The UK government is overestimating the cost of implementing the draft EU directive on waste landfilling, environmental group Friends of the Earth said today. Even though the UK already aims to increase recovery of household waste from the current 6% to 40% by 2005, the group claimed, the government had "estimated the full costs...including the costs of meeting commitments already made." The UK should abandon attempts to design landfills which swiftly biodegrade organic material, the group says, and should "rapidly investigate how quickly we can increase recycling, composting and anaerobic digestion." In particular, the group wants a recently introduced tax on landfilling to be increased and broadened to cover waste incineration, more promotion of composting, and a change in the law to allow variable charging for household waste collection to give a financial incentive for recycling. The UK is "a long way" from hitting its own targets for reducing waste and its environmental impacts, says Friends of the Earth. "The UK government should welcome the draft landfill directive...which could bring significant benefits to Europe's environment as well as providing opportunities for fledgling environmental industries."
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland , tel: +44 171 490 1555.
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