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Landfilling in Europe

In the European Union, Directive 1999/31/EC on Landfill of Waste is one of the most important waste policies; the objective of the Directive is to prevent or reduce as far as possible negative effects on surface water, groundwater, soil, air and human health from the landfilling of waste. The Directive establishes stringent technical requirements for the authorization, design, operation, closure and aftercare of landfills, specific targets for 2006, 2009 and 2016 in the reduction of biodegradable fractions of MSW going to landfill, as well as the prohibition of materials to be accepted in landfills.

With approximately 45 percent of the total municipal waste sent to landfills, landfilling is still EU’s predominating waste management activity (Figure 1). A big difference exists between the landfilling statistics between EU-15 and EU-10 member states. While about 80 percent of the MSW is sent to landfills in the new member states, in the old member states this number goes down below 40 percent.


Figure 1: Treatment of municipal waste in Euope, a comparison between data from 1995 and 2005 [EFTA: European Free Trade Association; EECCA: Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia] (Eurostat 2007)

All new EU members are forced to transpose European Legislation into their national waste laws. By doing so, the EU-10 members will follow the EU-15 trend in the future years and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills as well as regulating the type of waste that is sent to landfills. The new member states are expected to advance on their waste management techniques and decrease the use of landfills.

See Also

Landfill Gas Utilization
Professional articles about: landfills on their way to gas utilisation and renaturation

Landfill mining in practice: Dismantling of the old dump Kössen / Austria
© Wasteconsult international (5/2015)
This case study presents in its first part a hands-on assessment of the content of a former landfill which was operated between 1920 and 1985 and accepted all municipal waste streams generated in a predominantly rural environment with tourism as a main economic factor. The assessment was performed – according to the principle “let´s replace assumptions by knowledge” – prior to the complete removal of the landfill Content (volume about 50.000 m3).
The second part gives an overview on the excavation and separation works itself which have been triggered by flood events in summer 2013 (Kössen, a small town located on a river emptying into Chiemsee in Bavaria was the municipality mostly affected by this flood in Western Austria).

Integrated Waste Management System including Waste-to- Biofuels in Western Canada
© Wasteconsult international (5/2015)
The City of Edmonton provides integrated and sustainable waste management Services for residents and for the commercial sector. These services are both economical and mindful of the environment. Up to 60 per cent of residential waste is currently diverted from landfills at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre. This is mainly achieved through recycling and composting processes. Edmonton’s goal is to further raise that diversion rate to 90 per cent. Two projects play a key role in achieving this goal: a High Solids Anaerobic Digestion Facility and the first of its kind Waste to Biofuel and Chemicals Facility. These two projects will be described in more detail in this paper.

Landfill mining option: MBT role and landfill potential danger
© Wasteconsult international (5/2015)
The use of landfills for the disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) has many technical and regulatory limits. An interesting solution is to recover the bales that have been previously stored in a landfill. After specific mechanical biological treatments (MBT), the contents of the bales can be used to produce a solid recovered fuel (SRF) that can be used for energy purposes. The possibility of producing SRF fuels from a landfill in northern Italy has been studied and is presented in this paper. The MSW extracted from the landfill, the bio-dried material produced by the waste hypothetically treated in a plant for bio-drying, and the SRF obtained after the extraction of inert materials, metals and glass from the bio-dried material have been characterized. Assessed the waste nature, the potential environmental impact of dioxin release from a possible landfill fire has been analysed, applying the Austal2000 model system.

Case study of an MBT producing SRF for cement kiln cocombustion, coupled with a bioreactor landfill for process residues
© Wasteconsult international (5/2015)
The research focuses on the performances of a traditional single stream MBT for SRF production suitable for co-combustion in a cement kiln. Bio-drying of the residual waste is followed by mechanical refining in order to fulfil the quality requirements by the cement kilns. The residues arising from the mechanical refining section are landfilled in a nearby bioreactor-landfill, where landfill gas is collected for electric energy recovery. A detailed mass balance of the system is presented, followed by a Life Cycle Assessment.

Waste2Go – Innovative MSW-Recycling for Production of Chemical Substances
© Lehrstuhl für Abfallverwertungstechnik und Abfallwirtschaft der Montanuniversität Leoben (11/2014)
About 180 million tons of residual waste is generated each year through households in the European Member States (EU28), which means every citizen produces more than one kilogram per day. Along with the industry the residual waste adds up to circa 2.5 billion tons. Large proportions of municipal solid waste (MSW) are still not recycled in an adequate manner because of the heterogeneity of the unsorted waste.

Material Recycling of Polyolefin-Rich Plastic Fractions
© Lehrstuhl für Abfallverwertungstechnik und Abfallwirtschaft der Montanuniversität Leoben (11/2014)
The material recycling of plastic waste has still an enormous potential, even in countries like Austria or Germany, which have a highly developed waste treatment system. At the moment, approximately 2/3 of the utilized packaging plastics are treated thermally, i.e. as waste derived fuels, and only 1/3 are routed for material recycling.

Landfill Mining – Case Study: Resource Potential of a Styrian Sanitary Landfill Site
© Lehrstuhl für Abfallverwertungstechnik und Abfallwirtschaft der Montanuniversität Leoben (11/2014)
During the last years, noticeable changes in the availability of mineral raw materials (e.g. ores, coal) were observed due to an enormous raw material demand of developing countries (e.g. China). Subsequently, a sensible scarcity of raw materials, highly competitive markets and a significant aggravated accessibility to mineral resources have been noticed.

RoadMap - Mapping in Case of Landfill Mining
© Lehrstuhl für Abfallverwertungstechnik und Abfallwirtschaft der Montanuniversität Leoben (11/2014)
Raw materials such as steel and energy are becoming scarcer due to the steady growth of the world population and the resulting consumption change. Hence, it is to be expected that the Prices of primary and secondary raw materials will rise in future even more than present.

Life History of the Leoben Waste Landfill Site - Twentyfive Years of Operation – Hundred Years of Sustainability
© Lehrstuhl für Abfallverwertungstechnik und Abfallwirtschaft der Montanuniversität Leoben (11/2014)
During the first half of the 20th century, several different dumping sites, distributed in two different town districts of Leoben, were used for the disposal of collected municipal solid waste.

Relevant Emissions During Landfill Mining Processes
© Lehrstuhl für Abfallverwertungstechnik und Abfallwirtschaft der Montanuniversität Leoben (11/2014)
Because of landfill mining activities emissions will occur. They can cause considerable effects to the environment and the vicinity. The most important emission may be the odour, but also dust and noise can be relevant to the neighborhood.

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Waste-to-Energy (WtE) facility

Renergia, a brand new Waste-to-Energy (WtE) facility opened in Canton Lucerne, shows that Waste-to-Energy can provide reliable heat for industries.

Category: Incineration / Waste-to-Energy plant
Executing firm: Renergia Zentralschweiz AG

MBT Ljubljana, Slovenia

In Slovenia arises one of the largest and most modern waste treatment plants in Europe.

Category: Recycling / MBT
Executing firm: STRABAG AG

Flue Gas Cleaning

The final unit of the incineration plant is one of the most important parts as it has the objective of cleaning the air pollutants produced.

Category: Incineration
Executing firm: ete.a - Ingenieurgesellschaft für Energie– und Umweltengineering & Beratung mbH

Batch Dry Fermentation

The biogas produced from the waste can be converted in a CHP to electrical and thermal energy or fed as processed bio-methane into the natural gas grid or used as fuel (CNG).

Category: Recycling / Fermentation
Executing firm: BEKON Energy Technologies Co. & KG

MBT Warsaw, Poland

The Bio-Dry™ system is a static, aerated and flexibly enclosed reactor for the biological drying of various solid waste matters containing some biodegradable contents.

Category: Recycling / MBT
Executing firm: Convaero GmbH

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