Climate change is now a climate emergency.
The concern for the environmental stability of our planet has never been higher. A rebellion has risen and war has been declared. Extinction Rebellion a socio-political movement dedicated to raising awareness of the unprecedented global emergency that is the climate emergency, and War On Plastic with Hugh and Anita a new series on BBC1 exploring the devastating effects of single-use plastics and what power us mere mortals can have to make a difference.
In light of this, the need to reduce plastic waste that goes to landfill is evident. For years, the construction industry has used single-use polythene packaging for the delivery of building materials to construction sites. Once delivered and unloaded the polythene packaging is discarded into unreliable recycling streams, resulting in much of this waste simply ending up in a landfill.
There are numerous effects of landfills on the environment including air pollution. The World Health Organisation has declared air pollution a “public health emergency, with more than 90% of the global population being exposed to toxic outdoor air.
This declaration is supported in a comprehensive new review by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies’ Environmental Committee, detailing how air pollution poses a great risk to health and may be damaging every organ and cell within the human body, resulting in an increased risk of dementia, heart and lung disease, fertility problems and reduced intelligence.
An estimated two-thirds of landfill waste contains biodegradable organic matter from households, business and industry. As this material decomposes, it releases methane gas. As a potent greenhouse gas, methane traps up to 20 times more heat in the atmosphere compared with carbon dioxide. Landfill sites can also be responsible for groundwater pollution. When rain falls on landfill sites, organic and inorganic components dissolve, creating highly toxic chemicals that leach into groundwater.
To do our part to help reduce plastic waste to landfill, we have been working with one of our construction customers to reduce their plastic consumption and the level of plastic waste generated at their construction sites. To achieve this we’ve utilised the latest manufacturing technology and processes to reduce the thickness of the polythene packaging by 22% which is a reduction in usage equal to 20 tonnes a year, without compromising load stability or pack presentation. Also, we have supplied an additional trial to save a further 14% at this site.