Sustainable landfilling means achieving ‘final storage quality’, says report

Sustainable landfill in the UK: a review of current knowledge & outstanding research and development says that sustainable landfill can only be achieved if each generation manages its waste to final storage quality (FSQ).

FSQ is met when any emissions to the environment from residues are acceptable and do not need further treatment.

The study is the first report published by The Environmental Services Association Research Trust (ESART), in partnership with The Norlands Foundation.

According to the report, sustainability can only be achieved within a generation of 30 years by pre-treating to FSQ levels before landfilling, or by degrading and flushing the waste once it has been buried. Flushing would need to be at a higher rate than at present.

The research was undertaken by Knox Associates and notes both that pre-treatment technologies (such as incineration, composting or conventional liquid waste treatment plants) do not produce FSQ residues and also that there is no documented case of active waste having been taken to FSQ once landfilled.

Sustainable landfill in the UK observes that, uniquely in Europe, the UK has attempted to set FSQ levels. The study concludes with a list of research initiatives addressing FSQ.

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