From designing solutions for our customers to considering our own current and future investments in vehicles, processing equipment and technology, we apply the principles of the waste hierarchy from minimisation to recovery to ensure that together we can achieve the highest levels of environmental performance and value for money.
What is the waste heirarchy?
The waste hierarchy lists ways in which waste can be managed. The methods are sorted and prioritised according to the most environmentally friendly to the least.
Developed in the mid 70’s, the waste hierarchy was introduced in the European Waste Directive to emphasise the importance of waste minimisation and the protection of the environment.
By applying the principles of the hierarchy pyramid to any product being considered for disposal. Its aim is to reduce waste, preserve valuable resources, and reduce your environmental impact.
Since 2011 the waste hierarchy has been a legal requirement for businesses and public bodies that produce and handle waste to follow.
Resource: Article 4 of the revised Waste Framework (Directive 2008/98/EC).
Applying the principles of reduce should start with the question of “did I need to produce the material in the first place?”. Ellgia can support you in applying upstream reviews of your business and your processes that if changed, could minimise the amount of waste being produced in the first place.
The next step in the hierarchy will ask you the question of could you re-use a product rather than dispose? Could that upstream review potential effect the quality of the product used to avoid costly waste at the end, replaced with a product suitable for reuse.
With the global emphasis on recycling, although not as sustainable as reducing or reusing, recycling is critical to reducing the environmental impacts of your operations and reducing the need for natural resource consumption. Glass is 100% recyclable every time, its takes 75% less energy to manufacture a plastic bottle from a recycled one than it does to produce one from virgin material.
Waste recovery – be it through energy recovery for materials such as RDF diverts waste away from Landfill and therefore reducing the production of harmful greenhouse gases.
Recovery also carries the benefit of producing energy as a direct output of the process as opposed to landfills where items are left to decay. Plastic wastes sent to landfill can take up 1000 years to decompose in landfill – recovery processes generate energy used to power the national grid.
Finally, disposal – when none of the other principles can be applied, waste materials will need to be disposed of compliantly and safely. This is generally via a landfill site.
- 15 million tonnes of waste is sent to landfills in the UK every year
- Methane emissions from landfills are equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from more than 22 million passenger vehicles driven for one year
- Methane is 28 to 36 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 100-year period.
At Ellgia we are driven to apply the waste hierarchy in our solution design and provide zero waste to landfill solutions.
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