In the Netherlands, we produce 60 million tonnes of waste per year. Two million tonnes cannot be recycled or incinerated. That material is transported to a landfill site that has been carefully constructed to protect the soil, groundwater and air.
An effective but expensive solution, that requires continuous aftercare. This is what triggered the Dutch waste management industry, national and local governments and research institutes, to investigate a more sustainable and efficient solution.
Sustainable landfill management
A strictly supervised research programme into sustainable landfill management (abbreviated in dutch: iDS) is conducted in three Dutch provinces. The iDS project is investigating whether it is possible to break down the contamination in landfill sites and neutralise it so that everlasting aftercare is either minimised or eliminated all together. Sustainable landfill management involves the addition of water and/or air to the landfill site to boost the organic decomposition process. With this research programme, we are working on a cost-effective approach that doesn’t burden future generations.
Desired processes set in motion
The midterm evaluation of the research, which took place in 2021, clearly showed that sustainable landfill management is possible without any negative environmental impacts. The desired processes, such as the leaching of contaminants and the natural decomposition/stabilisation of organic material have been set in motion. This means the green light has been given for the second half of the pilot.
Please find below an animation on the research programme at the Dutch landfills and links to the publications available in English.
> New Dutch legislation to allow research of natural biodegradation at landfills, W.J. Kattenberg, H.A. van der Sloot, T.J. Heimovaara, 14th International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium op Sardinië, 30 september – 4 october 2013
> Calculating site-specific emission criteria for sustainable landfills, the Dutch approach, J.J. Dijkstra, A. van Zomeren, R.N.J. Comans, E.Brand en J.W. Claessens, 14th International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium op Sardinië, 30 september – 4 october 2013
> Development of emission testing values to assess sustainable landfill management on pilot landfills, Phase 2: Proposals for testing values, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), may 2014