For a long time, landfills have solely been seen as final waste disposal sites or static endpoints of the linear economy. It is estimated that there are about 100, 000 old landfills in north-western Europe. Fortunately, current waste management policies result in a limited percentage of landfilled waste today, as a consequence of the shift towards a circular economy. Old landfills can contribute to this circular economy as well, if they are recognised as dynamic stockpiles of materials, energy and land that could be exploited for the benefit of the local economy and the immediately surrounding areas.
This way of thinking about old landfills is steadily growing in popularity. The Interreg European project COCOON introduced the concept of Dynamic Landfill Management (DLM) to emphasise the importance of aligning landfill valorisation and rehabilitation strategies with the surrounding, dynamic environment of the landfill. The Interreg Europe RAWFILL project brings different stakeholders together, that are specialised in this subject: SPAQuE (BE), University of Liège (BE), Natural Environment Research Council (UK), Cleantech Flanders (BE), ATRASOL (BE), SAS Les Champs Jouault (FR) and the Bergischer Abfallwirtschaftsverband (DE). To improve this new approach to landfill, the project and its partners developed a new working method to overcome the barriers that are still in place today, to successfully implement DLM and to provide expertise on the valorisation potential of landfills. In this way, they support the development of a new circular economy for raw materials recovered from landfills and the development of the space currently occupied by these static objects.