The Green Alliance believes banning some materials from landfill could save the UK billions of pounds

Landfill ban urged to boost jobs and savings

Banning electronics, plastics, wood, textiles and food from landfill could save billions of pounds and create thousands of jobs.

Sending these materials for recycling, re-manufacture and reuse instead of burying them in the ground would prevent £3.8bn worth of products being lost to the UK economy, the analysis by think tank Green Alliance found.

The study claims it could also support 47,500 jobs in the UK, ranging from managing an anaerobic digestion plant which creates energy and fertiliser from waste food, to engineering jobs in plastic manufacturing.

Dustin Benton, head of resource stewardship at Green Alliance, said: "The UK is currently burying billions of pounds of value in landfill and losing out on thousands of skilled jobs. A change in policy would improve resource productivity and boost private sector jobs growth at a time when the economy really needs it.”

The call comes just weeks after the Lords Science and Technology Select Committee called for a minister for waste to be appointed to make the most of almost 100 million tonnes of carbon-containing waste a year, much of which could be turned into high-value products including chemicals, fuel and even fragrances.

Diverting the waste and using it to make new products would also cut 14.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year that would be generated if it ended up in landfill, the Green Alliance report claimed, an amount equal to the emissions from 2.7 million homes.

Benton added: "If we diverted all biodegradable materials to recycling it would save money and cut CO2 emissions equivalent to those from all in the homes in Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds."

The call to divert the five materials from landfill, improve collection systems, and create new infrastructure for recycling and re-manufacturing in England comes after Scotland announced a landfill ban, while Wales is consulting on the issue.

Banning the products, which have a value if they are reused or recycled, from landfill will keep 19 million tonnes of waste out of the ground each year, the Green Alliance analysis said.

But jobs and carbon savings cannot be created while landfill remains an easy option and systems for collecting the products for reuse and recycling are limited, the think tank said.

There are also concerns about the long-term future of landfill tax rates, which are imposed to reduce the amount of waste going into the ground, with Green Alliance warning more clarity was needed on what future rates would be.

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