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Reclaim, Reuse, Recycle: 3 Reasons Why Landfill Reclamation Shouldn’t be Ignored

24 October 2018

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It’s 2018, and all around us, many organisations and individuals are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and the amount of waste they produce every day.  Yet, for many years, landfill was the destination for nearly everything we couldn’t find an easy way to reuse.  It may look like one large pile of rubbish, but in these landfills, valuable resources are buried and remain untapped. Landfill reclamation is becoming more common, and there are numerous reasons why. We discuss just three of the many reasons why landfill reclamation is set to grow in coming years.

1. Land is costly

As land prices continue to increase, landfill owners are searching for ways to make better use of the land they have, instead of buying more of it.  Not only that, but as urbanisation spreads, there is less and less land to choose from.  Landfills are filling up fast, and something needs to give.

2. Landfills contain high calorific value

The sheer calorific value of some materials fund in landfills such as wood, paper and sewage sludges mean that landfills could be worth digging up.  As we continue to deplete non-renewable energy sources, now, more than ever, is the time to think of alternative fuels and reduce the burden on conventional finite sources.  In 2009, it was estimated that an immense 750 million Megagrams (or 750 million tonnes!) of sludge could be found in landfills[1] in Germany as up until 2005, nearly half of all municipal sludge was disposed of in landfills[2].  Nowadays, we know that sewage sludge not only can be burned to produce energy but is a valuable resource that can be used in anaerobic digestion to produce biogas and therefore by recovering it, we can ensure this valuable energy source isn’t lost. Not only that but metals, sand, aggregates and other resources are known to have been disposed of over many years. These resources are wasted in the ground and should be recovered.

3. Our culture is changing, but so must our practices

For many years, our way of life was to ‘get a new one’ and ‘throw the old one out’, not matter how useful the materials it consists of could be. However, across Europe, and many other sustainable countries, the throw-away culture is finally beginning to shift. We see travel vloggers and fashion influencers alike across the globe, raising awareness of environmental problems and the need for more sustainable lifestyles but what’s the use of awareness if we do nothing about it? Reclaiming landfill is one way to ensure that our practices change, along with our mindsets. 

 In 2014, BBC reported that minister, Michael Fallon, at the time stated that, in the UK, landfill mining would produce significant energy 'in 15 to 20 years'[3]. It’s our belief that 15-20 years is too late. The need is there now. The technology exists. We shouldn’t wait any longer to reclaim the valuable resources that should have never gone to landfill in the first place.

 For more information on CDEnviro’s solutions for landfill reclamation, get in touch at:


[1] Franke, DR. M. and Mocker, Dr. M, (Date Unknown) Resource Potential of Landfill Mining- A National and Regional Evaluation, Petersgasse, Straubing

[2] Rettenberger, G. (2009): Zukuenftige Nutzung der Deponie als Ressourcenquelle (Prospective usage of landfills as resource) in Flamme, Gallenkemper, Gellenbeck, Bidlingmaier, Kranert, Nelles, Stegmann (Hrsg.): Tagungsband der 11. Muensteraner Abfallwirtschaftstage, Muenster, 10-11 Februar 2009, 101-109

[3] BBC, Landfill mines to produce UK energy 'in 15 to 20 years', says minister [online] Accessed 21/10/2018