Cumbria County Council has approved a £400m deal which will end its reliance on landfill waste sites.
Landfill costs are set to treble
The authority said the proposed 25-year deal with Shanks Waste Management Ltd, would significantly boost recycling by environmentally-friendly means.
Officials say the move will enable the use of "modern and progressive technology" to deal with home waste.
But it admits work still has to be done to improve the county's recycling rate, which currently stands below 50%.
Jack Richardson, county council cabinet spokesman on waste management, said: "This is a very important day for Cumbria. We have made a good decision that shows real progressive thinking.
"With this decision we have taken our most important step yet towards finding a long-term, sustainable solution to the waste disposal issues in the county.
"In the meantime we must all redouble our efforts to help get Cumbria's recycling rates up to at least 50%, as that is still a key part of the plan."
The new plans include the building of mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plants, which are already popular in some European countries such as Italy.
Shanks currently have four MBT plants completed and undergoing testing, with another three others under construction.