A Waste Data 2006 report has highlighted the urgent need to reduce waste production and further promote material recovery.
The Environment Agency (EA) report found that while waste sent to landfill had reduced by nearly 20% since 2001 an uneven distribution of landfill capacity could squeeze disposal availability in some regions.
This could result in a rise in waste disposal costs as it would have to travel further and raises the risk of localised flytipping.
The Environment Agency found that landfill lifespan in London, the East of England and the South East is four to five years but average lifespan in other regions is six to 11 years.
However, EA head of external programme Martin Brocklehurst said: Landfill should be the last resort for waste that we cant recover or recycle, as it is not sustainable to keep sending it to landfill. Also landfilling waste is set to become more expensive as the landfill tax goes up and has to travel greater distances for disposal as the number of sites reduces further.
But more positively the report found that composting tonnages had increased by 38%, while materials recovery facilities tonnages increased by 24%. It found that reliance on landfill is still decreasing and landfill deposits have fallen slowly but steadily and are down 18% since 2001, which is equivalent to 15.5 million tonnes.
Brocklehurst added: This is good news as it shows we are heading in the right direction to reduce our dependency on landfill by recycling more of our waste. However as well as continuing to reuse and recycle our waste, we also need to avoid producing it in the first place.
To view the report visit: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/wastedata2006.