Lancashire ‘waste disaster’ looming as landfills close to tipping point

If sofas, mattresses and duvets continue to be sent to landfill at the current rate, Lancashire’s landfill sites will be full in less than a year

Lancashire is heading for a landfill crisis, according to shocking research conducted by The Furniture Recycling Group (TFRG).

As England hurtles towards a predicted serious landfill crisis by 2022, Lancashire is one of the regions most at risk with only 13.2 million m3 of remaining landfill capacity.

The findings were revealed ahead of Global Recycling Day which was created by The Global Recycling Foundation in 2018 to recognise and celebrate the importance recycling plays in securing the future of our planet.


The TFRG revealed that the top three offenders in England take up 26.2 million m3 of landfill space are sofas, duvets and mattresses – that is the equivalent of 17,129 forests.

A number of household items are escalating the problem, with sofas sitting at the top spot, taking up 15.1 million m3 of space in landfill each year, the equivalent of filling Wembley Stadium four times over.

Duvets take second place with more than 22.8 million being sold annually, contributing to 7.2 million m3 of landfill space.

Mattresses, which are often seen as difficult and expensive to dispose of, bed in at third place, making up a significant portion of the problem with more than seven million discarded each year in the UK.

If these were to be stacked up, they would reach the same height as 1,352 of Dubai’s Burj Khalifas.

If these three items continue to be sent to landfill at the current rate, Lancashire’s landfill sites will be full in less than a year.

Nick Oettinger, managing director and co-founder of TFRG, said: “Our latest findings highlight the dangers of relying on our bursting landfill and we’re edging closer and closer to a waste disaster.

“It’s clear that there’s still a lot of groundwork to be done to create our much-needed circular economy, where products are designed with recyclability in mind.

“This is the only way we can truly solve our recycling and waste crisis.”

TFRG, which conducted the research, is calling for the UK industry to work together to build a joined up solution to create a circular economy, where products are designed and produced with recycling and the end of its life in mind.

The firm previously found that England’s landfill sites were set to burst by 2022 if nothing is done to stem the flow of waste being sent there, with only enough space for 175.1 million tonnes of waste left in total.

Mer Oettinger said: “It’s crucial that consumers help support the UK’s mission towards achieving a circular economy.

“If consumers are unsure about how they can help prevent these recycling offenders from ending up in landfill, there are a number of respons­ible retailers in the UK who offer take-back schemes, which means they collect and recycle your old mattresses, duvets and sofas.”




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