NSR / Vera Park
NSR / Vera Park
In Helsingborg, we’re not only working to reduce and recycle today’s waste, we’re also exploring how to mine our old landfill for valuable materials suitable for re-use and recycling. At the same time, we’re removing pollutants that can leach back into the environment, and freeing up the oftentimes valuable landfill space. Since 2017, excavating and sorting machines have been busy digging out and sorting the masses – so far about 6,000 tons, an amount equivalent in size and weight to about 50 giant blue whales. From that we’ve sorted out iron and other metals for recycling, building materials such as stones, bricks, and soil for re-use, and burnable materials for incineration to create energy and district heating. We’re currently mining the most recent section of landfill at our site in Helsingborg, where filling stopped in 2003. This sits atop an older landfill started in 1951. The old landfill consists of 11 million cubic metres of waste, making it the largest household waste landfill in Sweden. Since the top layer is already partially sorted, it’s ideal for developing and testing techniques for landfill mining. For example, we’re testing how well various kinds of magnets work in sorting metals, and looking for the best ways to recover glass so it can enter the recycling chain.
“With my master’s thesis on the subject and now working on this project, I’m interested in exploring how we can extract the valuable resources buried in our old landfills – both to reduce the environmental impact of our waste and to understand and calculate how much value we can create with landfill mining.”
– Samuel Svensson, Environmental Engineer at NSR