Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Landfill waste

Landfill waste

You must not send certain wastes to landfill including:

  • liquid waste - known as 'trade effluent' - see our guideline: Trade effluent – managing liquid wastes
  • used tyres
  • healthcare wastes - such as infectious clinical wastes from hospitals, medical premises or veterinary establishments
  • wastes with dangerous characteristics - including explosive, corrosive, flammable or oxidising.

You can only dispose of low-level radioactive waste in landfill. If you are not sure whether a substance or object is classed as low-level radioactive, contact your environmental regulator.

Contact your environmental regulator

You must check that any landfill site receiving your waste has a pollution prevention and control permit and is allowed to receive your type of waste.

Treating waste for landfill

Treating waste reduces the impact it has on the environment and encourages recovery and recycling. Treatment is a physical, thermal (eg incineration), chemical or biological (eg composting) process, which changes the characteristics of the waste.

All waste must be treated before you send it to landfill, except:

  • inert waste that cannot be treated
  • any other waste for which treatment would not reduce its quantity or its hazard to human health and the environment.

You can either treat waste yourself, or ensure that a later holder of the waste will treat it before it is sent to landfill.

SEPA: Guide to the prior treatment of waste for landfill

Scotland: What is the ban on biodegradable Municipal Waste?

From 1 Jan 2021, landfill operators in Scotland will be prohibited from accepting Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW) for disposal at the landfill.

BMW is household waste, and waste from commercial, industrial or institutional sites that is similar to household waste. The ban covers waste that includes materials such as:

  • paper and cardboard
  • kitchen and canteen waste
  • clothing
  • garden waste.

For a full description of BMW and the list of EWC codes that are affected by the ban read the SEPA guidance note.

SEPA: Biodegradable municipal waste landfill ban

Reducing your landfill costs

The most effective way of reducing the cost of sending waste to landfill is to reduce the amount of waste you produce.

Reduce, re-use and recycle your business waste

Further information

NetRegs: Duty of Care for waste (Scotland) leaflet (PDF - 997KB)

Find your nearest waste site

NIEA: Duty of Care – A Code of Practice

Scottish Government: Duty of care - a code of practice

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