DEFRA floats broad landfill ban

The Environment Department (DEFRA) is considering banning all biodegradable and recyclable wastes from landfill, according to today‘s waste strategy

"Subject to further analysis and consultation", measures to further restrict the disposal of biodegradable and recyclable waste in landfill will be introduced, says the strategy. This could include a ban.

The strategy, which applies to England, focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from waste disposal. Landfilled biodegradable waste accounts for 3% of UK greenhouse gas emissions.

Other measures in the strategy include:

  • Targets to recycle or compost 40% of household waste by 2010 and 50% by 2020. These are the same as those proposed last year, in spite of calls by NGOs for a target of 75% by 2015.
  • A new waste minimisation target. This requires the amount of household waste not re-used, recycled or composted to be reduced from 22.2 million tonnes in 2000 to 12.2 million by 2020 – a reduction of 45%.
  • Local authorities will be given the power to variably charge for the collection of household waste. However, any scheme “will have to return all revenues raised back to local residents”. A consultation on this has been issued alongside the strategy.
  • The strategy also sets out DEFRA’s view that the separate collection of food waste needs to be increased “to boost composting and anaerobic digestion”. It says food waste collections should occur weekly.

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