Landfill tax could cost the region £130m if action is not taken according to a public services union.
GMB claims the total cost for the region if all household waste not recycled was sent to landfill in 2010 at 48 per tonne would be 78,433,786 – rising dramatically to 130,722,976 in 2014.
Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary for the Yorkshire region, said "Unless councils make a concerted effort to improve recycling rates the landfill tax bill is set to rise by around 670m per annum taking the total cost of landfill to over 3bn per annum. As things stand, those households under the poorest performing councils will carry the brunt of that."
The warning follows analysis by the union of the official household waste figures for all 22 councils in the Yorkshire and Humber region for 2009/10.
According to the figures Ryedale District Council has the best record for recycling, with 51.9 per cent of household waste sent for re-use, recycling, or composting – compared with 27.5 per cent by Sheffield City Council. Bradford Council had 29.5 per cent.
But Sheffield City Council claimed the figures were "misleading" and that it has one of the lowest rates of landfill in the country, at 15 per cent of household waste, due to its investment in Energy Recovery.
Bradford Council said it is increasing its recycling rates every year.