I've posted before that there is no shortage of landfill in the UK*. The volume of aggregates extracted from quarries above the water table every year comfortably equals the volume of trade and domestic waste we produce. There is an imbalance in location; because of the south-east aggregates drag, landfill capacity is always northwards, and increasingly in Scotland where superquarries have hollowed out entire hills to feed the hunger for roadstone in the south, whereas waste production is greatest in and around London. So there's a transport issue, but not a capacity problem.
Much of Europe doesn't have our landfill capacity, and so on the principle of dragging everyone down to the capacity of the weakest, the EU are ending waste-to-landfill. Or sustainable Methane harvesting, as I prefer to term it. When the Methane has been exhausted, and all the putrescible and organic materials have decayed away, the residue can be quarried to recover metals and polymers. But the EU's inflexibility means that local councils are paying £56 / tonne Landfill Tax in 2010/2011 on top of the costs of waste collection and transport - hence the loathed fortnightly collections, bin police, rotting food and rats.
So no surprise that people have gone back to doing what their parents did in the 1950s, when a family's weekly waste fitted in a three-foot high galvanised dustbin, and are burning their flammable waste. Then it was on open coal fires, now it's largely in back gardens. The difference is that back then it was cardboard and paper, while now it's a lot of plastic. But plastics themselves are probably not the cause of the record levels of dioxins from domestic burning; the burning of organic waste where Chlorine ions are present will produce the most dioxins, a ready-made mix found in domestic waste. Anyway, thanks to the EU we're now not only poisoning ourselves but wasting valuable sustainable opportunities to really recycle waste into something useful - Methane and residual recoverable material.
Whether we leave the EU or not, it will take a government with balls to tell the EU that the UK will not comply with the EU Landfill policy, and turn us back to making use of all those empty quarries. Will Brown? Will Clegg? Will Cameron?
*And yes I'll repeat the figures and their sources for sceptics if called upon to do so
I'll post again with the evidence in the next day or so, as I have time