Retailers are likely to see a jump in their waste disposal costs after the price of sending waste to landfill rose from £40 to £48 a tonne on April 1.

Landfill tax will continue to increase by a further £8 a tonne each April until 2013 when it will have reached £72 per tonne, as the government attempts to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the ground.

It is hoped that the tax increases will prompt a wider take-up of recycling schemes and more coherent waste management strategies by retailers and their partners.

The total environmental cost of waste sent to landfill and incinerators in the UK rather than being recycled was more than £336m in 2008.

Managing resources more efficiently could save the UK economy £6.4bn every year with most of these savings coming from energy efficiency and waste management, the government said.

It plans to work closely with waste management trade group Environmental Services Association to increase the number of recycling collections for small and medium-sized businesses this year.