Waste crisis ‘imminent’ as landfills could overflow by 2022

England’s landfill sites will be overflowing by 2022, according to research from The Furniture Recycling Group.

They say that 45.4 million tonnes of waste is dumped at landfill each year, with only enough space for 175.1 million tonnes of waste left in total, creating an increasingly shortening capacity gap.

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan promised to tackle many important waste recycling issues, including a major focus on the elimination of single-use plastics, but TFR Group says England will reach crisis point soon if there isn’t an immediate focus on the recycling of bulkier waste streams.

According to their research, over 1.6 million tonnes of bulky waste is sent to landfill every year, with furniture and mattresses accounting for 42% of this.

They estimate 7.5 million mattresses are being dumped into landfill across the country each year.

Nick Oettinger, managing director of TFR Group, said: ‘I cannot stress enough the severity of the issue now facing the waste management industry because bulky waste has continually been ignored.

‘Even if mattresses were the only form of waste sent to landfill, England’s landfill sites would reach full capacity within just 50 years, but with all forms of bulky waste, we have less than four years left.

‘This spells disaster for future generations, who now face the horrifying prospect of seeing precious green space piled high with decaying mountains of mattresses and other waste that simply cannot be disposed of properly.

‘The data is compelling and there are a number of promising solutions, but it remains to be seen if the country can head the warning and transform its recycling processes before the dangerously limited time runs out,’ he added.

In a speech at the Conservative party conference last week, Environment Minister Michael Gove promised to ‘invest in cleaner technologies and take tougher action against the fly-tippers and the waste criminals who pollute our landscape and trash our blue planet.’

Defra is expected to publish a new waste strategy later in the year.

Back in February, Mr Oettinger wrote in Environment Journal about the need for legislation to be put in place to stop linear products from going to landfill.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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