Could landfill mining soon begin in Scotland?

March 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm

As recycling becomes increasingly important across the UK, new ways of finding and recycling materials are emerging. One of the latest is the idea by the Scottish government to ‘mine’ old landfill sites for useful materials that can be recycled.

It has commissioned Zero Waste Scotland to carry out a study into how feasible the process of landfill mining will be. If it turns out to be a real possibility, Scotland could see landfill mining become a reality in the near future.

On the face of it, landfill mining makes perfect sense. It involves extracting recyclable materials such as metal and plastic from landfill sites to make use of them rather than leaving them as waste. At the same time, other items that are recovered during the process can be burned in incinerators to produce energy for homes. Other things that could be mined include mobile phones and computers, which often contain rare earth materials. A spokesman from Zero Waste Scotland said that landfill sites “could contain valuable recyclable materials”.

However, the idea is not without its critics. Some have said that it is much better to focus on recycling materials rather than digging them up, cleaning them and then recycling them, and that government money would be better spent educating the public about proper ways of recycling in the first place.

If it does go ahead, it is likely that the first landfill sites to be mined will be those dating back to the 1970s. Older landfill sites are a lot less likely to be suitable because the materials will probably be too degraded.

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One response to “Could landfill mining soon begin in Scotland?”

  1. Izzy says:

    I don’t see why people should criticise this idea, i would only be against it if the government money spent on it is a far too big amount. I’d like to hear more about this story.