Landfill of waste
Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?
It aims to prevent, or reduce as much as possible, any negative impact from landfill on surface water, groundwater, soil, air or human health.
It does so by introducing stringent technical requirements.
Landfill sites are divided into 3 categories:
- landfills for hazardous waste;
- landfills for non-hazardous waste; and
- landfills for inert waste (waste which will not decompose or burn, such as gravel, sand and stone).
EU countries must implement national strategies to progressively reduce the amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfills.
Landfill facilities may not accept used tyres or waste which is liquid, flammable, explosive or corrosive, or from hospitals and medical and veterinary practices.
Only waste that has been treated may be landfilled.
Municipal waste may go to landfills for non-hazardous waste.
National authorities must ensure that the price operators charge for disposing of waste covers all the costs involved from opening to final closure of the site.
Operators of landfill sites must apply for a permit and provide the following information:
- the identity of the applicant, and, in some cases, the operator;
- a description of the type and quantity of waste to be deposited;
- the capacity and a description of the site, including operating, monitoring and control plans;
- ways of preventing and reducing pollution; and
- details of closure and after-care procedures.
In 2014, amending Directive 2014/52/EU was adopted to strengthen the quality of the procedure on the assessment of the effects of projects on the environment set out in Directive 2011/92/EU (see summary). This was necessary to ensure consistency and synergy with other areas of EU legislation and policies.
Decision 2003/33/EC lays down the criteria and procedures for the acceptance of waste at landfills.
Amending Directive (EU) 2018/850
To underpin the EU’s transition to a circular economy, Directive (EU) 2018/850 amends Directive 1999/31/EC.
Directive (EU) 2018/850:
- introduces restrictions on landfilling from 2030 of all waste that is suitable for recycling or other material or energy recovery;
- seeks to limit the share of municipal waste landfilled to 10% by 2035;
- introduces rules on calculating the attainment of municipal waste targets and requires EU countries to put in place an effective quality control and traceability system for municipal waste landfilled;
- requires the European Commission, with the European Environment Agency, 3 years before each deadline, to draw up early warning reports to identify shortcomings in the attainment of the targets and recommending action to be taken;
- allows EU countries to use economic instruments and other measures to encourage the application of the waste hierarchy* introduced under Directive 2008/98/EC, the Waste Framework Directive (see summary).
FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?
Directive 1999/31/EC has applied since 16 July 1999 and had to become law in the EU countries by 16 July 2001.
Amending Directive (EU) 2018/850 had to become law in the EU countries by 5 July 2020.
For more information, see:
Waste (European Commission).
Waste hierarchy: a 5-step hierarchy where prevention is the best option, followed by re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery, with disposal such as landfill as the last resort.
Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste (OJ L 182, 16.7.1999, pp. 1-19)
Successive amendments to Directive 1999/31/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (codification) (OJ L 26, 28.1.2012, pp. 1-21)
See consolidated version.
Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives (OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, pp. 3-30)
See consolidated version.
Council Decision 2003/33/EC of 19 December 2002 establishing criteria and procedures for the acceptance of waste at landfills pursuant to Article 16 of and Annex II to Directive 1999/31/EC (OJ L 11, 16.1.2003, pp. 27-49)
last update 22.07.2020