Traditionally the way most of the nation’s waste was disposed of until around 15 years ago, landfill sites are now much more advanced than simply a hole in the ground where waste is buried.
Improvements in recycling and technology mean that less waste is now being sent to landfill and that value is recovered from anything that does. Most landfill sites control and collect the gas that is released by the decomposing waste, using it to generate electricity through turbines. This electricity goes back into the national grid to help power businesses and homes. SITA UK is also the only landfill operator to generate vehicle fuel from landfill gas.
Strict regulation means that the environmental impact of landfill sites is very carefully managed and monitored, with the types of material that can be sent to landfill defined by law. Landfill sites are carefully designed and planned, with waste only being tipped into certain ‘active’ areas of the site at one time. This helps control the way the waste breaks down, making it easier to manage the gas and leachate produced and also helps manage the contours and restoration of the site. Once a landfill site has reached its capacity, operators are legally obliged to ensure that site is properly restored so it can be used in the future for agriculture, amenities or nature conservation.
Find out more about the landfill process.