The Waste Management (Landfill) Regulations S.L. 549.29, are the national legislation that regulate landfills and their impact, and aim to transpose the provisions of the Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC.

The Landfill Regulations aim to ensure a progressive reduction of landfilling of waste, in particular of waste that is suitable for recycling or other recovery. The objective of the regulations is to prevent or reduce as far as possible negative effects on the environment, in particular on surface water, groundwater, soil, air, and on human health from the landfilling of waste by introducing stringent technical requirements for waste and landfills.

The Landfill Regulations classify landfills into three classes, depending on the type of waste a landfill is permitted to receive:

  • Landfill for Hazardous waste;
  • Landfill for Non-hazardous waste; and
  • Landfill for Inert waste.

Flow chart explaining the three classes of landfill

The regulations outline which waste can be accepted at different classes of landfills, as well as which waste streams cannot be accepted at landfills.

  • Only waste which has been treated may be landfilled;
  • Hazardous waste, as defined by the Waste Framework Directive, is to be assigned to a hazardous landfill;
  • Landfills for non-hazardous may accept municipal waste and other non-hazardous waste; and
  • Landfill sites for inert waste must be used only for inert waste.

It is to be highlighted that there are currently no permitted hazardous waste landfills and inert waste landfills in the Maltese Islands. For permitted landfills, click here.

There are a number of waste streams that cannot be accepted at landfills:

  • Liquid waste;
  • Explosive or oxidising waste;
  • Flammable waste;
  • Corrosive waste;
  • Hospital and other clinical wastes which are infectious;
  • Whole and shredded tyres;
  • Waste which has been separately collected for preparing for re-use and recycling; and
  • Any other type of waste which does not fulfil the Waste Acceptance Criteria

The regulations also establish what information is necessary within an operating permit for a landfill site.

Furthermore, the landfill regulations also provide detailed guidelines on the requirements for an engineered landfill, as well as the necessary monitoring procedures and closure procedures, including:

  • General requirements for all classes of landfills;
    • Water control and leachate management;
    • Gas control;
    • Measures to minimise nuisances and hazards;
    • Stability of waste mass;
    • Barriers to prevent free access; and
    • Requirements for the temporary storage of metallic mercury.
  • Top, Bottom and Side sealing permeability requirements, depending on landfill class, for the protection of soil and water;
  • Control and monitoring procedures in operation and after-care phases; and
  • Closure and after-care procedures

Further information on the Landfill Directive may be found here.