Households are recycling more of their rubbish than ever before and the amount sent to landfill is falling, according to the latest Government statistics.
More than 30% of household waste was recycled or composted in 2006/7 and the amount of waste sent to landfill by local authorities fell by 5.5% to 16.9 million tonnes the same year.
But despite the promising figures, Paul Bettison, chairman of the Local Government Association's Environment Board, said: "Britain is still the dustbin of Europe, throwing more waste into landfill than any other country in the EU.
"While these figures are a move in the right direction, there is an inescapable need to do more."
Local authorities collected 29.1 million tonnes of waste in 2006/7 from household collections and at civic amenity sites, an increase of 1.4% on the 28.7 million tonnes collected in 2005/6, according to estimates released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Of that, household waste accounted for 25.9 million tonnes (89%), a 1.6% rise on the 2005/6 figure of 25.5 million tonnes..
The proportion which was recycled or composted rose from 27.1% in 2005/6 to 30.7% in 2006/7.
The percentage which ended up in landfill fell from 62% (17.9 million tonnes) in 2005/6 to 58% (16.9 million tonnes) in 2006/7.
"It is encouraging to see people doing their bit by recycling more and reducing this country's reliance on landfill, " said Mr Bettison.
"Residents and local councils deserve credit for substantially improving our performance on waste and recycling over recent years.
"It is pleasing to see our recycling rates exceed 30% for the first time, but the fact remains other countries on the continent are still recycling up to twice as much.
"Councils and council tax payers are still facing fines of up to £3 billion if we do not dramatically reduce the amount of waste thrown into landfill, and so it is vital we look at alternatives to the status quo."Reuse content