Why should we mine landfills now?

With increasing pressures on the greenbelt and the need to unlock further development land for housing and infrastructure the UK’s landfill legacy may hold the key to major land holdings across the country becoming available for development and in doing so unlocking thousands of jobs. But also, with over 20,000 sites recognised as formerly landfill operations in the UK, many of these locations are located on flood zones and subject to coastal erosion. Landfill mining offers the opportunity to boost climate resilience across the UK by removing potential environmental pollution from the earth.

Landfill mining and remediation capability within the UK is developing, but “landfill mining“ is not a new concept.  In recent years a growing interest is evident in ELFM for site remediation, resource recovery and energy production.  ELFM is defined as the excavation and integrated valorisation of landfilled waste streams as both materials (Waste-to-Material) and energy (Waste-to-Energy), using innovative transformation technologies and respecting the most stringent social and ecological criteria. ELFM is part of a wider view of a circular economy and is complementary to urban mining and recycling in general.

Typically located near to urban environments, former landfill sites were strategically located near to transport networks and now are often found to be in excellent locations for development. Recognising the increased importance of brownfield sites. Further to this, with increasing pressures on land value, the need to bring forward housing schemes and infrastructure, former landfill sites could hold potential development sites relieving greenbelt pressure and delivering part of our green recovery.

What is landfill mining?

our interactive infographic to learn more about the process of enhanced landfill mining

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