A council has slashed millions of pounds from its landfill tax bill by more than halving the amount of waste it buries in the ground.
In a three-year period Surrey County Council reduced the amount of rubbish going to landfill from 64% to 33%, equivalent to burying around 200,000 tonnes less waste. With current landfill tax at £64 per tonne, the council would have to fork out £12.8m in taxes alone.
The reduction was helped by reaching a 50% household waste recycling target almost a decade ahead of schedule. And residents threw out almost 76,000 tonnes less rubbish in 2010/11 than they did three years earlier.
John Furey, the authority’s transport and environment spokesman, said: “We’ve taken great strides in reducing our reliance on landfill and our aim is to eliminate the use of it completely by 2014. We’ll continue to help people reduce the amount of waste they produce and reuse or recycle as much as possible. Surrey has worked hard to improve its recycling rate to more than 50% but we won’t rest there. Our aim is to hit a 70% target by 2014.”
The drive to get more people composting has seen 12,000 cut-price bins sold by the council over three years, a move that helped divert almost 4,000 tonnes of waste from landfill while a furniture reuse campaign has stopped more than 22,000 items of furniture being sent to dumps.