Solving Cities

British city aims for zero waste

British city aims for zero waste

Posting in Cities

In three years, one British city plans to send no waste to a landfill. But does no landfill waste mean no impact?

Is it possible for a city to keep all its waste out of the landfill?

The British city of Bristol thinks it's possible. And they say it will only take three years to reach their goal.

Currently, the city takes in 176,000 tonnes of waste each year. About 38 percent of the waste is recycled and the rest goes to the landfill. But not for long.

Starting in June, about 53,000 tonnes will go to a new mechanical biological treatment facility where the waste is turned into a fuel and a compostable byproduct is produced.

The rest of the waste will go to a new materials recovery facility where it will be further recycled or turned into fuel. By 2013, the city plans for all waste to go to one of these facilities and no waste will go to the landfill.

As Treehugger points out, though, just because there's no landfill waste doesn't mean there will be no impact.

In a move that will likely raise concerns among many environmentalists worried about air pollution, whatever waste can not be recycled will be shredded, bailed and transported abroad for incineration in waste-to-energy plants.

While it's no silver bullet, the best news might be that the city is producing less waste in general. According to the city's Councillor, Gary Hopkins:

We have already seen a major reduction in our waste in the last couple of years from 204,000 tonnes in 2003-4 to 176,000 this year, thanks to recycling innovations such as our successful communal bins schemes and extensions to our kerbside recycling services.

How does your city deal with waste?

Photo: lisabatty/Flickr

[Via Treehugger]

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure