Ministers have been "too timid" in dealing with rubbish disposal and government policy "lacks direction", MPs have said.
UK relies too highly on landfill sites, the MPs say
The problem is also under-funded, according to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, which on Thursday publishes its report into the future of waste management.
The committee advocates moving away from focusing on landfills and incinerators towards recycling, re-use and waste minimisation.
It also says the government is using the landfill tax "timidly" and it should be raised to £35 per tonne if it is to have a significant impact.
Committee chairman David Curry MP said: "The UK produces enough waste to fill the Albert Hall every hour, and we have to change the way we deal with it.
"The easy option of dumping virtually everything into landfill is closing down.
Tough choices are needed
"Reducing the volume of waste and diverting waste from landfill requires a determined response from government - and that has so far been lacking."
The committee also suggests other taxes and charges on households for getting rid of rubbish could be used.
"Addressing the issue is a matter of urgency," said Mr Curry.
"Quite apart from the environmental damage and economic wastage of the current approach to waste management the government is obliged by European legislation to change tack.
"Tough choices are needed.
"In particular we argue that the landfill tax should be up-rated quickly to £35 per tonne - only at that level will it begin to have a serious effect. "
The report is the conclusion of a four-month inquiry during which the committee heard evidence from a number of interested bodies and the Environment Minister Michael Meacher.
It also heard from representatives of the waste disposal industry and local authorities, as well as visiting recycling plants in London, Leicestershire, Rutland and Denmark.