ARCHIVE: Landfill bans and restrictions
Government will consult, subject to further analysis, on the introduction of further restrictions on the landfilling of biodegradable wastes and recyclable materials.
What is the reasoning behind this?
We are committed to continuing to reduce our reliance on landfill and minimising the impact landfill has on the environment including greenhouse gas emissions. Landfill should become the home of last resort for waste. The Government recognises that landfill may continue to have a place for disposal of some wastes, such as some hazardous wastes and as a means of restoring exhausted minerals workings.
Experience from other European countries is that imposing legal restrictions on the types of waste that can be landfilled has encouraged higher rates of recycling and recovery.
- Austria: Additional restrictions on landfill (2004)
- Denmark: Ban on combustible wastes suitable for incineration (1997)
- France: Ban on landfilling non-residual wastes (2002)
- Germany: Ban on non-treated wastes to landfill (1993); ban on combustible waste to landfill (2001)
- Netherlands: Ban on all wastes that can be reused or recovered (1995)
- Sweden: Ban on non-treated municipal solid wastes to landfill (1996); ban on combustible wastes to landfill (2002); ban on organic wastes to landfill (2005).
Does this go beyond what the Landfill Directive requires?
Reduction in the negative effects of landfilling of wastes is a main objective of the Directive as well as in line with the waste hierarchy. Further restrictions would be designed to deliver more environmental benefits.
Will industry have time to adjust to further restrictions?
We are still exploring the impact further bans might have and will do so in further full consultation with affected parties. We will want to ensure that environmentally sound alternative recovery and disposal routes are available by the time any further restrictions are introduced.
The environmental benefits of diverting waste from landfill
Landfill has been identified as the worst option for waste management, as it is a waste of valuable resources - and methane from biodegradable waste decomposing in landfills is a potent greenhouse gas. Methane from landfills accounts for 40% of UK methane emissions. Methane is 23 times as powerful a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide.
Restrictions on landfill already agreed under the Landfill Directive
The Landfill Directive sets targets for reducing biodegradable municipal waste to landfill. Other restrictions on landfill already implemented or to be implemented under the Directive include:
- Categorisation of all landfills as either hazardous, non-hazardous or inert
- End to the practice of co-disposal (where hazardous and non-hazardous wastes are disposed of in the same landfill)
- Pre-treatment of hazardous waste going to landfill
- Introduction of the waste acceptance criteria for hazardous wastes
- Ban on the landfill of used whole and shredded tyres
Further changes being/to be implemented by the Government and the Environment Agency include:
- Ban on the landfilling of liquid waste from 30 October 2007
- Requirement for the pre-treatment of non-hazardous waste from 30 October 2007
- Completion of the re-permitting of existing landfills under the Pollution Prevention and Control regime during 2007 and the closure of remaining landfills that are unable to meet the Landfill Directive requirements by 2009.
Page last modified:
24 May 2007
Page published: 24 May 2007