Where Does My Waste Go?

A database of where your county council landfilled your non-recyclable household waste from 2004 to 2009. What is this?


Pick a county council.


On my trip to work each day I can see a huge landfill site. A mound of rotting household waste with gulls flapping around for morsels of food and, presumably, dead AAA batteries. Like most people I can usually fill a five foot high black bin every couple of weeks with non-recyclable stuff from my house, which Mole Valley Council whisk off at 6am every other Friday morning, so I wondered if any of the things I put in my bin found their way to the landfill.


This is possible thanks to wastedataflow.org, a free site detailing all the waste returns filed by every council in England. That is to say, every deposit, both tonnage and location, of everything I've stuck in to my bin. Also thanks to What Do They Know? for help with my Freedom of Information request. I also used Geonames and Google Maps during translation of the wastedataflow postcodes to English counties.

Notes and Terminology


Data has been exported by hand from a slightly opaque web GUI and transformed from a unwieldily CSV to a neat and tidy database so there may have been errors in translation. No independent verification of how i've presented the data has been sought.

Most authorities report their landfill statistics from April in accordance with the start of the financial year, so my data is not necessarily comparable with other publicly quoted statistics.

Many local authorities do not add postcodes to their landfill statisitics, which makes it hard to draw on a map. Eg, This is why Devon has 744,512 tonnes of non-geolocataed waste - I don't have time to correct it.


Non-hazardous waste is waste which does NOT feature on the list of hazardous waste in the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) 2002 (PDF).

Cost of Landfill

Cost is quoted in todays prices at £32 per tonne.

The Landfill Tax, introduced in 1996, is encouraging waste producers to divert material from landfill and is a factor in making recycling more affordable, as there is often a cost to initiate recycling. In April 2007 the tax rate for active waste increased by £3 to £24 per tonne. The rate for inactive waste is £2 per tonne. In April 2008 the active waste tax will rise by £8 to £32 per tonne. The government has said that the Landfill Tax will increase by £8 per tonne each year from April 2008 until at least 2010/11. The rate for inactive waste will increase to £2.50 per tonne in April 2008. [source: letsrecycle.com].


The landfill tonnage divided by the current approximate population size of the district. Populations taken from Wikipedia's counties and London sub-region pages.