A lot of the rubbish you don’t recycle correctly ends up in a landfill. Here are the most important UK landfill statistics you should know.

UK Landfill Statistics & Facts

  1. Landfill was the second most used waste treatment in the UK in 2018, with 23.6% of waste sent to landfill. (Defra)
  2. The UK creates 26 million tonnes of waste, of which 14 million tonnes end up on landfill sites. (Defra)
  3. The amount of rubbish sent to landfill annually is equivalent in weight to burying over 100,000 adult blue whales. (Friends of the Earth)
  4. There are around 500 operational landfill sites in the UK. (Defra)
  5. Over a million British homes are within half a mile of a landfill site. (Independent)
  6. Living near a landfill could knock over £5,000 off the value of your house. (UK Government)
  7. The UK imposes a tax on landfill waste which in 2022 was £98.60 per tonne for the standard rate and £3.15 per tonne for the lower rate. (UK Government)
  8. The largest landfill in the UK was the Packington site situated outside Birmingham, covering 380 acres of land. (The First Mile)
  9. The UK’s biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfills decreased from approximately 6.6 million tonnes in 2019 to 6.1 million in 2020. (UK Government)
  10. England was responsible for 81% of the biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfills in 2020. (UK Government)
  11. Wastes from mechanical treatment of waste and mixed municipal waste make up around 88% of all municipal waste at landfills. (UK Government)
  12. The total waste sent to landfills was reduced by 2.8% from 2016 to 2018. (Defra)
  13. The total remaining landfill capacity in the UK was 357,665,304 cubic metres at the end of 2021. (UK Government)
  14. According to one study, the UK’s landfills only have enough space for 175.1 million tonnes of waste. (The Furniture Recycling Group)

What Ends Up in Landfills?

  1. 280,000 tonnes of recyclable waste is sent to landfills because of contamination during recycling. (Plastic Expert)
  2. Soils make up 58%, other wastes 26%, household & similar wastes 10%, and mineral waste 6% of the tonnage received by landfills. (UK Government)
  3. 54% of the UK’s textile waste ended up in landfills in 2019. (LabFresh)
  4. The UK sends over 20,000 tonnes of battery waste straight to landfills. (Recyclingbins.co.uk)
  5. UK landfills receive over 80 million aluminium and steel cans every single day. (Recyclingbins.co.uk)
  6. The aluminium sent to landfills is worth approximately £36 million annually. (Recyclingbins.co.uk)
  7. One billion black plastic food trays go to landfill annually in the UK. (Friends of the Earth)
  8. 28 billion glass bottles and jars are sent to landfills annually, which puts a lot of stress on these sites, as glass doesn’t decompose. ((Recyclingbins.co.uk)
  9. Food waste in landfills releases methane which is a damaging greenhouse gas but can also create electricity. (Recyclingbins.co.uk)
  10. In 2021, UK landfills generated 3,313-gigawatt hours of electricity. (Statista)
  11. Electricity generated from landfill gas has declined in the past decade, peaking at 5,318-gigawatt hours in 2011. (Statista)