A recent survey has revealed that over 2m tonnes of waste from commercial and industrial businesses is generated on average each year across the North East and highlighted a number of opportunities for future growth
The North East Sustainable Resources Board, the organisation formed to champion and improve resource management opportunities in the region, commissioned the research to provide key data for investors and to assist strategic planning.
A national survey commissioned by Defra last year included data from the North East, however, the Board extended the survey to dedicated focus on the region in view of its remit to support and ensure to greater resource recovery.
Over 1,000 businesses from 12 different sectors including agriculture, construction, mining and quarrying, among others, participated in the North East England Commercial and Industrial Waste Survey and the findings were combined with those collated for the region in the Defra survey.
The findings showed that the largest proportion of waste, 893,421 tonnes, arose in Tyne & Wear and the chemical manufacturing sector was the largest contributor, generating over 15 percent of the total tonnage, followed by the retail and wholesale sector that generated 323,823 tonnes.
The most common waste type arising was mixed wastes, which tends to be the residual waste left after segregation for recycling and mostly goes to landfill. The next most common was non-metallic waste, which accounted for 439,890 tonnes and includes key recyclables such as paper, card, plastics, metals, textiles and glass.
Currently 33 percent of the region's waste is sent to landfill, 35 percent is recycled and other methods such as reuse, composting and land-spreading accounted for 1,059,568 tonnes of the waste arising in the region, with an additional 178,288 tonnes being used for energy recovery or thermal treatment.
Investing In The Future Of Waste
A key issue arising from the survey will be identifying the opportunities for future investment in waste and resource recovery such as the resources currently being sent to landfill, which could be recovered for re-use, recycling and energy production.
The survey was funded by ANEC and ONE North East and is the first survey of its kind conducted in the region. It will shape and inform potential future investment into new waste and resource management infrastructure is considered vital to the region's long-term strategic waste planning.
Helen Watson, North East sustainable resources board coordinator, says: "The report and its findings represent one of the most crucial pieces of work the Board has undertaken and the level of support and interest from participating businesses and organisations was particularly encouraging.
"Our report and its extensive data will prove invaluable to waste planners and policy developers in the region in scoping the use of the region's resources in the future. Moreover, we hope to continue to update the current data in order to provide a clear overview of the resource management opportunities available in terms of commercial and industrial waste and provide support to projects associated with improving and enhancing current management models, such as the pending resource management plan, which the Board is developing this year."
For a copy of the report please visit www.nesrb.org.uk