The selection of a Landfill Site

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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

international consensus.

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...