Zero to Landfill audits

'Zero Waste to Landfill' has become a widespread aspiration for businesses that wish to be able to demonstrate their environmental credentials. And with the European Waste Hierarchy that places landfill in the naughty corner now being part of the legal Duty of Care process, in time, this is likely to become a regulated issue. 

In the meantime, how do companies demonstrate 'zero to landfill' and what does it really mean?

In simple terms, it means precisely that - all of the waste generated by a site goes for reuse, recycling or energy recovery. But in practice, it is more difficult that it may at first seem.

If, for instance, packaged food waste is going to an anaerobic digestion site, can it be guaranteed that none of the removed - and often heavily contaminated - packaging will not be landfilled? And if general waste is taken to a waste to energy facility which may produce 15-20% ash, what happens to that? Is the equation applied to specific waste by a facility or just on a mass balance basis? What happens if a transfer station that bulks up waste for Refuse Derived Fuel has a fire? Is the fire-contaminated waste landfilled and is landfill the contractor's contingency disposal route?

The contractual terms between a waste producer and its waste management company must therefore be clearly defined, but for a waste producer to claim 'zero to landfill', it should also ensure it has the tools to verify and audit the disposal chain. 

This requires a detailed understanding of the waste management process and the ability to identify potential leakage and dig into the disposal chain. Compliance records need to be tracked, sorting and processing facilities measured and outputs followed through each stage to end use. Simply to say that no waste goes direct to landfill from a site is not sufficient to claim zero to landfill. 

360 Environmental has the credentials to provide this auditing service and can can assist any company wishing to verify its processes to ensure that where 'zero to landfill' is claimed by its contractor, they can be confident it is so.



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