The 2020 Conservatives group, which is developing ideas for the party’s election manifesto, said that recycling such items would also generate a further £2.5bn.

A report from the group, which was published today (3 February), states: “Currently certain products with valuable components, including mobiles, are being diverted from landfill by legislation. This legislation has improved collection and processing systems, and helped to recover the resources, such as indium, gold and cobalt, which are worth more than £6,000 per tonne.

“The UK spends £1bn a year in landfill costs just to dispose of plastics, wood, textiles and food – and in the process destroys these valuable commodities. If a landfill ban was introduced just on these products and materials, £1bn of costs could be avoided and a further £2.5bn of value would be recovered.”

It suggests renaming waste “resources” in Government policy, and giving responsibility for waste to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to emphasise the “commercial opportunity”.

Liz Gyekye

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