Mouthpiece: Tax no-one can rubbish

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Landfill charges can help spark recycling revolution, says Lucy Frankel

Pasty tax? Granny tax? Poll tax? Taxes are rarely popular, but there’s one tax nobody in their right minds can disagree with – landfill tax. On April 1, it went up again, making landfill by far the most expensive destination for our rubbish. This is sparking a revolution in our bins, both at work and at home.

The UK used to prefer burying its rubbish, sending broken fridges, rotten food and rubble to clog up vast holes in the ground. Although the UK still sends 55 per cent of its waste to landfill, things are improving, especially here in Scotland.

Wherever your waste is taken, there is a gate fee per tonne. Landfill gate fees may be lower than many recycling processes, but adding landfill tax hikes the price up. Better still, landfill tax increases by £8 per tonne every year. On April 1, it rose again to £64 per tonne, to be added to the gate fee.

As the city council knows, food waste recycling is the first step to zero waste to landfill, and 90,000 more Edinburgh households are about to receive their own kitchen caddies. Here, if leftover baked beans are no longer messing up the general bin, then everything else is much cleaner and easier to recycle, so less waste needs to go to expensive landfill. Secondly, our teabags and banana skins can be used to create renewable energy.

New Scottish legislation requires all large businesses to introduce food waste recycling by 2013, extending to all businesses by 2015. This forces businesses to avoid paying landfill tax, whilst simultaneously going green.

• Lucy Frankel is communications manager at Polwarth-based Vegware, Edinburgh’s Green Company of the Year 2012.