EU Training Network for Resource Recovery Through Enhanced Landfill Mining

NEW MINE Copyright: © ANTS

Since the earliest days of the Industrial Revolution, Europe has been dumping its unwanted waste materials in landfill sites. Estimates assume that there are somewhere between 150,000 and 500,000 of such sites, either closed or still operational, in the EU. As a result of the EU’s Landfill and Waste Directives, most of the still-operational landfills are “sanitary” landfills, which are equipped with state-of-the-art environmental protection and methane collection systems. However, at least 90% of Europe’s landfills predating the EU’s Landfill Directive are “non-sanitary” landfills. These landfills have limited, poor or no protection technologies, which means that their deposits might cause severe environmental problems, ranging from local pollution concerns (soil and water) and land-use restrictions to global impacts in the form of greenhouse-gas emissions. These landfills require special attention.

There are 4 scenarios to front non-sanitary landfills: “Do-nothing”, “Classic Remediation with Relandfill”, “Classic Landfill Mining (LFM)” and Enhanced Landfill Mining (ELFM)”.

Copyright: NEW MINEComparison of different scenarios for the EU’s landfills, ranging from Do-Nothing (only acceptable – in the medium term – for well-monitored sanitary landfills), Classic Remediation (where the materials are excavated and re-landfilled), Classic Landfill

The New-Mine Project is a Horizon 2020 project focusing on enhanced landfill mining. Its aim is to transform a large fraction of old landfilled excavated material into higher-added-value products, such as fuel-grade hydrogen and alternative binders for low-carbon construction applications so that only a minor fraction needs to be re-landfilled.

Since its beginning in September 2016, the Department of Anthropogenic Material Cycles of RWTH Aachen University is part of the New-Mine consortium, which includes 10 core partners from academia and industry as well as seven associated partners. The scope of I.A.R. is to process mechanically the excavated waste and develop a model that allows to assess the potential of landfills as a source of secondary raw materials.

Further information about the project and the research focus of the 15 PhD students that are involved in the New-Mine Project can be found at the New-Mine website.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 721185.



Cristina Garcia Lopez

Research assistant


+49 241 80 95713