Landfill mining – extracting resources from an unlikely source

  • In 2009/2010 nearly 50% of the municipal waste generated was sent to landfill with roughly 40% recovered through recycling/composting.
  • An innovative idea for recovering resource from waste has been developed in the north-east of Flanders (Group Machiels) to utilise even more waste. The plan (a public- private partnership) is to excavate landfills that have been closed for decades, recycling the precious materials and recovering energy from what is left using advanced plasma power technology.
  • The recovery method will make use of waste materials that would otherwise not have any value. Traditionally this waste is left to decompose in landfill, generating methane gas (which can be wasted) and toxic effluents that are costly to render stable for disposal.

Implications and next steps: To aid success of this method, community engagement will be a helpful step in order to gain public acceptance of the initiative. This support may significantly rely on what the ‘newly excavated site’ will be used for.

University of Cambridge: http://tinyurl.com/at8ap9o, UNTHA: http://tinyurl.com/ a582zw8, October workshops

About kgarnett2012

Research Fellow Centre for Environmental Risks and Futures School of Applied Sciences Cranfield University
This entry was posted in Natural Resources and Waste Management and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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