Professor Frank Convery, chairperson of Comhar Sustainable Development Council, has pointed to data obtained from the Netherlands which indicates that landfill is a cheaper and more environmental option than incineration.

He says that estimates obtained from the data needs to be adapted to Irish conditions to further accentuate the cost-effectiveness of landfill in the country.

Mr Convery said: “If we insist on a higher-cost final disposal option, these additional costs will be passed onto households, either in the form of higher charges or higher taxes.

“If new alternatives to the two choices assessed here are to be considered, they should be subjected to a similar like-for-like analysis.”

Figures from the National Waste Report 2006 show that the amount of household waste recovered and needing final disposal rose by more than five-fold since 2002.

Mr Convery claims that Ireland needs a huge effort to reach the national target of 50% reduction and recovery by 2013.

Even if 80% or more was recovered then an irreducible minimum will need to go to final disposal and the decision on which system is used needs to be made on social and environmental costs, added Mr Convery.

The Economic and Social Research Institute has recently warned that more than 80% of household waste is going to landfill in Ireland, and EU recycling targets will be missed if rates do not improve.

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