Belgian Company Leads the Way In Landfill Mining
“In Europe, we don’t have any mining left, except for the materials that have been imported and that now are in landfills. We don’t have a choice but to get them back.”
- Group director Patrick Laevers
Landfill mining is a rapidly growing area of waste management that is proving to be extremely profitable.
About 50 miles east of Brussels, at Houthalen-Hecteren lies the Remo Milieubeheer landfill which dates back to the 1960s. It consists of industrial waste, household garbage and other things that landfills normally have – basically 16.5 million tons of trash.
Group Machiels, a Belgian waste management company owns the site and it has a 20-year plan to excavate the entire area. This will result in about 45% of its contents being recycled and the rest will be converted to electricity.
Landfill mining certainly has many positive points – it acts as a method of reducing methane emissions, reuse discarded wastes and re-purposing landfills for other uses. The technology has special value in developing countries. This, in combination with reducing wastes from entering landfills will make waste management more streamlined.