About 40% of Municipal Waste in Europe is still landfilled, even though landfill gas (methane) contributes significantly to global warming (25 times more significant in mass than CO2).
The European Landfill Directive sets strict diversion targets for the landfilling of biodegradable waste. The deadline for reducing landfilling by 50% was in 2009 and European Member States that miss this deadline face hefty fines. By 2016 the biodegradable waste being sent to landfills must be reduced by 65% (based on the amount landfilled in 1995).
Landfill not only takes up land that could be better used for other purposes, it buries waste that can be a source of energy – it also significantly adds to global warming.
Member States who landfilled more than 80% of municipal waste in 1995 could apply for derogation on the application of the Landfill Directive by up to 4 years: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. For these Member States the deadlines are 50% by 2013 and 65% by 2020.