how many landfills are there

How Many Landfills are There?

how many landfills are thereThe question “How Many Landfills are There?” is one which has often been addressed to “The Landfill Site”. 

Please tell us if you know better, but as far as we know, nobody is keeping a record of how many landfills exist currently which are open and operating in the world, let alone keeping a list of the old and closed landfills. So, we don't have a comprehensive list to give you here.

In countries where there are landfill site licensing regulations and permits are required, the permitting body normally keeps a record, so if you have landed here and want to know how many landfills exist in your own country, or a specific country, we suggest that you search out the local environmental regulator's web site and see if they can tell you how many landfills there are.

Meanwhile, due to the kind assistance of Idan, a visitor to this site who found this table for us for landfills in Europe, we can at least provide a table of data for Europe from a report written in 2005 for the EU. You will notice that there was a big reduction in numbers over the period 1998 to 2001. That was due to the implementation of new Landfill Regulations. For landfill site owners the cost of implementing the new, and much higher environmental standards to Europe, which still exist today, was the reason for so many landfill site closures. Large numbers of landfill sites were simply not extended into new cells, when the new regulations came into force, and were shut.

Table 1: Number and type of landfills in (EU) Member States

Country Year Hazardous Non-Hazardous   Inert
Austria 1998  0  61 400*a
2001 0 53 752
Belgium-Flemish 2001 6 11 11
2004 4 7 5
Belgium-Walloon 2002 10*b 31 16
2004 10*b 10 16
Denmark 1998 1 120 37
2004 1 120 37
Finland 1998 7 351 8
 2003 15  162 71
France 1992 14  1200 No data
2005 13 20 No data
Germany 2000 22 1,838 No data
 2002 23 1,775  No data
Greece 2000 0 14 0
2005 0 39 0
Ireland 2001  0  48 2
2005 0 30 2
Italy 2001 10 765 626
2002 8 642 591
Luxembourg 2001 0 2 10
2004 0 2 10
Netherlands 1999  30*c
2004  30*c
Portugal 2002 1 57 1
2005 0 45 No data
Spain No data No data No data No data
No data No data No data No data
Sweden 1998 500*c
2002 44 225*d 47
UK 2001 200 2300*e
2004 12  938*e

*a – Inert landfills before the implementation of the Landfill Directive does not include landfills for excavated soil. *b – Hazardous landfills includes industrial landfills (no data was available on whether industrial landfills are hazardous) *c – Before the implementation of the Landfill Directive the different types of landfills have not been differentiated and all of the landfills have therefore been classes as non-hazardous. *d – Non hazardous landfills after the implementation of the Landfill Directive include 39 of an undifferentiated type of landfill. *e – Non Hazardous landfills include inert landfills. Do get in touch with the EA, and find out where the additional Adsense ads are which are worth the price charged when we last flew.


The table above is included in the results (page 22) of a study into the implementation of Council Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste undertaken on behalf of the European Commission (EC), Report on Implementation of the Landfill Directive. By Natalie Collier and Ed Perry. REF ENV.A.2/ETU/2004/0016

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