Landfill ReportIntroduction The world has now woken up to the need of environment protection. Waste management and landfill of waste are being given due consideration to save the environment from further degradation. Good recycling and composting procedure are very essential for the effective waste management.
There are two types of wastes, i.e. organic waste and residual waste. The waste management programmes in countries worldwide focus on the reduction of both types of wastes for sustainable development.
Efforts have been made in the United States, the United Kingdom and in other parts of the world to manage the wastes. New policies and regulations have been introduced to address this issue. In this context, the European Union Directive holds the key for influencing waste management policies in the European countries including the UK. The EU’s Landfill Directive (99/31/EC) “The European Union formulated a strategy on waste management for the first time in 1989.
The strategy set out waste management guidelines for the member countries. That included prevention of municipal waste by technologies, recycling and optimisation of disposal and regulation of transport used for landfill. The initiative made by the EU has evolved for years and finally a Landfill Directive was agreed in Europe on 26 April 1999” (POST, 2000). The Landfill Directive (99/31/EC) has the following characteristics: “The quantity of biodegradable solid waste disposed of to landfill must be reduced by 50% by 2009.
Explosive, flammable wastes, clinical wastes, tyres and liquid wastes would be banned from landfill.There will be three types of landfill facility: Hazardous waste facility, Non-hazardous waste facility and inert waste facility.The mixing of municipal solid waste and hazardous wastes within a landfill site would be banned.A conditioning plan will be prepared that will demonstrate how the site will meet the standards required by the directive within five years” (Allsopp et al, 2001).
People who live near the landfill sites bear with bad odours, greenhouse gases and contaminated water problems. These problems are associated with non-inert landfill sites as they are filled with food waste and other organic materials. In addition, the toxic materials such as used batteries cause problems in the landfill sites. The EU Landfill Directive has been adopted keeping the health hazards and environmental disasters in mind.
The UK Government’s Waste Management Policy & the EU’s Landfill Directive The UK government has always shown commitment to sustainable development. The government’s waste strategy aims to change the way of waste management. Waste decision-making is based on the principles of active participation by the individuals, communities and organisations to work together. It is very necessary to engage the local community in the decision making process.
The government has acknowledged the fact that the ultimate goal of waste reduction is to be achieved without any further delay from the health and environment perspective. The UK government is bound by the EC Landfill Directive (99/31/EC). The directive makes it mandatory to reduce the biodegradable municipal wastes sent to landfill. To meet the requirements of the directive, the government has set national targets for recovery of municipal waste and recycling the household waste.
“The targets set for local authorities require them to reduce the recycling and composting rates by 30% by 2010 and 33% by 2015. These targets were prescribed in the Guidance on Municipal Waste Management Strategies in 2001. The Landfill Directive also states that all wastes going to landfill must be checked before disposal. Local authorities.
Anyone, who fails to comply with the guidelines, will be penalised” (Allsopp et al, 2001). The UK is firm on adopting a strong posture on the issue of waste management. It targets to go beyond the European Commission Directive in tackling the biodegradable waste. Waste disposal authorities have also been allocated allowances under the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme.
To divert waste from landfill, the government committed itself to increasing the Landfill Tax rate for active waste. “The first priority of the government is to manage the organic waste, which is 30 to 60% of household waste. The EU Landfill Directive provides residents easy way of dealing with the food waste. Organic waste is collected on a regular basis.
Then it is taken to the sealed industrial composting facilities. Residual waste is collected and taken to the pre-treatment facilities. Pre-treatment facilities allow mechanical biological treatment of the waste. The amount of material that comes out of the mechanical shredding process is reduced and sent to landfill” (Allsopp et al, 2001).
Strategic planning is very important in meeting the objectives of waste management. Proper route-map, regular updating and continuous review process are always required for the management of waste. The strategy sets out objectives of achieving the target of waste reduction. All the regional and local priorities must be listed before the implementation of the action plan.
The strategy process is based on the analysis of the reliable sources of data. Concerned authorities need to assess the risk factors associated with the use of particular data. The strategy provides a critical evaluation of options available for waste management. Environmental outcomes decide the plans to meet the objectives set in the EU Landfill Directive.
Development of the plans is balanced against local, national and regional factors. Impact of the Landfill Directive on the Government’s Policy The UK always has been dependant on landfill. About 80 per cent of total municipal waste in the UK is sent to landfill. The EC Landfill Directive has begun to change the government’s waste management and landfill policy to a great extent.
The directive came into force in the UK in 2002 in the form of the Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002 (LetsRecycle.com). The new regulations required all landfill operators to submit a conditioning plan that reclassified the site as hazardous, non-hazardous or inert. It has a significant impact on the UK’s waste management policy.
Previously, landfills in the UK had been inert. After the new regulations came into force, non-hazardous sites can accept only non-hazardous waste. Co-disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous materials was practiced in the UK. Now, co-disposal has been completely banned (LetsRecycle.
com).;;The Landfill Directive also bans liquids and certain waste materials from being sent to landfill. It also tightens site monitoring and engineering standards. Compared to industrial and commercial waste, the amount of municipal waste is relatively small.
But the reports suggest that it is trailing in terms of recycling. Another major concern is that about 60 percent of municipal household waste is biodegradable. It produces the greenhouse gas methane that is detrimental for the environment. The Landfill Directive focuses on this grey area (POST, 2000).
;;“The Landfill Directive focuses on reducing the impact of municipal waste in the European countries. As the UK is heavily dependant on landfill, the EU had given it an extra four years to meet the European targets” (ETSU, 1999).;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;The government in the UK formulated legislations that focus on recycling. The Packaging Waste Directive has positive impact on the waste reduction policy.
In the April 2005, the government has announced the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS). The scheme is applicable to the English waste disposal authorities (LetsRecycle.com).The scheme introduces significant changes in the waste management policy.
The main objective of the scheme is to divert biodegradable waste from landfill. It also intends to provide a cost effective way to the UK for meeting the targets of reducing landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste. Landfill allowances have been given to each waste disposal authority in the UK.;;Environment legislations from the EU and the UK government have directly influenced the waste industry.
The Municipal Waste Recycling Act was enforced in the UK in 2003 (LetsRecycle.com). It has been acknowledged that separation of waste materials forms the basis of proper management of the waste stream. The UK has witnessed a significant development in the history of hazardous waste management.
“The co-disposal of hazardous waste with municipal biodegradable waste in landfill was completely banned. Now the hazardous wastes are being landfilled separately. The landfill sites will require proper license and certification of meeting the EU standards” (Allsopp et al, 2001).;;Under the new EU Landfill Directive, all hazardous wastes will have to be treated.
“The UK had created a Hazardous Waste Forum that set out an action plan to permanently end the landfilling of untreated hazardous waste in a phased manner. A taskforce was formed to monitor the implementation of the action plan and development of the treatment facilities for hazardous waste” (POST, 2000).;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;In 2003, the UK government announced a policy shift on Landfill Tax. It had decided to end the funding of waste management projects through the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme (LTCS) (LetsRecycle.
com). More funds will be spent directly on local authorities. Over the past few years, the government has made significant policy changes to meet the standards prescribed by the EU Landfill Directive. The focus has been shifted to complying with the directives.
All the waste-related policies in the UK are cost-effective.;;Another EU Directive on packaging waste has been implemented perfectly. It favours the light-weighting of packaging. If the reduction in layers of packaging is taken into account, it can be seen as a welcome step.
It has been noticed that the Packaging Directive has encouraged retailers to use lighter-weight materials such as plastic (POST, 2000).;;The UK government has decided to set industry targets for recycling and waste reduction beyond the EU Landfill Directive. Protection of environment is being given top priority through legislations and tax measures. The UK has been late in adopting the EU waste policy.
However, with new measures and legislative mechanisms, it has made significant progress on this front.;Conclusion;There is no denying in the fact that proper waste management holds the key for a better future with healthy environment. This is not possible without stricter guidelines. The European Union realised the environmental problems and the need for a proper solution.
The EU Landfill Directive (99/31/EC) is an effective step on this regard. There was a need for a proper waste management policy in the UK because of huge landfill activities on its soil. The landfill directive came as a blessing in disguise. The impact of the directive on the UK government’s waste management policy is loud and clear.
Now the country can hope for a healthy environment for its next generation.;;;;;;;;;;;;Bibliography:;Allsopp, M., Costner, P. ; Johnston, P.
(2001). Incineration and Human Health: State of Knowledge of the Impacts of Waste Incinerators on Human Health. Greenpeace.;ETSU.
(1999). Household Waste Management in the UK: some examples of current practise.;LetsRecycle.com.
(2003, March). Landfill Directive. Retrieved January 03, 2006, from http://www.letsrecycle.
com/legislation/landfill_directive.jsp;The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. (2000). Incineration of Household Waste: POST149.;;;;