The nation’s waste is a gold mine that could earn local authorities an extra £1bn by 2020, according to a new report by the Local Government Association (LGA).
Freezing landfill tax and reinvesting the money back into the waste sector would create jobs, stimulate growth and create a revenue stream for local authorities, the LGA has said.
The LGA’s local waste review, Wealth from Waste outlines a number of key recommendations for government on how to promote a thriving, growing, domestic market for recyclable materials as well as looking at how we increase recycling and re-use to feed growth of the sector.
Cllr Clyde Loakes – “The Treasury could help us stimulate growth, create jobs and boost an important revenue stream for local authorities”
According to the LGA, the savings of £1bn by 2020 could be achieved through reforming the market to improve the quality of the recyclable material produced by the sector, and by local authorities obtaining a better share of revenue from the 26m tonnes of tin cans, old fridges and even disposable nappies thrown away each year.
The LGA suggests that going beyond the current EU targets and increasing the amount of household recycling to 70 percent could offer even greater rewards, helping to create an estimated 51,000 jobs and generate an extra £3bn in additional revenue for the UK economy.
But council bosses are warning the country will miss out on the opportunity to unlock the true value of our waste, unless the government provides the necessary tools and investment to help grow the booming waste sector.
Recommendations include the Treasury refunding landfill tax receipts through councils and the Green Investment Bank to fund the building of new recycling centres, a call for new industry guidelines to improve the quality of recycled material produced and sold by the UK waste sector and the introduction of reward schemes to thank residents for playing their part.
The LGA says that the landfill tax is a punitive measure, and of the estimated £3bn collected in its five year lifespan, none of this money has been reinvested to help reduce the amount of household waste being sent to landfill and the consequential burden to the taxpayer.
The LGA says this means that despite having played a vital role by sorting through their recycling and helping councils with their kerbside collections, efforts which have seen the amount of residential waste being sent to landfill fall by more than half since 2000, residents are having to pay more than ever before to have their bins collected.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, vice-chair of the LGA’s environment and housing board, said:
“By freezing the landfill tax at its current rate and reinvesting the money through joint council and private sector waste projects, The Treasury could help us stimulate growth, create jobs and boost an important revenue stream for local authorities.”