Three years after the first ELFM Seminar in the European Parliament, a follow-up Seminar will take place on November 20, 2018, in the European Parliament (Brussels). The scope for the 2nd ELFM Seminar in the EP is broadened from landfill mining only to the development of a dynamic landfill management and mining strategy for Europe’s 500,000+ landfills. An impressive programme has been developed. The event is a co-organisation of MEP Hilde Vautmans, SIM² KU Leuven, CTF, EURELCO and 3 EU-funded landfill management/mining-related projects: NEW-MINE, COCOON and RAWFILL. Registration for this event is now open. Participation to this interactive seminar is limited to just 60 persons. (PTJ, 16/10/2018)

Rationale

On October 20, 2015, two Flemish MEPs (Vautmans & Demesmaeker) organised the first ever Seminar on Enhanced Landfill Mining (ELFM) in the European Parliament. The event was organised together with EURELCO, i.e. European Enhanced Landfill Mining Consortium. The Seminar featured speakers of four EC DGs (ENV, ENERGY, GROW and RTD) along with leading actors representing industry, academia and public bodies. The seminar was attended by almost 100 people who actively debated the landfill (mining) situation in Europe. It was agreed that the EU-28 urgently requires thorough inventories of its landfills and needs to develop a clear vision on the management and mining of its landfills. You can download the event report here: URL.

Figure 1st Seminar in the EP (2015)

Figure: 1st ELFM Seminar in the EP, 20-10-2015

EU landfill management/mining projects

Following the EP Seminar, three EU-funded projects were initiated:

  1. The EU Horizon 2020 MSCA-ETN NEW-MINE project trains 15 early-stage researchers (ESRs) in terms of technological innovation along the entire ELFM value chain (advanced exploration, waste separation, thermal valorisation & upcycling) and multi-criteria assessments.
  2. COCOON (Interreg Europe) deals with the policy of Landfill Management (LfM). The COCOON partners target 6 policy instruments incl. the Soil Remediation Decree in Flanders (Belgium), the Environmental Protection Act (Netherlands) and funding of LfM projects through OPs in Andalucía (Spain), Brandenburg (Germany), Cyprus and Malta.
  3. RAWFILL (Interreg North West Europe), with partners in France, Belgium, UK, Germany) provides knowledge and tools to screen landfills and demonstrates under real conditions an evidence-based, standardised methodology to select profitable landfill mining projects, recovering dormant raw materials, energy carriers & land resources.

ELFM integration into the Landfill Directive?

As an extra consequence of the EP Seminar, the EP adopted its Waste Package on March 14, 2017, which included “Article 5”: “The Commission shall further examine the feasibility of proposing a regulatory framework for enhanced landfill mining so as to permit the retrieval of secondary raw materials that are present in existing landfills. By 31 December 2025 Member States shall map existing landfills and indicate their potential for enhanced landfill mining and share information.” Unfortunately, this ELFM Amendment to the Landfill Directive was later blocked by the Council during the trilateral meeting.

European Commission and ELFM

On June 29, 2018, MEP Vautmans asked a Parliamentary Question to the Commission (E-003580/2018) to clarify its position with respect to ELFM. The European Commission replied “… the [Landfill] directive does not specifically regulate landfill mining and the Commission does not currently envisage proposing to amend the directive in this regard. Landfill mining is, however, not prohibited, if carried out in line with EU legislation on waste (…)” (full answer: URL). This is the first time the EC endorses the use of ELFM, as long as a number of criteria are respected.

From eternal landfill monitoring to dynamic landfill management and mining

The paradigm shift from a classic concept of eternal (landfill) monitoring of the status quo towards a dynamic, long-term landfill management and mining strategy becomes more and more relevant. Climate adaptation is gaining policy attention and there is no indication that landfills would escape as climate change will impact landfills (e.g. flooding of landfills in coastal and alluvial areas). Introducing an active approach in view of creating sustainable assets, allows to develop novel approaches such as the interim use and integrated revitalisation of landfills and their surfaces, which can generate revenues for subsequent remediation and/or mining activities in the longer term.

2nd ELFM Seminar in the EP

Why should we be interested in (old) landfills? Europe has more than 500,000 landfills, most of which predate the Landfill Directive. In most cases there is no comprehensive view on the future impact of these landfills: in the context of climate change “eternity” seems to last for only decades. The key challenge is to turn the environmental threats into resource and land recovery opportunities. In order to discuss the regulatory framework for landfill management and mining in the context of the Circular Economy challenges and to develop a potential roadmap, a 2nd ELFM Seminar is scheduled in the EP on November 20, 2018 (15-18h).

Programme

Instead of a long list of presentations this 2nd Seminar will be mainly based on interactive debates with the involved stakeholders. The detailed programme is available through this URL link.

Registration is now open

The capacity of the EP meeting room is limited to 60 participants. Speakers and interested participants need to complete the on-line registration form by November 6, 2018. Your registration is accepted once you receive a formal confirmation from the organisers. Registration is to be performed through this URL link.

Contact

Venue

  • European Parliament, Brussels
  • Address : Rue Wiertz 60, 1047 Brussels
  • Room: ASP 5G1

Organisation

MEP Vautmans, EURELCO, Cleantech Flanders, SIM² KU Leuven, with additional support from NEW-MINE, COCOON and RAWFILL.

Logos of organiseres ELFM EP Seminar