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Landfill tax

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A landfill tax is a form of tax that is applied in some countries to increase the cost of landfill. The tax is typically levied in units of currency per unit of weight or volume (£/t, E/t, $/yard³). The tax is in addition to the overall cost of landfill and forms a proportion of the gate fee.


Reasons for landfill tax

A tax or fee may be imposed on landfills or other disposal facilities as a means of raising general revenues, to generate funds for inspection programs or long-term mitigation of environmental impacts related to disposal, or as a means of inhibiting disposal by raising the cost in comparison to preferable alternatives, in the same manner as an excise or "sin tax".

Landfilling is discouraged due to a number of key reasons:

  • Climate change caused by landfill gas from biodegradable waste
  • Loss of resources
    • Constraints on areas suitable for landfill sites
    • Loss of recyclable components of waste landfilled

Landfill tax by region

United Kingdom

The UK Landfill Tax was introduced in 1996 by Conservative Secretary of State for the Environment, John Gummer, and was the UK's first environmental tax. Landfill tax is seen as a key mechanism in enabling the UK to meet its targets set out in the Landfill Directive for the landfilling of biodegradable waste. Through increasing the cost of landfill, other advanced waste treatment technologies with higher gate fees are made to become more financially attractive.

The amount of tax levied is calculated according to the weight of the material disposed of and whether it is active or inactive waste.

• Inactive (or inert) waste covers most materials used in a buildings fabric as well as earth excavated for foundations. Most forms of concrete, brick, plasterboard, glass, soil, clay and gravel are classified as inactive. • Active waste covers all other forms of waste such as wood, ductwork, piping and plastics.

Inevitably there will be some mixing of waste such as inert bricks and concrete mixed with small amounts of wood or mineral dust packaged in polythene bags. It is for the producer of the waste to decide what is reasonable and acceptable in terms of active waste contamination of inert waste.

The standard rate of tax is levied on active waste; inactive waste is covered by the lower rate.

The current (2007/08) standard rate of landfill tax is £24 per tonne. 2007’s budget announced annual increases in the standard rate of landfill tax of £8 per tonne from 2008/09 until at least 2010/11, by which time it will have reached £48 per tonne.

The current lower rate is £2 per tonne; this will increase to £2.50 in 2008/09. No further increases have as yet been announced.

United States

The United States has numerous federal laws and regulations regarding the operation of landfills, but there is no national landfill tax or fee. Many states and local governments collect fees and taxes on the collection or disposal of solid waste.


Landfills in California are subject to fees and taxes levied by cities and counties, as well as by the State. The Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 authorized a State fee (set at $1.40 per ton effective 2002-07-01) to fund the activities of the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB).[1] Many cities and counties collect fees from landfills within their jurisdiction to recover the costs of local solid waste planning and inspection programs, to operate programs for the collection and disposal of household hazardous wastes, and to fund some costs of recycling and reuse progams.[2]

Landfills in San Jose are subject to the highest disposal tax in California, with the Disposal Facility Tax set at $13.00 per ton in 1992.[3]

See also

  • Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme
  • Landfill Directive
  • Landfill Tax Credit Scheme (LTCS) (in the UK)


  1. ^ California Integrated Waste Management Board, June 19-21, 2001, Agenda Item 28 (pdf)
  2. ^ California Public Resources Code, Section 41900 et seq.
  3. ^ San Jose Municipal Code, Chapter 4.78
  This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Landfill_tax". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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