Monday 12th August 2013
Last year saw the first set of statistics for municipal waste where more waste was recycled than was landfilled. Underpinning this success is landfill tax – a policy instrument which has been a silent success story for the last 15 years.
Landfill tax was introduced in 1996 as an incentive to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. The tax was set very low at first – a mere £7 per tonne in 1996 (!) - but as of April 2014, landfill tax will reach a new minimum of £80 per tonne.
There is little doubt over the success that the tax on landfill has achieved. Since 2006, waste to landfill has plummeted by 37.5% - resulting in associated carbon emission savings in the region of 52,000 tonnes per year.
Not only has landfill tax addressed the environmental problem it set out to solve - but it is also responsible for huge increases in recycling. In 1996, prior to the establishment of landfill tax, UK recycling rates were 7% - a figure that now stands at 43%.
Landfill is now, without doubt, the most expensive destination for our rubbish. This means quite literally - businesses can no longer afford not to recycle. By putting a monetary value on waste, landfill tax has made waste reduction a priority for businesses encouraging more sustainable waste management.
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