A summary of the types of waste handled by permitted waste management facilities in 2009.
This information will be useful for local authorities, planning bodies and businesses involved in planning for future waste facilities.
These pages form one of a series of annual reports summarising our waste data.
You can download a report summarising data for England and Wales from the 'downloads' box on the right in PDF format. Detailed information at both national and regional level can be accessed from the data tables page:
At the end of 2009 in England and Wales there were:
- 497 operational permitted landfills either meeting the requirements of the Landfill Directive, operating subject to an ongoing appeal or to an agreed landfill extension;
The following had an environmental permit in force:
- 3,591 transfer stations;
- 1,381 treatment facilities;
- 2,411 metal recycling sites;
- 94 waste incinerators accepting waste from off-site sources.
During 2009 regulated facilities in England and Wales managed a total of around 134 million tonnes of waste. Of this:
- 46.5 million tonnes were landfilled;
- 41.9 million tonnes were transferred, before final disposal or recovery;
- 27.4 million tonnes were treated;
- 13.2 million tonnes were handled through metal recycling facilities;
- 5.4 million tonnes were incinerated.
At the end of 2009 there were:
- 614 million cubic metres of available landfill capacity, with 68 per cent of this available at merchant non-hazardous sites;
- 18 million cubic metres available at hazardous waste only sites;
- nearly eight years of landfill life left at sites for non-hazardous wastes in England and Wales, at 2009 input rates.
During 2009, in England and Wales, 4.3 million tonnes of hazardous waste were produced, generated from nearly 170,000 businesses and industry, with:
- 13 per cent landfilled;
- 22 per cent transferred, before final disposal or recovery;
- 35 per cent treated;
- 23 per cent recycled, recovered or re-used;
- seven per cent incinerated.
Waste to landfill continued to decrease. It fell by over 18 per cent between 2008 and 2009 and has fallen nearly 45 per cent since 2000. One of the principal reasons is the implementation of the Landfill Directive. Many older landfill sites that did not meet the stringent requirements of the Directive had to close by July 2009 at the latest. Between 2008 and 2009 there was a fall in economic activity with an associated reduction in waste generated.
Remaining capacity at landfill sites fell by over five per cent during 2009. Overall, since 2000 landfill capacity has decreased by 19 per cent.
Inputs through permitted transfer facilities decreased by 10 per cent between 2008 and 2009.
Overall inputs through permitted treatment facilities have decreased by one per cent, but there was an increase of around 350,000 tonnes (10 per cent) in the waste through composting plants.
Hazardous waste production in England and Wales has decreased since 2004 by 17 per cent. The majority of the decrease is due to the reduction in liquid inputs to one treatment facility on Teesside in 2009.
In 2009 hazardous waste:
- production decreased by 34 per cent to 4.3 million tonnes;
- landfilled decreased by 48 per cent to just over half a million tonnes;
- treatment decreased by 43 per cent;
- recycled/re-used decreased by less than 13 per cent.
You can access more detailed information on hazardous waste movements submitted by operators, by visiting our data tables page:
You can access details on the numbers of permitted waste management facilities for England and Wales, from our data tables page:
Because many landfill sites have closed, we will only report on the number of operational sites. This means those that have an appropriate environmental permit to continue operating, those that are still open under a waste management licence because they are the subject of an ongoing appeal and any that have a nationally agreed extension to continue operating in the short term.
Notified waste shipments 2009
This data is being quality assured at the current time and may be subject to change in the near future. Any updates will appear on this page with an explanation of any changes made.
These statistics relate only to the shipment of wastes that require prior written notification and consent. Notifiable wastes mainly consist of those on the 'Amber' List of the Waste Shipments Regulation (EC) 1013/2006 and will have some hazardous component. We do not collect data on the movement of non-notifiable waste shipments.
A total of 142,500 tonnes of notifiable wastes were imported into England and Wales in 2009. This was a 15 per cent increase on the amount imported in 2008.
Notifiable waste imports, by tonnage, were mainly for recovery (91 per cent) and our biggest import markets for 2009 were the Republic of Ireland (44 per cent), France (24 per cent) and The Netherlands (15 per cent). The primary import, by tonnage, was a ship which represented 22 per cent of all the waste imported. Solvents were the next biggest representing around 15 per cent of the total imports.
A total of 243,500 tonnes of notifiable wastes were exported from England and Wales in 2009; this was a 30 per cent increase on the amount of waste exported in 2008. Notifiable waste exports for 2009 were mainly for recovery (99.5 per cent) and our biggest export markets were Germany (40 per cent), Belgium (22 per cent) and France (15 per cent).
The primary export by tonnage was treated cork and wood wastes which represented 32 per cent of all waste exported. Other significant notifiable waste exports were: dross, scalings and other wastes from the manufacture of iron or steel (12 per cent); ships exported for dismantling (11 per cent); waste having hazardous heavy metals as constituents or contaminants, excluding metal waste in massive form (nine per cent); lead-acid batteries (eight per cent) and waste mineral oils (seven per cent).
Exports of non-hazardous wastes to non-OECD (Organisation for Economical Co-operation and Development) countries under notification controls remain a small part of the permitted market. In 2009 we exported 39 tonnes of plastics, arising from non-hazardous electrical and electronic equipment, to Singapore.
Improving waste information
We will be introducing the ability of permitted site operators to report site return data via our website. This will make data reporting easier, allowing us to provide the information to users faster. We have been writing to operators about this and any queries should be directed to the National Waste Returns Technical Team:
Legislative changes mean we will now be collecting data from larger industrial processes that use waste. In future, this information will help provide a more complete picture of what happens to our waste.
An interrogatable CD is available, with detailed 2009 data from our operator waste returns for England and Wales, at a cost of £100. A complementary CD containing hazardous waste data is also available free of charge. They can be obtained from our publications catalogue:
- Hazardous waste interrogator 2009 - product code is GEHO0111BTIL-E-C
- Waste data interrogator 2009 - product code is GEHO0111BTIK-E-C.
Do you want to find out more?
Detailed information is available on the data tables page in Excel format:
Information about the data and the assumptions made in the collation and presentation of it can be found on our About the Data page: