landfill mining

In an earlier article, we discussed why people should recycle metals in general. An amazing statistic we found was that about 80% of landfill or dumps are filled with recyclable materials. First and foremost, if legal in your area and or possible, this seems to be a scrappers paradise. Just remember though, a landfill is a playground, is generally privately owned and you should have permission before attempting to scour the grounds for precious scrap metals. Landfill mining on the other hand is a large scale process by which landfill owners and operators, or city governments reduce the amount of landfill area being used by non biodegradable waste.

Landfill Mining

Landfill mining has actually been around for over 50 years, and has always been a way to reduce total waste, but there is a process, and it is long and labor intensive. In the process, mining recovers valuable recyclable materials, a combustibles, soil, and landfill space. The aeration of the landfill soil is a secondary benefit regarding the landfill’s future use. The combustible fraction is useful for the generation of power. The overall appearance of the landfill mining procedure is a sequence of processing machines laid out in a functional conveyor system. The operating principle is to excavate, sieve and sort the landfill material.

The process to make this happen is fairly straight forward and allows for more land to be reclaimed. An excavator uncovers the landfill materials and places them on a conveyor belt to be taken to the sorting machine. A sorter is used to separate materials by size. A trommel separates materials like appliances and fabrics. A small trommel can allow the biodegraded soil fraction to pass through leaving non-biodegradable, recyclable materials on the screen to be removed.

An electromagnet is then used to remove the ferrous material from the waste as it goes by. Once it is all reclaimed or removed a soil odor control is dispensed to help with smells from rotting garbage.

This process keeps landfills from over filling and wasting valuable space.