Landfill Efficiencies Continue to Improve
- 15 August 2012
- Company & Industry News
June this year was the 10th Anniversary of the Landfill Regulations for England and Wales. After a decade of implementation, we analyse the data and determine whether the overall operation has been a success or a failure.
15th June 2002 marked the beginning of the Landfill Regulations for England and Wales. These regulations were introduced to enforce the Landfill Directive of 1999 which aimed improve the efficiency of the UK's landfill sites and increase awareness about the dangers of negligent waste disposal.
The regulations changed the face of waste management and enforced reuse, recycle, reduce and prevention procedures to reduce, and eradicate where necessary, harmful toxins reaching landfill. They began by categorising UK landfill sites to only be able to manage a certain type of waste. These sites were then only permitted to take hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste or inert waste dependent on the sites classification.
The overall objective has been a resounding success.
The graph from a publication in May from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) shows that the overall amount of waste has decreased, the amount of local authority collected waste reaching landfill has more than halved since 2002 and the amount of waste that has been recycled or composted has continued to increases year upon year since the regulations came into force.
The graph shows a landfill-bound waste reduction of over 50% in just 10 years which echoes the message that the regulations have been an overall success.
Although the past decade has been a hugely successful one, the task is far from finished. The Landfill Regulations are incessantly deriving new initiatives that continue to make the landfill process as efficient as possible.
The most effective of these initiatives to date have been The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive.
These directives were introduced to tackle the problem of harmful E-waste reaching landfill and so far have produced the best results for the Regulations board.
The Landfill Regulations will undoubtedly have the greatest results if they can increase awareness at consumer level and echo the need for individuals, businesses and households to recycle and reuse where possible to minimise the amount of waste heading to landfill.
Until only recently, the Landfill Regulations had seen year upon year reductions in the amount of household waste being produced. As you can see in the graph, the amounts have begun to level out.
If the Landfill Regulations are to continue to succeed throughout the next decade and beyond, the Government need to step in and lend a helping hand. Fixed penalties for households may sound harsh to individuals but could be just one of many ways to increase awareness and prevent landfill sites being used recklessly.
All in all however, the past 10 years have been exceptional. The Landfill regulations should be congratulated on a decade of success and should be given the assistance needed from all sectors to continue to provide what is after all, a safer, greener, cleaner environment for us all.