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NEW-MINE Policy Brief on Enhanced Landfill Mining

Following the 4th International Symposium on Enhanced Landfill Mining (ELFM IV), the EU Horizon 2020 ETN NEW-MINE project has just published a 6-page Policy Brief on the future of Enhanced Landfill Mining in Europe and beyond. The Policy Brief discusses the Six Lessons Learned during the ELFM IV Symposium, with a strong focus on the discussions during the closing ELFM IV debate with Magnus Gislev (EC DG GROW), Derek Greedy (ISWA), Yves Tielemans (Group Machiels), Claudia Neculau (SpaQue, Interreg NEW RAWFILL), Jan Frank Mars (RWS, Interreg Europe COCOON) and Mieke Quaghebeur (VITO). An executive summary is provided below. The Policy Brief offers a lot of food for thought and discussion. (Leuven, 16-3-2018)

Executive Summary NEW-MINE Policy Brief March 2018

Lesson 1: Enhanced Landfill Mining is grabbing a lot of attention, with three EU-funded projects underway. In addition, it provides the dual benefit of recovering valuable materials and freeing-up useful space in areas close to towns and cities.

Lesson 2: What stands in the way of large-scale ELFM? The main obstacles are market & technology barriers, legislative procedures and problems with social acceptance.

Lesson 3: ELFM is an emerging concept and relies upon novel technologies. Without support, it may never be able to take over from the incumbents. Society needs to be made fully aware of the situation, so that long term solutions based on the best available information can be adopted.

Lesson 4: Financial considerations are holding back ELFM. Being able to reclaim land at the same time as reclaiming materials represents the best way to shift the economic balance. Another possibility is to target landfills in the developing world, as these are often devoid of sanitary technologies.

Lesson 5: ELFM is still a long way from being accepted by national policy makers. Unfortunately, the rejection of the European Parliament’s ELFM Amendment by the European Council means it will be some years before the idea of landfills being “dynamic resource stocks”, rather than “end stations” for obsolete waste, can be put on the agenda again.

Lesson 6: Social acceptance is a major barrier for ELFM.* The solution is to educate and involve people, demonstrate the advantages and let them see the benefits.

*This barrier is also very relevant for the mining & recycling of critical metals from EU ore deposits and urban mines, as discussed in the twin SOCRATES/METGROW+ Policy Brief, also published in March 2018.

Key info Policy Brief NEW-MINE, March 2018

NEW-MINE Policy Brief, March 2018 (p. 1)

  • Download NEW-MINE Policy Brief here
  • Author: Dr. Peter Tom Jones (SIM² KU Leuven, Coordinator EURELCO & ETN NEW-MINE)
  • Project website NEW-MINE: http://new-mine.eu/
  • Design: sciencewriter.si
  • Acknowledgements: This project has received funding from the European Union’s EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 under Grant Agreement No 721185
  • Disclaimer: the views expressed in this article are the private views of the author and may not, under any circumstances, be interpreted as stating an official position of ETN NEW-MINE, EURELCO or SIM² KU Leuven.