Welsh local authorities have already hit their 2013 target for reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill, the Environment Agency Wales has announced.
The agency’s latest publication, Report on the Landfill Allowances Scheme Wales 2011/12, said between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012 all 22 councils achieved their individual targets.
The councils sent 389,738 tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste to landfill in 2011/12 – 29% under the amount set out in Landfill Allowances Scheme, which helps Wales meet EU Landfill Directive obligations.
Welsh environment minister John Griffiths said: “I congratulate Welsh councils and residents for their efforts to separate out the valuable recyclable materials and substantially reduce the amount of biodegradable waste disposed of in landfill.
“Burying all our rubbish in the ground and leaving it to rot is no longer an option. It is essential we build on this and continue to meet the EU targets up to 2020.”
Welsh councils also cut the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill by 560,262 tonnes against the 1995 figure, a reduction of 59%.
The next target, being drive by the EU Landfill Directive, is to cut landfill from 59% of the 1995 amount to 35% by 2020.
The Welsh Government said food waste was a key priority in Wales’ waste strategy Towards Zero Waste.
Every council in Wales runs a kerbside food waste collection service, which covers nine out of ten households.
The food waste collected is then composted or treated using anaerobic digestion to create biogas which can be used as fuel.
Director of the Environment Agency Wales Chris Mills said: “This makes more sense for the public as it is becoming more and more expensive to send waste to landfill.
“It is more sustainable for our environment and for our economy to re-use and recycle our resources rather than simply throwing them away.”