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When is a ‘dump’ not a ‘dump’? 1: When it is a ‘mine’

  • by JW

The idea of ‘mining’ former town dumps is gaining ground…


In this week’s Herald, Mike Dibble suggests what we can do with our town dumps:

I was delighted to read Councillor Denise Bickley write that the waste in our grey bins (the ones that say landfill waste), is not actually going to landfill any more. Apparently all non recycling goes to the Energy from Waste Plant to generate electricity.

It will be interesting to know if the landfill waste that we have buried over the years is ever going to be dug up and recycled in the future or would that be economically unviable? Items such as tin cans, bottles and jars would have gone to landfill in the old days but the economic realisation is that these items may forever stay underground. That is surely not good news.

‘Could landfill ever be dug up and recycled?’ | Sidmouth Herald

In the Futures Forum back in 2015, the idea of ‘recycling’ old town dumps was also mooted:

Sidmouth’s former town dump towards Bowd might be a future font of resources…

This is from the press release from a meeting of the Vision Group back in October 2009, as reported by a former District Council employee:

Ice House Lane:
Up from the railway bridge, used to be a land fill site (over 30 years ago). When the land fill was closed, a sewer was laid from Green Lane to near Bradfords yard.
Futures Forum: Persimmon, Sidmouth and “promoting well-designed housing that is sustainable and provides much-needed new housing…”

The idea of ‘mining’ former dumps is gaining ground…

Futures Forum: Mining landfill sites

This is from 2018:

Many old dumps contain useful materials. Whether they’re worth extracting depends on how we value other benefits such as preventing pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Why aren’t we mining landfills for valuable stuff like metals and soil?

With these pieces from last year:

The UK’s landfill legacy has previously been considered a stain on our green and pleasant lands. However, piles of rubbish that were once swept under the pasture are now presenting a real opportunity. Will Simpson finds out why enhanced landfill mining is being dubbed ‘the next big thing’.

Untapped Riches | Resource Magazine

There are over half a million landfill sites in Europe, and 90% of these have not had to comply with safety regulations. The management of landfill sites has become a mounting concern in many European countries, with the responsibility for landfill sanitation and reclamation increasingly falling to public institutions.

The Benefits of Landfill Mining

And today there’s quite a market for it: there’s even a Wikipedia entry:

Landfill mining and reclamation (LFMR) is a process which excavates and processes solid wastes which have previously been landfilled.[1]

Landfill mining – Wikipedia