Food waste dumped on landfill sites produces methane, the powerful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more damaging to the environment than C02 and a major contributor to climate change.

Central and local government are working towards reducing landfill and must meet stringent targets to comply with European Union regulations.

The EU Landfill Directive, states that the UK (and all other Member States) must reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste (such as food and garden waste, and paper and paperboard) sent to landfill to:

  • 75 per cent of that produced in 1995 by 2010
  • 50 per cent of that produced in 1995 by 2013
  • 35 per cent of that produced in 1995 by 2020

EU Member States may be subject to penalties from the European Commission if they fail to meet their targets.

    Paying tonnes

    As a major deterrant, a system of increasing landfill taxes has been implemented. Landfill tax is paid on top of normal landfill fees by businesses and local authorities that want to dispose of waste using a landfill site. From £40 per tonne in  April 2009, it  has increased to the current 2015/16 rate of £82.60 per tonne.

    The European Commission are currently working to update legislation around waste management and recycling. This will also have an effect on landfill.  Adoption of a new ‘Circular Economy’ legislative package is expected towards the end of 2015.