Banning materials ­including plastic, food and electronics from landfill could save billions of pounds and create thousands of jobs, a study suggests.

Sending five key materials for recycling, re-manufacture and reuse instead of burying them in the ground would prevent £3.8 billion worth of products being lost to the UK economy, the analysis by think tank Green Alliance found.

Reusing and recycling wood, textiles, electronics, food and plastics would also support 47,500 UK jobs, it said.

Loading article content

The type of jobs could range from managing an anaerobic digestion plant, which creates energy and fertiliser from waste food, to engineering jobs in plastic manufacturing.

Diverting the waste to make new products would also cut 14.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year that would be generated if it ended up in landfill, an amount equal to the emissions from 2.7 million homes.

Dustin Benton, head of resource stewardship at Green Alliance, said: "The UK is currently burying billions of pounds of value in landfill and losing out on thousands of skilled jobs.

"A change in policy would improve resource productivity and boost private-sector jobs growth at a time when the economy really needs it."