Landfill Mining: Is it worth the trouble? Landfill mining started-off back in 1953 in Israel and the rest of the world has only begun to catch up with it recently. The advantages and disadvantages of landfill mining are something that most corporations would not readily answer. The reason why it has caught up only recently was simply because there were other more important events that took place after 1953 after which most countries forgot about the whole concept. Landfill mining is profitable. It is known fact that more aluminium can be extracted from a landfill as compared to extracting aluminium from ores from a similar area of mined land.
Landfill mining has its advantages; it allows better aeration of the soil in the area, while the mining company recovers valuable recyclable materials which allows for less material to dump back in (creating that extra space). Most people see this as a way of protecting the environment by cleaning up the soil doing the world a favour. The reason why landfill mining has taken off is simply because it is more profitable. It is more profitable to extract a tonne of aluminium via landfill mining, than to extract ores from the earthâ€™s crust, process it and then using power hungry (expensive) plasma arc reactors to create virgin aluminium.
Some people would say “why don’t we simply sort things out instead of dumping them in and then sorting everything out?” well that is because we as human beings lack the initiative to do the same. If all of us here in Dubai segregated our trash there would be no need to open up landfills as only organic waste would land up in there. Governments spend enormous amounts of funding on garbage recycling facilities only because the people in Dubai would simply refuse to segregate different types of recyclable items. Metal recyclers in Dubai too suffer because of consumer misbehaviour when it comes to garbage segregation. Aluminium cans, plastics and all sorts of packaging are often dumped together only to end up at garbage recycling plant where fortunately for us, they do find their way back to the recycling companies in Dubai.
So yes landfill mining is good for us but the question that we should be asking is—why are we adding to the confusion to begin with?