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London worst for sending waste to landfill

October 23, 2009 at 4:22 pm

London has one of the highest rates of sending rubbish to landfill for any major city in Europe. More than half of the waste in London goes straight to landfill. It has also been revealed that Londoners throw away 520kg of waste a year, which is the fifth-highest rate of all the major cities on the continent.

In stark comparison, residents of Copenhagen only throw away 420kg per year, about 20% less. And on top of this, only a remarkable 1% goes to landfill.

The study was carried out by French group Suez Environnement, which studied the waste habits of 24 capital cities across the continent.

About 2.2 million tonnes is thrown away by London residents each year, of which 52% goes to landfill, or 270kg per household. Only 22% of rubbish is recycled, and the rest is incinerated.

These figures come despite the rising costs of sending waste to landfill. The government is keen to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, and as a result is increasing taxes on waste. In 2010-11, authorities in London will be forced to pay £48 per tonne of rubbish that goes to landfill, providing a strong incentive to increase recycling.

The study showed that there was also a stark difference in the frequency of rubbish collections across the continent. Londoners can only expect to get their rubbish picked up once a week, compared to once a day in Paris. In Bucharest, the figure is even more impressive, with collections twice a day during the summer months.

One of the reasons that London’s figures are so poor is because a lot of other countries incinerate more of their waste which is then used to create electricity and prevent the production of methane, a process which the UK hasn’t yet caught on to.

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