The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has confirmed that the UK has met its 2010 Landfill Directive target for waste diversion.
Following a joint DEFRA/Welsh Assembly Government consultation on restricting land filling of certain wastes, DEFRA will not be introducing landfill bans on used plastics, among other categories.
Peter Davis, director general of the British Plastics Federation, said: “We welcome [this announcement]. In our response to the consultation, the BPF stated that although we want to divert used plastics from landfill by 2020, there simply isn’t enough UK capacity for recycling and “energy from waste” to take the material from landfill in the short term.
“There’s only seven years landfill capacity left in England and Wales. The BPF is not confident that the UK will achieve its next Landfill Directive target by 2013, due to haphazard local authority collection systems and too few facilities for recycling and energy from waste.”
The Welsh Assembly Government is taking a different line to DEFRA’s, believing that“landfill restrictions or bans have a role to play, as part of a balanced set of policy measures, in delivering the ambitious targets set out in our overarching waste strategy document for Wales, Towards Zero Waste."
A provision giving Welsh ministers the power to introduce Wales-only landfill restrictions is being considered by The National Assembly for Wales as part of the Waste (Wales) Measure.
Welsh Assembly minister for environment, sustainability and housing Jane Davidson said:
“We all know that landfill is the most environmentally damaging option for waste, which is why the Measure, if passed, will allow us to ban certain materials from landfill and ensure that we significantly increase our recycling rates.
“This will drive us towards waste management practices that are much more sustainable and help us to reduce both our ecological and carbon footprints.”