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‘Landfill ban’ would boost jobs and economy, Green Alliance says



Banning food, plastics, electronics and other waste materials from going to landfill could support 47,500 skilled British jobs and save billions of pounds in the economy, according to a new study.

The analysis, undertaken by the charity and thinktank the Green Alliance, also says that by reusing, remanufacturing and recycling more waste, greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the emissions from 2.7 million homes could be cut each year.

It adds that such a move would keep 19 million tonnes of waste out of landfill annually, equal to the weight of 65 full oil supertankers.

“The UK is currently burying billions of pounds of value in landfill and losing out on thousands of skilled jobs”, said Dustin Benton, head of resource stewardship at the Green Alliance.

“A change in policy would improve resource productivity and boost private sector jobs growth at a time when the economy really needs it.”

The value of all this wasted wood, textiles, food, plastic and electronics reaches at least £3.8 billion each year in the UK, the Green Alliance said.

The report argues that selling the products created through the reuse, remanufacturing and recycling of this waste would generate profit, justifying the labour required to process them. 

In order to unlock these advantages, the government would have to enforce a landfill ban and introduce better collection systems and reprocessing and remanufacturing infrastructure.

“Landfill is easy, but it makes no sense economically”, the report says.

The Green Alliance said that the importance of its report is underlined by the debate currently surrounding the future of landfills.

The Labour party has committed to a landfill ban on food waste, while a committee of Conservatives has also supported the idea. Wales is currently consulting on similar measures.

In last week’s budget, the government replaced an annual £8 escalator on landfill tax with a retail price index-linked increase, setting a standard rate from 2015/16 of £82.60 per tonne and a lower rate of £2.60 per tonne for waste that is less environmentally damaging.

Further reading:

Supermarkets commit to reporting food waste figures

Campaign aims to end food waste from landfill by 2020

Wales meets recycling targets while rest of UK lags behind

Food waste decreases – but Britons are still throwing away 24 meals a month