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Commercial and industrial waste (C&I)

In 2001, C&I waste accounted for 25% of total waste generated in the South West (Environment Agency, 2000a), compared to MSW (13%). It accounted for approximately 54% of the materials & waste ecological footprint in 2001, 20% of the total South West resident's ecological footprint .

A national UK target of 85% of C&I waste to be recovered was set in the Waste Strategy 2000 for England and Wales (DEFRA, 2000). However, at a regional level, a target of 17% of C&I waste to be landfilled is suggested (see policy 7.6 in SWRA, 2004c).

A number of C&I waste scenarios were developed, including some based on the waste management options presented in the Developing a Regional Waste Strategy for the South West Regional Assembly (SWRA 2003b) technical report. Not all of these are presented here, but the remainder can be found in Additional Information.

Base case

To provide a benchmark against which to gauge the ecological performance of the commercial and industrial waste (C&I) scenarios, the following base case assumptions were made:

  • The composition of C&I waste is constant in all C&I scenarios. The Developing a Regional Waste Strategy for the South West Regional Assembly : Phases 1-3 (SWRA 2003a) technical report uses separate compositions for inert and non-inert components of the C&I waste stream. These have been combined here to create one overall waste composition for C&I waste (Table 17).
  • Only 1998/99 C&I data was available (Environment Agency, 2000a). The Environment Agency's original C&I total (5.2 million tonnes) included some Construction & Demolition (C&D) waste. This has been removed here as it was accounted for in the C&D waste (Symonds Group, 2003). Therefore, 2001 C&I waste arisings were assumed to be 1.03 tonnes per person.
  • In 1998/99, 56% of C&I waste was sent to landfill, 31% was recycled or composted, 9% was used to produce energy and 5% was re-used (SWRA, 2003a). These proportions were assumed for 2001.
Table 17
Base case commercial and industrial waste generated in the South West, by product type, in 2001
 
  Inert Non-inert Notes C&I total
Total C&I arisings 2% 98%   100%
of which …  
Paper & card 2% 21%   21%
Plastic 7% 3%   3%
Other combustibles   11% Chemicals, contaminated & healthcare 11%
Other non-combustible 6%   includes asphalt <1%
Glass   3%   3%
Putrescibles 38% 27% Food, other general & biodegradable waste, timber. Includes concrete 27%
Metals 4% 12% Metals & scrap 12%
Fine material 42% 11% Soil, mineral wastes and residues & inert 12%
Other waste 1% 12%   12%
Note: Asphalt is included in 'other non-combustibles' and concrete is included in 'putrescibles' because these categories have the appropriate values for ecological footprint per tonne.
Source: SWRA, 2003a

The ecological footprint of C&I waste in the South West in 2001 was 1.13 gha per person.

Scenario 1: Business as usual

This scenario is based on Option 0 (SWRA, 2003b) and illustrates the ecological footprint with no change in current C&I waste production and management in the South West between 2001 and 2020.

Assumptions:

  • 2020 waste arisings of 1,140 kg per person.
  • Commercial waste growth of:
    • 2001 – 2006, 3.5% per year,
    • 2007-2015 growth declines towards zero,
    • 2016-2020 zero growth (SWRA, 2003a).
  • Industrial waste actually reduces by 1% per annum (SWRA, 2003a).
  • In 2020, 56% of C&I waste is sent to landfill, 31% is recycled or composted, 9% is used to produce energy and 5% is re-used (SWRA, 2003a).

This scenario gives an ecological footprint for C&I waste in 2020 of 1.25 gha per person, an increase of 0.12 gha (11%) on the base case.

Scenario 2: Regional landfill reduction targets

This scenario uses the target identified in the regional policy RE5: Management and Transportation of Waste (GOSW & DTLR, 2003) to reduce landfilling of C&I waste to 85% of the 1998 level by 2005. No further reduction in landfilling is assumed to 2020. Waste to energy schemes remain at 2001 levels (SWRA, 2003a).

Assumptions:

  • 2020 waste arisings of 1,140 kg per person – as in Scenario 1.
  • In 2020, 47% of C&I waste is sent to landfill, 33% is recycled or composted, 9% is used to produce energy and 11% is re-used (SWRA, 2003a, 2003b).

This scenario gives an ecological footprint for C&I waste in 2020 of 1.15 gha per person, an increase of 0.02 gha (<2%) on the base case.

Scenario 3: Increased waste recovery and waste to energy

This scenario is based on Options 4 and 5 (SWRA, 2003b) as C&I waste management in the same in these options – unlike the MSW waste stream. This scenario gained the best score of all the different waste management options according to the sustainability appraisal used in the technical report Developing A Regional Waste Strategy for the South West Regional Assembly (SWRA, 2003b).

Assumptions:

  • 2020 waste arisings of 1,140 kg per person – as in Scenario 1.
  • In 2020, 17% of C&I waste is sent to landfill, 56% is recycled or composted, 15% is used to produce energy and 11% is re-used (see policy 7.6 in SWRA, 2003b).

This scenario gives an ecological footprint for C&I waste in 2020 of 0.98 gha per person, a reduction of 0.15 gha (13%) on the base case.

Scenario 4: Increased waste recovery, waste to energy and waste minimisation

This scenario is based on Options 4 and 5 (SWRA, 2003b), like Scenario 3, but in addition also assumes Environment Agency (Thomas & Iles, 2004) reported waste minimization for certain industrial sectors, including non-ferrous metals, paper and pulp, textiles and food and drink.

Assumptions:

  • 2020 waste arisings of 773 kg per person. Total C&I waste reduces by 1.5% per annum, following the Environment Agency findings for certain sectors (Thomas & Iles, 2004).
  • In 2020, 17% of C&I waste is sent to landfill, 56% is recycled or composted, 15% is used to produce energy and 11% is re-used (see policy 7.6 in SWRA, 2003b).

This scenario gives an ecological footprint for C&I waste in 2020 of 0.66 gha per person, a reduction of 0.47 gha (41%) on the base case.

Scenario 5: One planet lifestyle

This scenario is an attempt to meet environmental sustainability criteria. The criterion used for this scenario is the 'earthshare', taken from the National Footprint Accounts (Redefining Progress 2002), which assumes the human race lives within the natural limits of our planet. With the current ecological footprint of a South West resident at 5.56 gha/person, an overall reduction of 66% is required to meet the earthshare criterion.

This scenario illustrates what further measures would be required to achieve environmentally sustainable C&I waste management in the South West. This scenario uses the same waste management regime as Scenario 3, and also reduces the amount of waste produced beyond that reported by the Environment Agency (Thomas & Iles, 2004).

Assumptions:

  • 2020 waste arisings of 447 kg per person: a C&I waste reduction of 4.3% each year for 20 years (to 2020), almost tripling the Environment Agency findings for certain sectors (Thomas & Iles, 2004).
  • In 2020, 17% of C&I waste is sent to landfill, 56% is recycled or composted, 15% is used to produce energy and 11% is re-used (see policy 7.6 in SWRA, 2003b).

This scenario gives an ecological footprint for C&I waste in 2020 of 0.38 gha per person, a reduction of 0.75 gha (66%) on the base case. This is a reduction by weight of 56%, 583 kg per person less than the base case.

Reduction of the ecological footprint

The C&I waste scenarios display possible variations in the estimated C&I waste ecological footprint for 2020 , achievable through changes in waste arisings and management technologies. Figure 9 shows the ecological footprint for the 2001 base case and each of the C&I waste scenarios.

As with the municipal solid waste scenarios, those that included waste minimisation and waste management options gave the greatest reduction in the ecological footprint. Scenario 5: One planet lifestyle is the only scenario that meets the earthshare criterion for C&I waste (0.39 gha per person). It goes beyond the options developed for the Developing a Regional Waste Strategy for the South West Regional Assembly (SWRA 2003b) technical report and requires almost tripling the waste minimisation rate reported by the Environment Agency (Thomas & Iles, 2004) for certain sectors.

Figure 9
Commercial and industrial waste base case and scenario ecological footprints for the South West, in 2020

fig 9