The UK economy could get an annual multi-billion pound cash injection if plastics, textiles and wood are banned from landfill, according to the Green Alliance think tank.
This saving of resources would be worth in region of £2.5bn, plus UK companies would also avoiding £1bn in landfill taxes by adopting additional recycling measures.
“Economic theory says that the raw materials in products should be valuable enough to keep them out of landfill,” said the Green Alliance in a statement. “But many products containing valuable raw materials still end up in landfill because it's too easy to throw them away. This is a market failure.”
The organisation's research shows, for example, that the UK's implementation of the WEEE Directive will see the country recycle 80% of unwanted mobile phones by 2020 – proof that legislation can help build a green economy, according to the Green Alliance.
Meanwhile, Defra says that a drive towards a gold standard for resource efficiency could save the UK some £23bn, although all-out landfill bans on certain materials aren't seen as an option for the time being as the country is already recycling, composting and reusing more waste than is sent to landfill sites.