Within our region much of our waste is put into landfills. In the past there have been problems with old, poorly managed landfills contaminating waterways and producing dangerous landfill gases. Modern landfills are better managed with greater emphasis on avoiding environmental effects.
In the Waikato region much of our solid waste is disposed of in landfills or cleanfills. Solid waste and sludges are also:
In addition, some waste is:
As well as these legal methods, some solid waste is illegally dumped, for example, in areas where a resource consent has not been granted, or ends up as litter.
There are no commercial waste incinerators operating in the region. Waste incineration is a viable alternative to using landfills, but it can also have adverse effects on the environment.
When some waste is incinerated it gives off ‘greenhouse gases’ (such as carbon dioxide) and toxic substances (such as arsenic, mercury and dioxins). These emissions can be managed by special air pollution control equipment.
Any new waste incinerator in the region must first get a resource consent from Waikato Regional Council and the relevant district council. These consents set management standards to help protect the environment.
In the past there have been some unsatisfactory disposal sites in the region, but these have been closed or upgraded. In the Waikato region, all open and most closed landfills must have resource consents from Waikato Regional Council. These consents set management standards including:
These consents require that new landfills must use modern technology and management techniques to protect the environment. .