The Rawfill project

The focus of RAWFILL is on the solid waste sector in the North-West Europe region, with a concentration on landfills and relevant institutions responsible for waste and landfill management in the region. In order for landfill mining to be widely implemented in the North-West Europe region several barriers need to be overcome. Up to now, there has been no general or standard framework for developing enhanced landfill inventories that would allow public authorities and/or private sector partners to make economically informed decisions about launching a landfill mining project for a given landfill site. Furthermore, traditional landfill exploration methods – i.e. methods to assess the viability of a landfill mining project for a given site – are prohibitively expensive as they require costly analysis of multiple excavated waste samples. Cheaper methods, such as geophysical methods, to obtain a rough idea of the economic potential of a given landfill are therefore required (as promoted by RAWFILL). The current lack of reliable, coherent and affordable data about the economic resource recovery potential of a landfill (quantities, qualities and economic indicators related to the value of materials) is thus a major challenge. Furthermore at the aggregate level only very few regions in North-West Europe have some kind of a comprehensive overview of the potential of their landfills. The few existing inventories (e.g. Flanders, with its 2.260 landfills and Walloon region with its 3.500) do not include suitable datasets that would allow investors to robustly assess the opportunity to launch profitable landfill mining operations for a specific landfill site. The second major obstacle, which is the direct result of the former, is the lack of reliable decisions and prioritization tools that can be used in the North-West Europe region. Hence, there is no common approach to select the high potential landfill mining projects, thereby inhibiting the North-West Europe landfill mining market from development.

1. RAWFILL offers an evidence-based methodology (including innovative landfills characterization by geophysical imaging and guided sampling) promoting the standardization of enhanced landfill inventories in North-West Europe, in order to support, through its multicriteria decision support tool, new business models taking into account the resource recovery potential of landfills.

2. RAWFILL addresses these shortcomings :
• an enhanced framework for private/regional/national/transregional landfill inventories, taking into account a reliable way to estimate the economic potential of the landfills
• an innovative approach using the most modern combinations of geophysical methods to complete any set of missing mandatory economic data (landfill geophysics)
• a decision support tool allowing prioritizing landfills in order to determine the most
• economically viable landfill mining projects to be implemented at regional/transregional level.

3. The project envisages investments in geophysical surveys, sampling and financial feasibility studies for 2 pilot landfill locations. The insights from these investments will be used for demonstration and dissemination purposes

4. RAWFILL impacts positively at different levels :
• The expected immediate impact is the direct benefit for landfill owners & managers in the regions as they will profit from revenues generated by the recovered materials from landfills. Project partners will already benefit during implementation from the development and the application of the methodology. The public authorities can use the prioritisation tool to improve their regional landfill policy.
• A second level is related to the dissemination of results by cooperation with overarching platforms/projects such as EURELCO through topic groups and education.
• Finally, the ultimate impacts (benefits) are the more efficient use of resources, the decrease of the level of environmental pollution, the reduction of socio-economic disparities as well as job creation.

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