Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Landfill research will help cut waste

New research commissioned by Defra has found that banning some materials from landfill in countries around the world may mean that as little as 1 per cent of waste ends up in landfill.

The research will help inform possible future proposals to ban some materials from landfill in England. Other research is underway into how such bans could work in this country, what infrastructure and resources would be needed, and what the impact would be.

In a speech in June, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said:

‘Take food, glass, aluminium or wood – why would you put any of them into landfill when they can be recycled, or used to make energy? What sort of a society would throw away aluminium cans worth £550 a tonne when aluminium producers are crying out for the raw material?’

The research on bans in other countries was carried out by Green Alliance and looked at how similar bans have worked in Austria, Flanders, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Massachusetts in the USA. It showed, for example, that the amount of waste sent to landfill in Germany reduced from 27 per cent to 1 per cent after a landfill ban was introduced for some materials, such as paper and card. This was alongside a range of other measures to boost recycling.

In light of this research a public consultation will be held in the next few months on banning certain materials from landfill in England. The timing of any bans will be an important part of this consultation and has not yet been decided.

Further information

Page last modified: 08 September 2009
Page published: 08 September 2009

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