Under this new regulation, certain hazardous wastes will no longer be permitted on landfill sites. These wastes include:

  • explosive and oxidizing substances;
  • any flammable or highly flammable chemicals;
  • corrosive chemicals;
  • infectious clinical waste;
  • any waste in liquid form, except sludge;
  • any laboratory-produced chemicals which are not new or not known for their effects on the environment or man.

Hazardous wastes banned by the EC’s Landfill Directive will stop being landfilled immediately. Instead, they will be managed by treatment or incinerated.

Local authorities will also be given permits dictating how much waste can be landfilled. Once they have run out of permits they must apply to the Government for further permits and pay for them. Landfill owners wishing to continue operating under the new laws must submit a ‘Conditioning Plan’, detailing how they will comply with the regulations.

The Environment Agency (EA) will also regularly inspect landfill sites to ensure that no illegal wastes will be dumped on the sites. The practise of mixing hazardous and non-hazardous materials will also no longer be allowed. Landfill companies that do not comply with these new regulations will be subject to fines and possible prosecution.

EDGE Consultants Ltd, an environmental and waste-management engineering company, says: “The Directive will lead to higher costs to waste producers, brownfield land developers, waste management contractors as well as to landfill operators. Landfilling will become more expensive, and for hazardous waste, much more expensive.”

According to the EA, England and Wales produced approximately 6.1 million tonnes of ‘special’ – in other words, hazardous – waste in 2000.

  • About 43% – 2.6 million tonnes was landfilled.
  • Approximately 18% was recycled or re-used.

Despite the costs to waste management companies, who previously relied on the use of cheap landfills, waste disposal reforms are part of the Department for Environment, Food, & Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA’s) plan for long-term, sustainable development. This is intended to create as little impact on the environment as possible.

Story by Maya Garcia

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