NEW EUROPEAN regulations for dealing with hazardous waste have led to an explosion in illegal landfilling that could pose a major environmental hazard, MPs were warned last week.
The Chartered Institute of Waste Management (CIWM) told a select committee of MPs that as much as 1Mt of hazardous waste will have been sent to landfill without pre-treatment in the year to next July.
The Landfill Directive demands that hazardous waste, such as chemical waste, sludges and highly flammable materials, is pre-treated before it is sent to designated hazardous waste sites.
But the amount of waste being sent to pre-treatment has not risen as expected, prompting fears that the hazardous waste is being illegally disposed of in cheaper, conventional landfill sites.
'From 16 July all hazardous waste had to be pre-treated.
We quite confidently expected that waste being sent for pre-treatment would increase.
It didn't, it decreased, ' said CIWM honorary treasurer and chartered civil engineer Roger Hewitt.
'Before July there was 2Mt of hazardous waste per year going to landfill that must now be pre-treated. We have not seen any of that waste, ' he said.
Better on-site elimination work and recycling plus some reclassification could account for some of the shortfall, but CIWM estimates that 1Mt remains 'missing'.