Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Wastes you cannot landfill

Wastes you cannot landfill

There are certain types of waste that you cannot accept at your landfill. These include:

  • any waste in liquid form, including waste waters but excluding sludge
  • waste which in a landfill would be explosive, corrosive, oxidising, flammable or highly flammable
  • hospital and other clinical wastes from medical or veterinary establishments, which are infectious
  • chemical substances from research and development or teaching activities, such as laboratory residues, which are not identified or which are new and whose effects on people and the environment are not known
  • whole used tyres - apart from tyres used as engineering material, bicycle tyres and tyres with an outside diameter of more than 1,400 millimetres
  • shredded used tyres - apart from bicycle tyres and tyres with an outside diameter above 1,400 millimetres
  • waste that might cause a problem in the landfill, eg hot or chemically active waste
  • any waste that does not meet the waste acceptance criteria for that class of landfill - see the page in this guideline: Waste acceptance at landfills

In Scotland, separately collected dry recyclables are banned from landfill.

Further information can be found on the Scottish Government website:

Scottish Government: Duty of Care – A Code of Practice

In Northern Ireland the NIEA has produced guidance:

NIEA Regulatory Position Statement – Separate Collection of Dry Recyclables

Scotland: What is the ban on biodegradable Municipal Waste?

From 31 December 2025, 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

Further information

SEPA: Landfill guidance

NIEA: See the Landfill (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004

NIEA: Refer to the Environment Agency guidance on Waste Acceptance at Landfill

In this guideline

Pollution prevention and control permits for landfill sites

Wastes you cannot landfill

Waste acceptance at landfills

Designing and monitoring landfills

Landfill tax

Closed landfill sites

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