Thursday, 3 October 2013

With a bit of joined up thinking councils could conserve aggregates, divert material from landfill and save millions of pounds too

Is anyone else surprised - shocked even - that the grits and aggregates from road salt and road dressings, a large part of road sweepings and gully waste, are typically landfilled?

Across the UK, it has been conservatively estimated that some 370,000 tonnes of such material goes to landfill each year. The landfill tax alone for this amount, £80/tonne in 2014, would cost councils £30m, and with potential cost implications from new Environment Agency guidance ‘Recovery of Street Sweepings and Gully Emptyings’, some question whether councils can afford not to recycle such waste from now on.

In Europe, sweepings and gully waste are commonly recycled, and in 2012 Warwickshire County Council installed a recycling plant in Wolverhampton to work in conjunction with six other authorities. It will recycle around 40,000 tonnes of road sweepings and gully waste each year at half the cost of landfill, with the aggregates obtained being used either in construction or remixed with rock salt for use on roads in the winter.

Councils are looking for ways to save money. Here's a way to save money and landfill and aggregates. What's stopping them?