how landfill mining is recovering value in scrap metal

How Landfill Mining is Recovering Value in Scrap Metal

On: Apr 12, 2021
By: TransMetal
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Category: Blog
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When you think about landfills and recycling, your first instinct is most likely to assume that they offer opposite solutions to the same issue – the increasing amount of waste generated by households and businesses all over the world. By recycling materials, we get to give them another life. They are used to create new products instead of just lying in the landfills taking years to decompose and polluting the air, water and soil in the meantime.

Nowadays, with extensive recycling programs becoming more and more common, we try to limit the amount of recyclable materials, including plastic, glass, paper and metals, that end up in landfills, but that was not always the case. Before the era of the increased environmental consciousness, that was where all of our waste used to end up, and this means that landfills, especially the old ones, are a great source of valuable materials that can be repurposed and reused in the manufacturing process of new goods to lower the prices and reduce the environmental impact of mining and extracting new ores. You can find real treasures in the trash, and that’s why it’s worth knowing more about landfill mining.

What is landfill mining and why is it important?

Landfill mining is a method of taking previously disposed valuable materials out of landfills by excavating waste and separating the materials into those that can be recycled and those that cannot. For a very long time landfilling was the main method of waste disposal which included throwing away many items that are now commonly recycled, e.g. household appliances, aluminium cans and scrap metal. As natural resources of metals are limited and their excavation is expensive and environmentally harmful, this process offers a great alternative by giving us the chance to reuse metals that are already in circulation today. And with new technologies, it’s easier and cheaper than ever before.

excavators in the mine

Looking for scrap metal in landfills. What are the benefits?

As we now know, landfills, and the materials they contain, are detrimental to the condition of the environment. And with the growing amount of waste generated by our society, it’s becoming an increasingly pressing issue. By removing recyclable items, we can not only gain valuable resources but also save space and limit the need for creating new landfills.

Another benefit worth mentioning is the fact that many items that contain metals contain toxins as well, e.g. batteries or household appliances like fridges. Their improper disposal leads to hazardous substances leaking into the environment and polluting the ecosystem. While reprocessing the landfill waste, we can make sure that the only things stored there are the ones that cannot be disposed of in any other way.

Natural resources are limited, not only when it comes to their amount but also by the areas where they can be found. Some countries have rich natural metal resources, but for others, landfill mining creates new opportunities. It offers access to metals, including precious metals, and all types of valuable materials they would have to import otherwise.

Scrap metal recycling is a great way to help the planet while also saving money and resources. And while landfill recycling is still quite expensive, its benefits are undeniable, and we can definitely count on its costs going down in the future thanks to advanced technology and increasing pressure on finding more sustainable solutions when it comes to resource management.

While landfill mining is a great option when it comes to recovering metals, it’s even better to prevent them from getting there in the first place. If you have a lot of scrap metal or items that contain metals that you no longer need, make sure they are disposed of properly. And if you want to sell your scrap metal to get some extra money, check our scrap metal prices in London.

People Also Ask:

Can landfills be mined?

Yes, landfill mining is not only possible but also very beneficial, both environmentally and financially. It enables the recovery and recycling of the materials that weren’t properly segregated at the point of garbage collection.

What do they do with old landfills?

When a landfill runs out of space, it’s closed and capped to separate the waste from the soil. Once the right system is in place, the entire area can be repurposed into, e.g. a park. It’s also possible to collect landfill gas and use it to generate energy. However, it’s important to keep in mind that even when it’s covered, all that waste is still present underneath and will be there for many years to come, and landfill mining is actually one of the most effective ways to reduce its amount.

Are landfills profitable?

With the potential of recovering valuable materials and the growing popularity of waste-to-energy projects, landfills are becoming more profitable each year. Such projects create opportunities to generate profits while reducing pollution at the same time.

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