EURELCO, the European Enhanced Landfill Mining Consortium, is happy to announce that on the 16th of March 2017 the Interreg North-West Europe Project (NWE 377) RAWFILL was officially approved. Following the granting of EU Horizon 2020 NEW-MINE and the Interreg Europe project COCOON, this is the third flagship project, which supports a new circular economy for RAW materials recovered from landFILLs.

Interreg NWE

The Interreg North-West Europe Project RAWFILL on raw materials recovered from landfills is coordinated by SPAQuE and unites 8 partners from 4 EU regions. For Flanders i-Cleantech Vlaanderen and OVALM are the two Beneficiaries. The project falls under the programme Priority Axis 3 Resource and materials efficiency, programme priority specific objective SO5: to optimise (re)use of material and natural resources in North-West Europe.

With a budget of 3.8 M€ (2.28 M€ – ERDF funding) the RAWFILL partners provide knowledge and tools to screen landfills, and demonstrate under real conditions the evidence-based, standardised methodology to select profitable landfill mining projects, recovering huge amounts of dormant raw materials and land resources.

Public abstract RAWFILL

According to EU Landfill Mining Consortium EURELCO the North-West Europe region has ~ 100,000 landfill sites. Most of these sites lack state-of-the-art environmental protection systems, leading to local pollution, land-use restrictions and global impacts. Fortunately, this problem can be transformed into an opportunity, as large volumes of resources (materials, energy & land area) in these landfills can be recovered through Landfill Mining. In order for Landfill Mining to be widely implemented in the North-West region, RAWFILL tackles the remaining barriers.

The main challenge for stakeholders is the profitability risk due to the lack of reliable data on the recovery potential of landfills. Even in the North-West region, inventories of the 100,000 landfills are inadequate, as they lack relevant data on landfills economic potential (quantity, quality & value of materials). Furthermore, traditional landfill exploration methods are prohibitively expensive as they require analysis of multiple excavated waste samples.

RAWFILL tackles those challenges by providing:

  1. an enhanced framework for private/ regional/ national/ transregional landfill inventories, taking into account a reliable way to estimate the economic potential of the landfills (EIF);
  2. an innovative approach using the most modern combinations of geophysical methods to complete any set of missing mandatory economic data (landfill geophysics);
  3. a decision support tool allowing prioritising landfills in order to determine the most economically viable Landfill Mining projects to be implemented at regional/transregional level (DST);

The project envisages investments in geophysical surveys, sampling and financial feasibility studies for 2 pilot landfill locations (pilot tests on a landfill in Flanders and a landfill in France). The insights from these investments will be used for demonstration and dissemination purposes.

To sustain long term roll-out of profitable Landfill Mining projects, RAWFILL institutes dedicate topic groups, installs and maintains an electronic library, trains ambassadors and ensures academic and extracurricular training. Beneficiaries are public & private landfill owners, their managers & operators. 10 years after the project end, 60 profitable Landfill Mining projects, throughout North-West, are expected to have been launched leading to the recovery of 15 million tons of valuable materials & the creation of ~ 1,500 jobs.

Project partners

  1. SPAQυE, BE – Lead partner
  2. OVAM, BE
  3. BAV (Bergischer Abfallwirtschaftsverband), DE
  4. SAS LES CHAMPS JOUAULT, FR
  5. Université de Liège, BE
  6. Natural Environment Research Council, UK
  7. Vzw i-Cleantech Vlaanderen, BE
  8. ATRASOL, BE

+ 15 associated partners from all over Europe

Project duration

3 years (March 2017 – March 2020)

ELFM IV Symposium

Geophysical methods to explore landfills will be a main topic during the 4th International Symposium on Enhanced Landfill Mining in Belgium, in February 2018. More information about the Symposium and the call for papers can be found at the ELFM IV website.