Local councils with growing stock piles of waste paper have been advised to consider all disposal options under the flexibility of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS).
According to the Environment Agency (EA), paper could be disposed of with other biodegradable municipal wastes (BMW) such as food waste and garden waste through composting or anaerobic digestion. This method, although further down the waste hierarchy than recycling, could still count towards EU diversion targets.
A spokesman for the EA said: Although the LATS flexibility wont help with materials like metal, it could help with paper.
EA chief executive Paul Leinster encouraged local authorities to make full use of LATS options (see options below) saying: We recognise that exceptional market conditions could make it more challenging for local authorities to meet recycling targets. However, the LATS scheme is unique in Europe in giving local authorities flexibility in how they meet their landfill diversion targets by buying, borrowing and selling allowances as market demand fluctuates.
An EA report released today shows England is already within the 2010 target of 25% reduction (against 1995 levels) in BMW sent to landfill. Targets for 2007/08 of sending no more than 13.6 million tonnes of BMW to landfill were met as councils sent only 10.6 tonnes.
Leinster said: The targets to reduce biodegradable waste going to landfill in 2013 and 2020 will become progressively harder to achieve. Local authorities collectively will need to step up their diversion of biodegradable waste to meet all the targets, and should utilise all the flexibility within the LATS system.
LATS disposal options:
* sending waste to landfill
* diverting waste from landfill by recycling, re-use, composting, or using new technologies
* borrowing from their future landfill allocations
* buying allowances from other authorities
* or any combination of these