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Scottish Government to consider landfill mining

5th March 2013

MRW reports that Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) is carrying out feasibility and viability studies into landfill mining and reclamation on behalf of the Scottish Government. Lacking landfill space and the sustainable management of Scotland’s resources are issues high on the political agenda of the Scottish Government, who are keen to determine if it is a workable option for the country.

Landfill sites could contain valuable recyclable materials including metals which currently attract high market prices and plastics which, although potentially contaminated, could still be utilised for energy recovery. Mining could also extract rare earth metals used in many modern electronic devices such as mobile phones, of which shortage of supply and increasing demand is a growing concern.

The scoping study will consider the history of landfill mining and reclamation (LFMR), looking at documented examples of the practice in the UK and worldwide. A full review and evaluation of all economic, technical, regulatory and sociological issues associated with the practice in Scotland will be carried out and in particular the study will consider the ecological factors specifically related to the oil-shale bings in West Lothian.

Zero Waste Scotland will report its conclusions to the Scottish Government in the spring.

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