From Waste to Resource
Authors: Philippe Chalmin, Catherine Gaillochet
From Waste to Resource – a study into the global waste industry which details information about the landfilling habits of countries around the world – is the result of a collaboration between waste management, recovery and recycling megalith Veolia Environmental Services, and European research institute CyclOpe, which deals with raw material and commodity markets.
As well as looking at the practicalities of waste management it also looks at the different waste philosophies, countries have and what affects them, like the strong link between gross domestic product (GDP) and waste arisings. The study found that those in developed countries produced an average of 1.4 kilogrammes (kg) of waste per capita per day, whereas developing countries only produced 0.6kg of waste.
The study estimates that at present the world produces four billion tonnes of waste a year, not including waste from construction, mining, and agriculture. That’s the equivalent of world production of grain and steel combined. What is shocking, and clearly needs to be rectified is that of this, only a quarter is thought to be recycled, composted, or used to produce energy.
For those out there with heads for statistics, the study provides an interesting read on how the current economic climate is affecting recycling rates and the general trend of higher levels of waste being used as a resource.
It isn’t any good for light reading, but it is useful to those in the industry. The book provides lots of information in a very presentable format with a nation-by-nation breakdown of policies and statistics, and how they’ve changed over time.
It’s based on a very similar survey done under the same name in 2006 and is a revealing glimpse into the way the waste industry has changed globally. Just don’t expect to be entertained.