Waste Policy

Waste Policy

International Regulation, Comparative and Contextual Perspectives

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Alexander Gillespie

The book’s premise is that all forms of waste are expanding exponentially, and are often of a hazardous nature. The author examines the size of the problem, considers how it is evolving, and assesses the legal and political implications. He then shows that existing solutions to reducing consumption and recycling are limited, and concludes by discussing potential ways forward.

Chapter 6: Disposal into the land

Alexander Gillespie

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, public international law


This chapter is about the disposal of waste into (or onto) the land. The wastes that this chapter covers include all wastes except that which is nuclear. Nuclear waste, which is also placed into the land, is dealt with in Chapter 9. Placing waste into the ground is the most common form of waste disposal in both the developed and developing world. Given that this is the dominant location for the disposal of waste, an accompanying large body of rules and principles has evolved to manage the associated problems in this area. These rules and principles have become well adopted and practised in most developed countries. The same cannot be said for many developing countries. Evidence of placing solid waste in an allocated spot on a map, and filling, tipping or dumping the waste into, or onto, the land began with the Cretan capital, Knossos, around 2000 BCE. These people of the early Minoan civilisation placed their solid waste in large pits and, as time progressed, covered the waste with layers of soil. By 500 BCE, this type of practice was being regulated, with ancient Athens being the first community to leave behind regulations detailing how the citizens organised the first municipal dump, in terms of pre-selected locations which had to be at least 1 mile from the city walls. The Romans followed this practice.

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