Waste sent to landfill has been reduced by nearly a quarter since 2001, according to an Environment Agency report.
Data gathered by the EA showed 65 million tonnes of waste was sent to landfill in 2007. This is 19 million tonnes (23%) less than the 84m tonnes sent to landfill in 2001. The report also found that waste treatment was up 53% on 2000/01 figures.
EA head of external waste programmes Martin Brocklehurst said: Last year nearly 20 million tonnes less waste went to landfill when compared to 2001 which equates to about 500 million wheelie bins.
This is good news and shows we are heading in the right direction to reduce our long-term dependency on landfill.
However, the findings also confirmed concerns about uneven regional distribution of landfill capacity. It suggested site life spans in London, the east of England and the south east are now three to five years. The EA said: This highlights the urgency that still exists to reduce waste production, promote waste recovery and develop new infrastructure to support this.
Brocklehurst said: Even during these difficult market conditions, landfill should be the last resort for waste materials that we cant immediately recover or recycle.
The key to retaining an outlet for recyclable materials is to ensure a quality product for the buyer by maintaining and improving standards in dealing with waste.
The report Waste Information 2007 uses data collected by the EA from regulated waste management sites it regulates.