The amount of rubbish Merton sent to landfill between April 2009 and March 2010 came to 54,694 tonnes, a 15% reduction on the previous year. According to latest Environment Agency figures, this has also meant that for the fifth year running residents have saved the council spending nearly £400, 000 on landfill tax.
In a further step towards reducing the amount of waste Merton sends to landfill, the council has rolled out the latest phase of its food waste collection service to an extra 10,000 households. The total number of households benefiting from the service now stands at 40,000, with a further 10,000 set to take advantage of food waste collection by the end of the year. Since the service started in the borough, the average collection of food waste the council collects from each household is 1.5kg per week. This is then recycled into compost instead of going to landfill.
The council has also invested £1.3 million in a new fleet of 10 dry recycling vehicles which are able to take more recyclable materials than their predecessors. This cuts down on journeys to the borough’s recycling centre, saving on fuel consumption and increasing the efficiency of the service.
Merton Council deputy leader Councillor Mark Betteridge said: ‘The more we recycle, the less we send to landfill, which is good news for the environment. Also, if we carry on as we are and don’t cut the amount of rubbish we send to landfill, we could see around £2.6million going on landfill tax this financial year. Reducing the amount of rubbish we landfill will mean we have more money to invest in vital services for our residents and in new equipment such as our latest recycling trucks and new street cleaning machines.’
New Malden resident Ms Read said: ‘Thank you for starting the food waste collections! I and my family find it an excellent service. It shows that the council cares about the future of the environment. We really appreciate the effort and hope that food waste recycling continues in the future.’
Local councils have to pay a tax for every tonne of waste they send to landfill. The amount of tax that a council has to pay depends on the weight of the material the council sends to landfill and the kind of waste the council is disposing of. The standard rate of landfill tax is currently £48 per tonne. Over the next four years the tax will increase by £8 each year.