The Local Government Association (LGA) has called the UK “the dustbin of Europe” for its high level of waste, equal to the amount of waste produced by the 18 lowest waste producers in the EU combined.
The report warns that Britain could run out of landfill space in less than a decade if current waste levels continue. Britain already has almost 110 square miles of land dedicated solely to landfill space. In 2004-2005, the most recent survey numbers comparable for the UK and Europe, Britain threw away almost 23 million tons of waste.
LGA Environment Board member Paul Bettison said: “Britain is the dustbin of Europe with more rubbish being thrown into landfill than any other country on the continent.
“For decades people have been used to being able to throw their rubbish away without worrying about the consequences. Those days are now over.
“There needs to be an urgent and radical overhaul of the way in which rubbish is thrown away. Local people, businesses and councils all have a vital role to play to protect our countryside before it becomes buried in a mountain of rubbish.”
There is hope for the future, however. The amount of waste sent to landfills has dropped each of the last two years. Waste levels dropped from 17.9 million tons in 2005-6 to 16.9 million in 2006-7. Recycling levels also rose slightly.
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