BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 1 April 2005, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Is the UK's waste manageable?

BBC Two's If... The Toxic Timebomb Goes Off explores how the pressures of safe waste disposal are increasing, leading to a rise in organised crime and threats to human health.

"E-waste", which includes fridges, is all hazardous to health
How should we deal with reduced numbers of landfill sites - are incinerators a viable alternative?

And how can we prevent a new breed of mafia-style criminals from taking over the market, and escalating an environmental and health crisis?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC. The e-mails published reflect the balance of opinion received.

I have always found the best way to solve a problem is not to have it the first place. While we continually enclose products in masses of packaging that is thrown away as soon as we get it home and when it is cheaper to buy 'new' rather than repair 'old', we will always have these problems. Establishing new methods of waste disposal is a sign of failure; the waste should have not been made in the first place. Come on, people, we have brains, let us use them.
Mike, UK

Until they start accepting plastic for recyling, I will not recycle. This is taking into consideration the fact that 70% or so of all waste is PLASTIC.
Richard, UK

A politically sensitive issue certainly, especially considering the solution may already have been available to us for quite a few years: depolymerization. This is a process that converts literally everything that contains carbon into, among other useful things, oil. No waste is produced. The problem is, this would have the oil-producing nations and other stakeholders up in arms. But if the government wants a clear and "clean" answer to today's waste management problems, this is most likely it.
Carl Vincent, New York, USA

Producers or distributers of TVs, fridges etc should, by law, be induced - for each new item they sell - to take the waste back for recycling to sites which should be set up at their own expense. Which means that industrial plants producing those items should be ordered to organise their industrial processes accordingly. Higher final costs would of course be inevitable and the consumers would eventually pay for them.
Mr Luigi Felici, Italy

It is important to note that recycling is a very energy-intensive process when it means moving rubbish all around the country (or to the UK, in Ireland's case). Far better to incinerate it and generate some energy. In the case of paper and wood this is essentially biofuel and provides energy with zero net CO2 emissions. The problems of pollulant levels from incinerators is grossly exaggerated by those ideologically obsessed with recycling.
Bruce, Dublin, Ireland

An incinerator is a troglodyte alternative that will create more problems than it can effectively solve. Waste is manageable and it could create thousands of jobs, provided the authorities are willing to use existing expertise. Organic products can all be reprocessed. Inorganic products can also be reprocessed as prime materials and this is exactly what some countries like China are doing recovering metals to be re-used. Britain is far behind in this area because, as usual, it is very slow to react and it will only do so when faced with a huge crisis.
Carlos Cortiglia, London, United Kingdom

Simple, make the manufacturers shoulder the cost of recycling.
Steven, Shropshire

If the law was given powers to stop criminals rather than more red tape, then we should have no problems. Considering we are one of the most wasteful countries, we all need to do something, not just the waste disposal people.
Tom, Middlesbrough

Waste management in the world must be united. It begins with education targeted to everyone at the same time. A united front in protecting the environment is a must because we all share it.
Kevin, USA

The best programme I have seen on the BBC for a long time. Every MP, local councillor, adult and child should be made to view this very informative programme on where we are heading.
Stevan Broadhurst, Belper

If... the BBC stops making science fiction masquerading as fact.
Nigel Macdonald, Camborne

Excellent "toxic timebomb".
Fatima, Oxford


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific