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Assessing the opportunities of landfill mining

Authors
Disciplines
  • Political Science

Abstract

Long-term estimates make clear that the amount of solid waste to be processed at landfills in the Netherlands will sharply decline in coming years. Major reasons can be found in the availability of improved technologies for waste recycling and government regulations aiming at waste reduction. Consequently, market size for companies operating landfills shrinks. Among the companies facing the problem is the Dutch company Essent. Given the expected market conditions, it looks for alternative business opportunities. Landfill mining, i.e., the recycling of existing landfills, is considered one of them. Proceeds of landfill mining are related to, for example, recycled materials available for re-use, regained land, and possibilities for a more efficient operation of a landfill. The market for landfill mining is of a considerable size – there are about 3800 landfills located in the Netherlands. Given market size Essent faces the dilemma of how to explore this market, i.e., select the most profitable landfills in a fast and efficient way. No existing methods or tools could be found to do so. Therefore, to answer to the problem posed, we propose a step-wise research method for market exploration. The basic idea behind the method is to provide an adequate, cost-saving and timely answer by relying on a series of quick scans. The method has been tested for its practical use in a pilot study. The pilot study addressed 147 landfills located in the Dutch Province of Noord-Brabant. The study made clear how method application resulted in the selection of a limited number of high potential landfills in a few weeks, involving minimal research costs.

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