of the waste. The UK is now required under the EU Landfill Directive to reduce to 35% the amount of biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill sites by 2020, and 50% by only 2013. At present, we recycle only 37% of our waste compared to 50-60% across much of mainland Europe.

This all sounds rather gloomy but there is light on the horizon. Riding to the rescue is a set of new technologies that could dig everyone out of their landfill hole. The technologies already exist to gasify the waste and turn it into heat and power and the next few years will see a whole host of new technology companies competing to make the technology economically viable, Countrystyle being a trend setter!

The Open University household waste study

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Students from the Open University completing an ‘Environmental Control and Public Health’ course have conducted a study on 107 households in England to analyse their waste generation and disposal during 2007.

The key findings from their report shows that:

  • The average rate of waste arising from each household amounted to 18.6kg per week in 2007, compared to 13.0kg in the previous year.
  • More than 80% of households set out waste for kerbside recycling.
  • Over 50% of all waste recycled in 2007 was recycled through kerbside collections. 25% was recycled at CA sites, 13.7% at other recycling sites and the remaining 8.5% was donated to jumble sales and charity shops.
  • The majority of waste recycled by households in 2007 was packaging waste.
  • 26% of waste deposited at CA sites was garden waste, a significant drop  from the 41.8% between 2000 - 2005.
  • Waste analyses showed that food waste comprised 34.7% of the residual waste stream.

A full version of the report is available for download from:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/statistics/waste/research/index.htm

Fleet Purchase - JCB Telehandler

Monday, March 17th, 2008

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FGS Plant has just purchased a brand new Telehandler from JCB. The 535-125 has an impressive capacity/lift height of 3.5tonnes/12.3metres and its Q-fit allows operators to change between a huge choice of attachments rapidly.

Current waste wood regulations under scrutiny

Monday, March 17th, 2008

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The WRA (Wood Recyclers Association) is working in partnership with the Wood Protection Association to develop and establish ‘acceptable’ contamination levels in waste wood, based on scientific facts and evidence.

The organisation is hoping that the protocol will not only provide clarity to wood recyclers regarding the quality of their material but will also encourage the government to reassess its current regulations, taking into account the risks associated with the material.

For further information, please visit the WRA’s website at http://www.woodrecyclers.org/

UK paper collections show great promise

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

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New information presented by The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has indicated that in 2007, the UK collected in excess of 8.6 million tonnes of recovered paper, a 7.5% increase of that collected in 2006.

After a disappointing 3.4% increase on paper collections in 2006, this latest result shows encouraging growth and falls more in line with that reported in both 2005 (8.7%) and 2004 (12.8%)

Green Waste

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

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New Research commissioned by DEFRA last month has raised concerns, after the results showed that even though green waste being thrown into the rubbish bin has fallen, so to has the amount going into home composting and CA sites.

DEFRA’s report on household waste arising’s in 2007 showed that 46% of households use civic amenity sites, with garden waste continuing to be the largest category of waste deposited. It also found that since 2005, the proportion of garden waste has declined, mainly due to the increase in kerbside collections.

Overall it was found that kerbside collections are now responsible for 25% of all composted waste, with home composting responsible for 40.9% of composted waste. Out of all composted waste in 2007, garden waste represented 65.9%, compared to 32.1% of kitchen waste and 2% of paper waste.

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Compost Guide for Farmers

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

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A new guide has been published recently by WRAP that aims to provide farmers and growers with expert knowledge on the benefits of quality compost.

The booklet, entitled ‘Using Quality Compost to Benefit Crops’ provides comprehensive information about the numerous benefits of using and applying quality compost made from garden and food waste.

It also highlights the results of a variety of scientific trials on the use of compost, including one conducted on potatoes, wheat, barley and sugar beet on a number of vicinity’s across the country.

The results showed that compost increased crop yields and gave long-term improvements in soil structure.

Disappointment at 7% reduction in plastic bag use

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

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Major vendors have been instructed to achieve a ’substantial reduction’ in the number of plastic carrier bags used, after reports showed that a meagre 7% reduction had been achieved in the first year of voluntary agreement.

WRAP has said that based on data provided by retailers, the total number used by the 21 retailers in the first year of the agreement dropped by one million bags from 13.4 billion to 12.4 billion. However, the government-funded body is extremely dissatisfied with these results and has demanded more action.