Remarks on four novel landfill mining case studies in Estonia and Sweden
In common sense, a landfill is a place where the life cycle of products ends. Landfill mining (LFM) mostly deals with former dumpsites and derived material may have a significant importance for the circular economy. Deliverables of recently applied LFM projects in Sweden and Estonia have revealed the potential and problems for material recovery. There are 75–100 thousand old landfills and dumps in the Baltic Sea Region, and they pose environmental risks to soil, water and air by pollution released from leachate and greenhouse gas emissions. Excavation of landfills is potential solution for solving these problems, and at the same time, there are perspectives to recover valuable lands and materials, save expenses for final coverage of the landfills and aftercare control. The research project “Closing the Life Cycle of Landfills—Landfill Mining in the Baltic Sea Region for Future” included investigation at four case studies in Estonia and Sweden: Kudjape, Torma, Högbytorp and Vika landfills. Added value of this research project is characterization of waste fine fraction material, determination of concentration for most critical and rare earth elements. The main results showed that both, coarse and fine, fractions of waste might have certain opportunities of recovery.
KeywordsLandfill mining Recovery of waste Metals Environmental remediation Circular economy
The Swedish Institute gave financial support to the most important project “Closing the Life Cycle of Landfills—Landfill Mining in the Baltic Sea Region for Future” related to the beyond the zero waste concept. The European Cohesion Fund and the Estonian Environmental Investment Centre contributed with funds to an excavation project. Estonian Basic Financing project 8P170055MIVE “The implementation of the circular economy principles on utilization of previously deposited waste as resources and energy; and the use of stabilized fine fraction as methane degradation layer to minimize emissions of greenhouse gases” assisted in research activities.
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