The Government’s waste strategy for England 2007 set out that landfill should be the option of last resort for waste. The strategy noted that several EU member states have found that imposing restrictions on the types of waste that can be landfilled, or indeed outright bans on the landfilling of particular waste streams, has encouraged higher rates of recycling and recovery in these countries. It announced the government’s intentions, subject to further analysis, to consult on whether the introduction of further restrictions on the landfilling of biodegradable wastes or recyclable materials would make an effective contribution to the objectives set out in the strategy, which are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase resource efficiency. Of particular interest is the extent to which bans or restrictions in other countries have targeted what the government sees as “priority‟ materials, whose diversion from landfill realises significant environmental benefits: paper, food and green waste, glass, aluminium, wood, plastic and textiles.
The aim of this research was to contribute to this analysis. The report sets out how four EU countries, a region of an EU country, and a US state have implemented restrictions or bans on the landfilling of a range of waste materials, and, in some cases, also bans on incineration. Drawing on in-depth interviews with key stakeholders both in government and the waste industry, the report examines what the restrictions and bans have meant, both in theory and in practice. This research explores the rationale for the bans and restrictions within the case study area’s, the analysis of alternatives, and their effects and interactions with other policy instruments. Stakeholder reception in the case study areas was also explored, the extent to which the impact of landfill bans had been evaluated and what direction such policy - in the case study area’s - will take in future.