As Landfill Tax soars – recycling represents better value than ever

Filed in Blog by on March 31, 2009 11 Comments
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landfill tax means more recycling

This is all such a waste

Well my friends, you’re certainly out gathering the information for the site this week! Yesterday Carole dished the latest on her council and their policy on recycling tetrapaks.

Last week, this document landed in my inbox. According to the headline, landfill tax is set to soar, so it appears that recycling represents better value than ever!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Press Release. I still feel that recycling is treating the symptoms and we need to find ways to PREVENT having so much STUFF to dispose of in the first place. But as long as recycling is supported and encouraged it can provide ‘closed loop’ solutions and is the easier option for most householders.

The ambiguous line “We need a solution to this problem which is not only less harmful to the environment, but much more cost effective” did concern me a little, because we all know that incineration is a possible ‘solution to this problem’. But we have to remain positive, right?

So have a read and tell me what you think! Are we going to celebrate or stay cautious?

The cost of burying waste in the ground increases on Wednesday April 1st by £8 to £40 per tonne.

Although some recyclables are now worth less because of the economic downturn, it’s still much better value for taxpayers’ money to recycle and compost as much waste as possible, rather than landfill it.

Based on projected figures, the Landfill Tax bill for the new financial year could reach 6.8 million pounds – an extra 1.4 million pounds compared to the previous year.

In addition to this, councils are facing fines of £150 for every tonne of biodegradable waste above the permitted allowance that is buried underground, and this allowance reduces year on year.

Councillor Stan Waddington, Cabinet member for the Environment at Gloucestershire County Council said: “The latest Landfill Tax rise only increases the need to find alternatives to landfill.  We need a solution to this problem which is not only less harmful to the environment, but much more cost effective.

“This Landfill Tax ‘escalator’ is putting huge pressure on council budgets.  With another £8 increase due in April 2010, Landfill Tax will have doubled in just 3 years.

“Unfortunately the government isn’t handing this money back, so local councils can invest in recycling.  In Gloucestershire we are aiming to recycle and compost at least 60 per cent of household waste by 2020.  However in order to achieve this we need to increase the range of recyclable and compostable materials that are collected door to door within the County.”

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (11)

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  1. sandy says:

    it is the manufactures that we need to lobby, to get them to reduce there packaging, why all this plastic when we dont need it, when I was small my mum bought her tea in a paper bag, which my grandad put on the compost, surley this is easy. I can also remember her buying every thing loose, (ok I am 60) I am lucky enough to life near a weekly market, I am now trying to buy like this but it is difficult and time consuming. so surley we should be lobbying our MP’s as well, what do you think ?

  2. Sarah says:

    I heard about a story in the Telegraph, that my Mum remembered reading, that there are places in the UK (she wasn’t sure where) where there are warehouses filled with our “recycled” plastic that no-one wants. Some used to be shipped to the far east, where there was a market for it but they no longer want it. Some was recycled here, but again it’s now surplus to requirements.

    I am seeing more and more that Recycling simply isn’t the answer any longer. We need to work on the Reducing and stop the waste before it starts. It has to come from the roots, from the big businesses that pile so much unnecessary packaging onto everything we buy.

  3. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Recycling has real value when best practice is achieved throughout the UK. That must be the aim, with no buck-passing.

    Meanwhile, as Sarah rightly says Reduce is the consumers main weapon in dealing with unsustainable waste. Reduce in this case means finding Zero Waste alternatives for every item. A difficult task but the more items we find the greater the pressure on waste.

  4. Reduce is the main item here that should be on the Governments agenda, which will mean taxing the manufacturers of surplus packaging, for all packaging that is “in excess”.

    “In excess” is I know an open ended statement because one persons excess is anothers not enough, but things could be taken back a few years so that all goods that have natural packaing are sold that way, shops should go back to cutting cheese from a block not selling pre-pack.

    Alot of cheaper goods which are heavily overpackaged are imported thus reducing the amount of local produce which is sold, which is a whole other ball game.

    There should be a National directive, for reduction and recycling of waste, so that by the time our grandchildren are here it should be “normal” to only have recyclable waste and no landfill waste.

  5. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Over at LetsRecycle it was good to see business highlight Recycle/Reduce/Reuse in one of today’s topics. A sting in in the tail was incineration sneaked in at the bottom of the article.

    I find it galling that in discussions about sustainability/close loop matters this Chain of Waste component is linked-in. Again I ask, what is sustainable about 25 years production of toxic fly ash?

  6. Carole Blake says:

    Talking about incinerators, here’s a nice piece of heartwarming news, Cornwall County Council, after months of protests by Cornish people, backed up with plenty of scientific evidence, have voted a resounding NO to an incinerator at St Dennis, a village in the heart of Cornish Clay Country.



  7. Carole Blake says:

    There’s a lot of reading in that page, as it’s from the protest group website, but you can see from there the scale of the protests. It has occupied many inches of news columns in our local papers for many months.


  8. John Costigane says:

    @Carole Blake: Carole, That is a positive result and is very welcome to the community. It is good to see locals raising objections and being heard.

    The decision is subject to appeal so stay vigilant. There have been numerous “tricks” by the pro-lobby in other parts of the country.

    The truth is that EfW is the beloved of many, including vested interests, and they will push hard to achieve their “dream” solution, even against popular opposition.

  9. Layla says:

    Carole, that is soo good to hear!! YAY!! 🙂

    I agree with John, vigilance is needed, & continued efforts in this, am so happy for people there!! 🙂

    I agree reduce would be best..
    Just saw a great film ‘A farm for the future’ by a british filmmaker Rebecca Hoskings & googled her, it seems she herself has launched the ‘no plastic bags’ local campaign, & it resonated elsewhere & in ‘the higher circles too!!’

    Maybe something like this could be done for other stuff too? 🙂

  10. Layla says:

    Oops, that’s Rebecca Hosking
    and this is an interview with her:

    I wonder if she made the video that inspired Mrs Green too? 🙂

  11. Mrs Green says:

    @sandy: Hi sandy, I think lobbying people from all parts of the picture is important. Yes, consumers have a responsibility, but like you point out, it’s hard to do this without the support of manufacturers and MPs. I try never to ‘blame’ one part of the chain, but prefer that we work together towards a common goal.

    @Sarah: Hi Sarah, I have read that too, but then I read something that is contradictory to that information – who to believe?! We too feel that getting to the root of the issue; ie the amount of waste we produce is the way forward.

    @John Costigane: Hi John, isn’t it great that between us we are finding more and more items that are zero waste? I find that very exciting and the trend can only move forward from here 🙂

    I know what you mean about a slow trickle of ‘normalising’ incineration. We’ll have to see how that stretches out over the next couple of years.

    @maisie dalziel: Hi Maisie; great comment; thank you for sharing your thoughts. Interesting that you pick up on one person’s ‘excess’ being another’s ‘not enough’ – that is so true!

    @Carole Blake: Carole, what a wonderful campaign, with a successful outcome. i’m so pleased to see stories like this gaining media attention. Around here, it seems we prefer to complain about things rather than get the job done. Well done to everyone involved in this campaign; it is indeed, heartwarming to see the ‘power of the people’ making significant change.

    @Layla: Hi Layla, the Greens sat around the computer a few weeks ago and saw this wonderful film. Rebecca Hosking is an amazing woman who has done much for the environment. I have great admiration for her and her campaigning. The plastic bag-free town was just incredible and now she is searching for answers to the future of farming. A very cool lady 🙂

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