The Landfill Directive restricts waste inputs to landfill in two ways - by banning certain wastes from all landfills and by applying waste acceptance criteria to the different types of landfill.
Wastes banned from landfill
There are certain types of waste that you cannot dispose of to landfill. These must either be recovered, recycled or disposed of in other ways, for example incineration. Banned wastes include:
- any liquid waste
- infectious medical or veterinary waste
- whole or shredded used tyres
- waste that might cause a problem in the landfill (eg hot or chemically active waste)
- any waste that does not meet the waste acceptance criteria for that class of landfill
Waste acceptance criteria
Rules on how waste is received and disposed of at landfills include:
- Waste producers must decide whether landfill is the best option for managing their waste.
- Waste must be checked at the landfill site.
- Waste must be treated before it is accepted at a landfill site. Use the example form to confirm the waste has been treated:
- Pre-treatment confirmation form (PDF, 50KB)
The waste acceptance procedures and criteria are set out in the Council Decision (2003/33/EC), and in Schedule 10 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. We have produced further guidance to assist you:
Waste acceptance procedures
All waste must be assessed and described to provide the information required by the Directive. The council decision defines this as ‘basic characterisation’.
The waste producer can then assess whether landfill is the best option for their waste. If it is, they must decide which class of landfill and which landfill sites their waste can go to.
Landfill operators must subject waste accepted for disposal to ‘compliance testing’ and ‘on-site verification’ to confirm that the wastes meet the permit requirements, waste acceptance criteria and the Directive.
The Council Decision provides a list of waste types that can be accepted without testing at landfills for inert waste. For waste suspected of being contaminated or waste that is not on that list, it needs to be demonstrated through testing that they are acceptable. The council decision sets numerical limits for leaching and other limit values which wastes must meet in order to be acceptable at landfill for inert waste.
The waste acceptance criteria largely consist of numerical limits for leachable substances and organic content, along with standards for physical stability. For organic content, the parameters are:
- Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC)
- Total Organic Carbon (TOC)
- Loss on Ignition (LOI)
Operators can use either LOI or TOC content. We have no preference which measure is used. Where numerical limits are given for parameters, wastes need to be tested against those. The testing methods are set out in the council decision.
Any waste that can not meet the waste acceptance criteria may be a problematic waste stream:
Waste acceptance criteria apply but there are no numerical limits for non-hazardous waste. The control over waste acceptance is through the permit conditions.
Additional requirements on specific waste types
The council decision and Environmental Permitting Regulations also provide criteria for these specific waste types:
- gypsum and plasterboard
- stable non-reactive hazardous waste (being disposed of in landfill for non-hazardous waste)
- underground storage of wastes
More information on the disposal of gypsum wastes: