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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 March 2005, 17:08 GMT
Waste: Facts behind the fiction
All the drama-documentaries in the IF series are based on rigorous journalism and research.

Here are just some facts surrounding the issues of waste.

  • IF... THE TOXIC TIME BOMB GOES OFF
    BBC Two
    Thursday, 31 March, 2005
    1900 BST

    In the UK we produce enough waste to fill the Albert Hall every hour. That is 430 million tons of waste every year.
    (Sources: Environment Agency, and "Future Perfect" - Biffa Waste Management)

  • Today it costs 36 per ton to dump waste in landfill sites. By 2015 this will treble.
    (Source: Biffa Waste Management)

  • A modern incinerator burning for one year produces the same amount of dioxin as an average garden fire burning for one day.
    (Source: Onyx Waste Management)

  • There are 15 municipal waste incinerators in England and Wales which burn about 3.1 million tons of waste a year. They all produce electricity to a combined total of about 216 MW. This equates to the needs of around 350,000 households. If we were to burn all the municpal waste we produce, we could generate enough electricity for about 3.5 million households.
    (Source: Environment Agency)

  • Since tighter regulations concerning landfill were introduced in the summer of 2004, an estimated 2.5 million tons on hazardous waste sent for costly and safe buriel is yet to be accounted for.
    (Sources: Biffa Waste Management, Chris Coggins)

  • The only kind of waste that can be legally exported from Britain for disposal is material that can be reprocessed, such as mobile phones. This is called e-waste.
    (Source: Environment Agency)

  • In the UK we throw away at least 1 million tons of electronic equipment a year, including 2.5 million fridges and 5 million television sets. It is estimated this figure could be growing by as much as 80,000 tons a year.
    (Source: Environment Agency)

  • Rubbish is illegally dumped, or fly-tipped, in England every 35 seconds. This costs authorities almost 100 a minute to clear up.
    (Source: Environment Agency)

  • The average cost of transport and disposal of hazardous waste has quadrupled in the past two years.
    (Source: Biffa Waste Management)

  • It is estimated that in the last year the eco-mafia in Europe has made more than 90 billion in trafficking waste.
    (Source: - Italian environmental organisation)

  • In the UK we recycle 17% of our waste. Some European countries recylce 60% of their waste.
    (Sources: Defra, and Friends of the Earth)



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