The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) reduced the amount of waste it sent to landfill over the last three years, according to recent figures.
Contrary to reports in the Mirror (May 3 2008) that Defra was increasing the amount of rubbish it sent to landfill figures from the Government department show that its waste has dropped every year since 2003-2004. Around 1,560 tonnes of waste was sent to landfill last year from the department, compared to 1,619 in 2005-2006 and 1,890 in 2004-05. However, in 2002-03 figures were 1,180 which increased to 2,129 in 2003-2004.
A Defra spokeswoman said: Defra has been recording the waste it sends to landfill from all its work sites with more than 25 staff since 2003-04. This led to an initial increase in the recorded figures for that year, but they have dropped every year since. Importantly we now have a more comprehensive picture of how we are managing our waste, so for example we know that we recycled more that half of it last year.
Friends of the Earth senior waste campaigner Michael Warhurst said that he wanted Gordon Brown to sign up to new European targets which would force businesses and Government offices to recycle 70% of their waste and households to recycle 50% by 2020. He said: I think Defra and other Government departments offer variable performances when it comes to waste and we need to move the focus away from the municipal waste to commercial and industrial waste streams. We can do this effectively by focusing on effective European targets.
In this country we have been traditionally driven by European legislation and it hasnt focused on commercial and industrial waste but municipal waste instead. Municipal waste is where the Government has the most control and it has been cheaper in the past to landfill waste but the landfill tax has put more pressure on councils to divert their waste from it.