According to the Waste Act, all landfills which fail to comply with the requirements shall be closed for waste deposit by 16 July 2009 and be conditioned by 16 July 2013. As of now, the last ten landfills in Estonia failing to comply with the requirements have been closed: Oru, Käina, Sillamäe, Sõmeru, Adiste, Kudjape, Aardlapalu, Valga, Viljandi and Räpo. New landfills have also been brought into compliance with environmental requirements and established, and some closed landfills have already been conditioned.
The closure of landfills mainly concerns South-West Estonia and the islands. As of 16 July this year, waste to be deposited in Viljandi, Tartu, Põlva, Valga and Võru County should be sent to Pärnu, Järva or Jõgeva County. An increase in the price of refuse collection and waste transport can be prevented by separate collection of waste on site to the greatest possible extent and by the recovery of waste in the largest possible quantity.
The Counties of Lääne, Pärnu, Rapla, Jõgeva and Järva have already closed their landfills which failed to comply with the requirements and waste from these regions has been transported to the landfills meeting environmental requirements already for the last few years.
Sorting and temporary storage of construction waste as well as composting of biodegradable waste can continue in closed landfills on the basis of waste permits. These types of waste can also be used in conditioning the landfill if it has been foreseen in the closure project.
Until the 1990s, almost each larger settlement and company had a landfill and, in most cases, they lacked any kind of environmental supervision. Only after the restoration of Estonia's independence, landfills creating environmental risks and causing pollution gradually started to be closed as well as supervision carried out over waste streams, the level of environmental awareness of the population raised, etc.
Since 2000, 5 new landfills meeting all modern technical and environmental protection standards have been introduced. One such landfill can service several counties for at least the next 30 years.