One person’s rubbish is another person’s gold… which is why Just Clear is committed to a zero-to-landfill policy. We want to keep as much of our work out of rubbish dumps as we can. And where there’s a will, there’s a way…
‘Rubbish’ is a subjective noun. Take old sofas for instance. We operate a sofa disposal service, doing our utmost to find homes for unwanted furniture. Community housing projects, for example, can often use old sofas to furnish homes for refugees or asylum seekers.
We also ensure that the rest of the waste we collect goes to professional recycling facilities, making us the first house company in the UK to become zero waste to landfill.
Why is so important to keep waste out of landfill?
In the UK, we send approximately 7.7 million tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste to landfill (2016 figures), which means the UK is still on track to meet EU targets to restrict such waste landfilled to 35 percent of the 1995 baseline level by 2020.
However, sticking to that target requires individuals and businesses to keep working hard to reduce what gets thrown away. Landfill sites are problematic because they generate the so-called greenhouse gases when biodegradable materials break down.
When paper, food scraps, grass clippings and other materials that rot are buried deep in the ground, they decay in an anaerobic environment. This generates methane, a greenhouse gas that warms the climate.
Landfill sites also generate toxic air emissions. We’re all familiar with the smell of mass waste (urgh!). The wind can carry toxic air as far as five miles from a landfill site. And then there’s groundwater contamination, thanks to leachate, which enters the water and soil, and can kill fish life and animals drinking the water nearby.
Landfill sites also end up littered with plastic packaging. Plastic recycling isn’t yet universal. There are many kinds of plastic, some of which can’t be broken down and recycled. Policies such as the charge on single-use plastic bags have helped reduce plastic usage enormously, but the packaging is still a significant issue in the UK. Debate now centres on charges for plastic bottles to force drinks manufacturers to limit their production.
Brendan O’Shea, founder and director of Just Clear, said: “When we decided to put in place a zero-to-landfill policy, we knew the way to make it work was to involve all our staff. We explained what we wanted to do and asked them for ideas of how to do it.
“Our employees are passionate about sustainability and environmental issues, so we found they put forward useful suggestions, ones we were able to use that created the house clearance system we now have.
“The knock-on effect is that we’re able to pass our recycling knowledge and expertise on to customers when we are out. They want to know more about what we do and how we keep so much of the waste we collect out of landfill.
“Obviously, this gets us more business from environmentally conscious organisations and individuals. But I also believe the knowledge-sharing has profound effects in local communities, as we can share our practices and pass on ideas.”
To find out more about our house clearance services, please call us on 0345 319 8000 for a free instant quote.