RIVM and ECN have published a novel approach for calculating acceptable emissions from sustainably managed landfills. With these emissions, landfills no longer require perpetual aftercare. This saves money and reduces the burden for future generations of our present day waste. The approach for calculating acceptable emissions has been published in the scientific journal Waste Management.

Together RIVM and ECN have developed an assessment framework. This system is on the one hand based on existing legislation for the protection of humans and the environment and on the other  a unique mathematical model to quantify acceptable emissions.

The approach is unique because the specific characteristics of soil, groundwater and landfill are taken into account, thus allowing custom-made calculations. International attention and scientific acceptation followed the publication of the novel approach in the scientific journal Waste Management.

Sustainable landfills

Sustainable landfill management implies that the landfill site is not covered and is therefore exposed to air and water. If needed, extra water is pumped into the sites. In the resultant processes, any hazardous substances are either broken down or become bound to the waste. As a result, there are little or no substances emitted to the soil.

In the next ten years, three pilots will be conducted to determine whether emissions from these sustainably managed landfills comply with the new standards. If this proves to be the case, perpetual aftercare will no longer be necessary. This leads to a large reduction of cost. In addition, the landfill sites can have a new destination.