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The Choosing of a Landfill Site
There is currently much debate on the desirability of landfilling particular wastes, the practicability of alternatives
such as waste minimisation or pre-treatment, the extent of waste pre-treatment required, and of the most appropriate
landfilling strategies for the final residues. This debate is likely to stimulate significant developments in landfilling
methods during the next decade. Current and proposed landfill techniques are described in this information sheet.
Types of landfill
Landfill techniques are dependent upon both the type of waste and the landfill management strategy. A commonly used
classification of landfills, according to waste type only, is described below, together with a classification according to landfill
The EU Draft Landfill Directive recognises three main types of landfill:
Hazardous waste landfill
Municipal waste landfill
Inert waste landfill
Similar categories are used in many other parts of the world. In practice, these categories are not clear-cut.
The Draft Directive
recognises variants, such as mono-disposal - where only a single waste type (which may or may not be hazardous) is deposited
- and joint-disposal - where municipal and hazardous wastes may be co-deposited in order to gain benefit from municipal
waste decomposition processes. The landfilling of hazardous wastes is a contentious issue and one on which there is not
Further complications arise from the difficulty of classifying wastes accurately, particularly the distinction between
'hazardous'/'non-hazardous' and of ensuring that 'inert' wastes are genuinely inert. In practice, many wastes described as 'inert'
undergo degradation reactions similar to those of municipal solid waste (MSW), albeit at lower rates, with consequent
environmental risks from gas and leachate.
Alternatively, landfills can be categorised according to their management strategy. Four distinct strategies have evolved for the
management of landfills (Hjelmar et al, 1995), their selection being dependent upon...