Since 2005, municipal waste/household waste may no longer be disposed of without treatment. This specification serves the purpose of reducing the organic content of waste. This was, among other things, the cause of methane gas formation in landfills and had further negative effects, e.g. on odour formation or leachate pollution. In 2009, the Landfill Directive specified the requirements for landfills – thus demanding and promoting increased landfill safety.
Whereas municipal waste used to be deposited directly in landfills, nowadays it must be sent to waste management companies for further treatment. In Germany, the majority of municipal waste is fed into thermal treatment facilities, i.e. waste incineration plants/energy-from-waste plants. In addition to reducing the volume of waste while generating energy, this means that, after appropriate additional treatment of the remaining incinerator bottom ash, only mineral waste remains which, if it cannot be reused in appropriate construction measures, is deposited as non-hazardous waste in class I landfills.