Axion Consulting has signed up to the European Enhanced Landfill Mining Consortium, known as EURELCO, triggered in part by approaches from land developers investigating the possibility of ‘mining’ resources from former landfill sites.
According to the Manchester-based resource recovery specialist, joining the European-wide network of public and private sector organisations gives it a framework under which it can more effectively respond to these types of requests, as well as opening up exciting future prospects in the waste and recycling sector across Europe.
Increasing scarcity of valuable materials including a variety of plastics and metals is prompting greater interest in ‘urban mining’ where landfill sites can yield fresh opportunities for innovative methods of resource recovery as technology and technical know-how advances, says Simon Wilkinson, Axion’s Principal Engineer.
Currently more than 40 organisations from 12 EU member states belong to EURELCO, which maps and shares information on Enhanced Landfill Mining (ELFM) projects and programmes in these countries.
Enhanced Landfill Mining is defined as ‘the safe exploration, conditioning, excavation and integrated treatment of (historic, present and/or future) landfilled waste streams as both materials (Waste-to-Material) and energy (Waste-to-Energy), using innovative transformation technologies and respecting the most stringent social and ecological criteria’.
“The consortium brings together diverse and complementary skill sets – from industry and academia to private companies and Government organisations – with the common aim of examining how we can ‘mine’ the materials we buried in the past,” explains Simon.
“We foresee a rise in this type of activity; as raw materials get more expensive, technology improves and land value continues to increase, it will become more economically attractive to ‘mine’ such resources and upgrade the land for re-development. ELFM is part of a wider view of a circular economy and is perfectly complementary to urban mining and recycling in general,” he added.
Axion Consulting’s particular areas of expertise include the development of innovative mechanical and chemical separation techniques for plastics, metals and critical raw materials.
Axion Consulting is part of the Axion Group that develops and operates innovative resource recovery and processing solutions for recycling waste materials. The Group works with a wide range of clients, from Government agencies and local authorities to companies in diverse commercial sectors, on the practical development of new processing and collection methods to recover value from waste resources.