International Regulation, Comparative and Contextual Perspectives
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Chapter 1: Introduction
The genesis of this book was nearly 30 years ago when I had a part-time job on a rubbish truck, gathering all types of waste from a middle-class neighbourhood and disposing of it at a local landfill. I got the job as the rubbish business was expanding and more ‘runners’ were required, as greater amounts of garbage were being generated in the community. At the time, I was struck not by the fact that the owner of the business had made a fortune in waste management, but by the realisation that the trash we collected was dumped into landfill that spilled into the harbour. It spilled into the harbour because after having taken waste for more than five decades, the site was hopelessly over-packed, poorly designed and lacking in pollution controls. The recycling, which was meant to be achieved to divert waste from landfill, was a ruse, with large sections of the glass and paper being dumped along with all sorts of other waste, ranging from old food to unwanted consumer appliances. Very little was being sorted, despite the promises made to the well-intentioned community who had a large degree of trust that their waste was being safely and correctly disposed of. In fact, the only effective recycling being done was by a clever entrepreneur who was coming into the dump each week to pick up the large amounts of copper that the Navy was disposing of on a regular basis.