Less waste to landfill as recycling rises

The latest figures from Defra have shown a drop in the amount of waste being dumped in landfill across England. It is the first time in four years the figure has dropped, and takes it to roughly the same level as 1999.

It takes the proportion of waste going to landfill to 75% in 2002/03 from 77% in 2001/02 and corresponds with a two percent increase in household recycling and composting over the same period.

Environment Minister Elliot Morley said the results confirmed predictions that the 17% national recycling target is within reach.

"These results confirm what I've been seeing for some time now - that local authorities across the country are working hard to manage waste more sustainably," Mr Morley said. "In view of the immense challenge ahead to meet tough recycling targets in 2005/06 and fulfil our obligations under the Landfill Directive, it's vital that all authorities, including the very disappointing minority which made no improvement at all in their recycling levels last year, continue to press ahead."

Despite the drop in proportion of waste going to landfill, the actual amount of municipal waste produced has continued to rise to an estimated 29.3 million tonnes in England, an increase of 1.8%, while household waste has risen by 1.1%.

Friends of the Earth was critical of the new figures. Waste campaigner Clare Wilton said: "The Government is clearly not doing enough to tackle the UK's waste crisis and seems set to miss its target of recycling a quarter of household waste by 2005. An effective plan to dramatically reduce the amount of waste we produce is desperately needed."

By David Hopkins



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