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Particulates Matter: Are emissions from incinerators safe to breathe?
December 2019 Analysis of answers to Parliamentary Questions about particulate matter emitted by municipal waste incinerators reveals misleading statements made by the Government about the health dangers posed by waste incinerators. Government Ministers omitted important caveats and provided incomplete information. By focussing their attention on the mass of particles released by incinerators instead of the number of particles released by incinerators the Government is failing to do their utmost to protect the public.
This briefing, launched in partnership with the UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) and Zero Waste Europe, explores the environmental performance of Carpet Recycling UK, a trade association founded by carpet manufacturers in the UK in 2008, with the goal of increasing landfill diversion. While the organisation has increased landfill diversion from 2% in 2008 to 44% in 2018, this report reveals that 73% of this diversion is incineration, at an approximate annual climate cost of £16.5 million to UK society. A further 22% of diverted carpet is shredded and used for equestrian arenas, while just 2% is recycled back into a non-shredded product from carpet fibres, and less than 1% is reused. This briefing exposes both a severe case of greenwash and the failure of voluntary industry initiatives to drive the transition towards circular economy. It calls on the UK government to implement Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation to shift the carpet industry towards green design and carpet-to-carpet recycling, and away from incineration, with its high climate costs. The briefing calls on CRUK and its members to join other progressive manufacturers and publicly support mandatory EPR to close the loop on the carpet industry.
Download the 'Smoke and Mirrors' report