Landfills do not always provide a very sustainable way of getting rid of rubbish. They can cause pollution, and no one wants to live very near to them. Consequently, recent waste policies have highlighted the need to move away from this method of disposal.
The EC Landfill Directive 1999/31 came into force in the EU on 16 July 1999. The bulk of this law came into force in the UK in June 2002, under the new Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002. The Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly have brought forward separate legislation to implement the Directive.
The landfill Directive was designed to:
increase waste recycling and recovery
- reduce potentially polluting emissions from landfill
The directive must be fully implemented by July 2009, the last part to be implemented in England and Wales is the ban of untreated wastes and liquid wastes in October 2007.
The Environment Agency has posted a fact sheet on its website, describing how changes to the landfill regulations will affect the contaminated land sector. Please click here to download the fact sheet.
Businesses that send waste to landfill should check that it is already being treated. If it isn't, the business either needs to treat the waste or get a waste management firm to do so.
The following steps have already been implemented as part of the landfill directive:
- "ensuring that hazardous waste is only disposed of in certain sites and banning the disposal of hazardous liquid wastes (July 2004)
- ensuring that wastes are only disposed of in accordance with waste acceptance criteria (July 2005)
- banning the disposal of used tyres (2005 & 2006)" (source: Environment Agency)