It will come as no shock to you right now to learn that our Landfill sights are nearing the point of bursting. The world is creating too much rubbish for the amount of space we have to bury it, and we simply cannot continue this way.
What sparked the inspiration for this article was the recently released video by environmental organisation Greenpeace (see video). It was revealed the sheer amount of plastic rubbish the UK claims to recycle, yet instead is sent overseas.
The video is truly shocking – I highly recommend watching it before continuing to read. A BBC article further explained how the UK has been investigated, revealing plastic waste is being sent to Turkey. With it being burnt and dumped in the ground not recycled.
“The UK generates more plastic rubbish per person than any other country apart from the US”
The revelations poses an awful lot of questions, but the one I am going to focus on today is the title of this post “As our land fills, where will our rubbish go then?”.
In the UK it is estimated that our landfill sights will be full by 2024, a mere 3 years away. With around 2 billion tonnes of rubbish been throw away globally each year. It’s both shocking and a scary prospect, as the waste that is compiled in the ground releases Methane gases. A gas that contributes to the warming of the planet, worse than CO2. With this, the waste is also harmful to biodiversity.
The Alternatives to Landfill
With modern technologies and big thinkers wanting to curb the problem, there are a number of alternatives being created to turn our trash into treasure (as it were) creating good from bad.
Alternatives include the obvious, recycling. By creating and packaging more items that can be endlessly recycled, for example aluminum, it can divert waste from heading to landfill. I, of course, mean the waste truly being recycled. Also there is the obvious low waste lifestyle of buying package-free items, being even more desirable. But can be at a higher price point, so not accessible to the masses.
Technologies are being developed in the form of using household waste to create energy. Although some have come under fire for still creating CO2 emissions, there are examples of companies who are curbing this problem with a recent UK Hydrogen project being approved which is turning biomethane from food waste into zero-carbon fuel to power cars. These types of projects can be seen globally and may offer an answer to the problem. But, would be the case of Governments needing billions to fund them…
Several Green Bills are being put forward to tackle the growing waste problem. With President Biden promising to be a ‘Climate Champion’ with a re-signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, the agreement being something people are arguing needs its own plastic pollution bill altogether.
Once our landfills, quite simply there will have to be alternatives. As there simply won’t be any more space to fit our waste. Organisations need to tackle the waste they are creating in the goods they sell and governments. Shamefully like the UK, need to tackle the waste problem they have (not send it to another country to deal with).
There are developing technologies to curb the issue and a change in attitude to the waste we consume. It may be a matter of “time will tell” as to how exactly the world deals with it….