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Latest figures: landfill tonnages go down

The amount of municipal waste sent to landfill has reduced both in terms of tonnage and proportion of total waste according to new provisional figures — the first released from the Government’s web-based WasteDataFlow system.

Latest figures for England showed the amount of waste sent to landfill went down from the previous year’s figures by over a million tonnes - with 19.9 million tonnes going to landfill in 2004/05.

In terms of the proportion of municipal waste going to landfill, it reduced from 72% in 2003/04 to 67% in 2004/05.

The greatest regional reduction in waste sent to landfill between 2004/05 and 2003/04 was the North West, though the region still tops the list for landfilling the most of its waste.

In terms of recycling and composting, the East Midlands showed the greatest increase, with recycling figures rising by 39% between 2003/04 and 2004/05.

There is also increasing evidence of a slow down in the growth of municipal waste being produced by the country. Average annual increases have dropped to 2.6% in the last 5 years, compared to 3.2% in the 5 years before.

Environment minister Ben Bradshaw called the figures an “extremely encouraging development” and said it indicated that more waste was being recycled and reused, as well as being prevented in the first place.

He said: “Diverting increasing amounts of waste from landfill through recycling is in no doubt thanks in part to better quality council services, including greatly expanded and more efficient kerbside recycling collection schemes.

“But I also suspect that community reuse projects such as the Freecycle initiative and indeed the growing popularity of auction websites which encourage reuse are playing a part too.”

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