A landfill site is an area where waste is disposed of by burying it in the ground, especially as a method of filling in or reclaiming excavated pits. In the past Suffolk’s non-recyclable waste went to landfill but from December 2014 it goes to Suffolk’s Energy from Waste Facility.

Landfill History                                                                                                                                                                                             

Following the industrial revolution, wastes from domestic and industrial premises started to cause major health issues in cities and towns throughout Europe. The need to deal with these wastes in an organised way was recognised and they introduced collection, reclamation and disposal services for domestic waste. Landfilling of wastes was firmly established at this time.

In the 1970s there was more degradable materials been sent to larger landfill sites, posing greater risks and meaning that legal controls had to be tightened. In particular it meant that the bases and sides of landfill sites had to be lined and the tops of completed sites had to be sealed. These measures were to prevent (a) liquid contaminants from the landfills getting in surrounding water systems and (b) explosive or dangerous gases escaping and threatening areas nearby. The pumping out of gas and liquid (leachate) was also required. Over time however all the risks above reduce.

Suffolk's Energy from Waste Facility                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Councils are now moving away from landfilling because of the impact that it has on the surrounding environment and expense involved. Suffolk's Energy from Waste Facility (operational since December 2014) is a result of this. The Energy from Waste Facility takes Suffolk's non-recyclable waste and incinerates it. In the process it turns the waste into electricity for the National Grid and also produces heat for local use. For more information on the Energy from Waste facility click here.

Closed Landfill Monitoring                                                                                                                                             

To comply with environmental regulations Suffolk County Council monitors closed landfill sites to manage the risk from gases and to maintain water quality in the surrounding area.

At two of the closed landfill sites groundwater is pumped out and treated to prevent deterioration of water resources in the vicinity.

At six of the closed landfill sites gas is extracted. In three cases the gas is burned in generators to produce electricity.


To help reduce the amount sent to landfill visit the A-Z of Recycling to find out ways to Reduce, Reuse or Recycle a whole range of everyday items.