European Commission, DG XI

EU Directive on the Landfill of Waste


Courtesy of European Commission, DG XI

The Commission has adopted a new Proposal on the Landfill of Waste. The objective of this Proposal is to reduce the impact of waste disposal on the environment. Disposal of waste is the option of last resort in the hierarchy of waste management principles as stated by the Commission in its Waste Strategy Review of July 1996. In the Review the Commission gives clear preference to minimization and recovery of waste. Waste disposal does not represent an efficient form of waste management. It does not prevent waste nor does it promote recovery of material or energy. In addition it has a substantial impact on the environment. Therefore, it is essential to limit waste disposal and ensure that waste disposal occurs under optimal conditions. Thus, the Proposal provides for a number of safeguards with respect to both existing and new landfills. It includes provisions for controlling the opening, management, closure and monitoring of landfill sites, together with provisions for acceptability of waste in landfills. Also, in order to prevent waste disposal the Proposal includes specific measures concerning the type of waste which is disposed of in landfills. It includes in particular restrictions on biodegradable municipal waste and used tyres. In order to ensure optimal protection the Proposal also provides for three different types of landfills.

The Commission submitted a Proposal for a Directive on the Landfill of Waste to the Council on 22 July 1991. In 1995 a Common Position was reached by the Council. The European Parliament however, did not find the level of environmental protection in the Common Position sufficient and therefore, on 22 May 1996, rejected it. The Commission subsequently withdrew its Proposal. In June 1996 the Council invited the Commission to present a new Proposal on the Landfill of Waste as soon as possible.


The objectives of the new Proposal are to prevent and reduce the adverse effects of existing and new landfills on the environment, in particular the pollution of surface water, ground water, soil and air, as well as the resulting risks to human health. The Proposal also seeks to harmonize the environmental and technical standards for the landfill of waste.

To achieve these objectives, procedures are provided for controlling the opening, management, closure and monitoring of a site and the acceptability of the waste in the landfill.

In particular with the aim of reducing the 'global greenhouse effect', the Proposal includes provisions to reduce the landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste as well as provisions to ensure that the gases produced in new as well as existing landfills are collected, treated and used.

To reduce the volume or hazardousness nature of the waste, the Proposal requires all waste to be treated before landfilling. To ensure high environmental protection during handling and control of waste going to landfills, the Proposal identifies waste specific landfills. Hereby, the Proposal ensures that landfills for non-hazardous waste are used only for non-hazardous waste, landfills for hazardous waste are used only for hazardous waste and landfill for inert waste are used only for inert waste.

The Priority Waste Stream Working Group on used tyres in 1994 proposed a ban on the landfilling of tyres. This has been taken into account in the Proposal.

To ensure that all costs of the setting up, operation and closure of a landfill site are covered, the Proposal requires Member States to increase the cost of landfilling.

Customer comments

No comments were found for EU Directive on the Landfill of Waste. Be the first to comment!