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Why do we need to find an alternative to landfill?

What is real, residual or 'black bag' rubbish'?Reduce landfill Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

This is all the rubbish left over once you have reduced, reused, recycled and composted everything you can. Almost half of our real rubbish ends up in landfill sites across Gloucestershire. Now is the time for us to find a more environmentally friendly and cost effective way of dealing with our this rubbish.

What is landfill?

The simplest way to describe landfill is to think of a huge hole in the ground that is gradually filled up with our rubbish. The hole is separated into smaller cells and once a cell is full it is sealed. Rubbish in the cells rots and generates methane gas and CO2.  Methane gas has to be extracted from the cells and is burnt off, sometimes generating electricity that can be used for machinery or site offices.

Once the entire landfill site is full, it is covered over and made safe so the land can be used for another purpose. Old sites have been used as golf courses, football pitches or for grazing animals. However, because of the rubbish buried underneath the ground, there are restrictions on what can be developed and monitoring is required.

How many landfill sites are there in Gloucestershire?

There are three active landfill sites in Gloucestershire: one in Hempsted and two in Bishop's Cleeve (one of which is a licensed to dispose of hazardous waste).

Why do we need to stop sending our rubbish to landfill sites?

Currently almost half of our household rubbish ends up in landfill sites across Gloucestershire. Feedback from local people says that you would like the council to find a better way of dealing with our waste than burying it.   There are three very good reasons why we should stop landfilling our household rubbish:-

  • It's expensive for local taxpayers!  From April 2013, the county council has to pay tax to the government of £72 for every tonne of waste that goes to landfill,
  • To prevent greenhouse gases (including methane that is 21 times more harmful than CO2) into the atmosphere.
  • By landfilling, we are also ignoring the possibility of recovering something useful, like extra recycling, energy or heat, from our waste.