NEW-MINE – EU Training Network for Resource Recovery Through Enhanced Landfill Mining



Level: International

Duration: 48 months


Since the earliest days of the Industrial Revolution, Europe has been dumping its unwanted waste materials in landfill sites. Estimates assume that there are somewhere between 150,000 and 500,000 of such sites, either closed or still operational, in the EU. As a result of the EU’s Landfill and Waste Directives, most of the still-operational landfills are “sanitary” landfills, which are equipped with state-of-the-art environmental protection and methane collection systems. However, at least 90% of Europe’s landfills predating the EU’s Landfill Directive are “non-sanitary” landfills. These landfills have limited, poor or no protection technologies, which means that their deposits might cause severe environmental problems, ranging from local pollution concerns (soil and water) and land-use restrictions to global impacts in the form of greenhouse-gas emissions. These landfills require special attention.

There are 4 scenarios to front non-sanitary landfills: “Do-nothing”, “Classic Remediation with Relandfill”, “Classic Landfill Mining (LFM)” and Enhanced Landfill Mining (ELFM)”.

  FlowChart New Mine Copyright: © NEW MINE Comparison of different scenarios for the EU’s landfills, ranging from Do-Nothing (only acceptable – in the medium term – for well-monitored sanitary landfills), Classic Remediation (where the materials are excavated and re-landfilled), Classic Landfill  

The New-Mine Project is a Horizon 2020 project focusing on enhanced landfill mining. Its aim is to transform a large fraction of old landfilled excavated material into higher-added-value products, such as fuel-grade hydrogen and alternative binders for low-carbon construction applications so that only a minor fraction needs to be re-landfilled.

Since its beginning in September 2016, the Department of Processing and Recycling (I.A.R.) of RWTH Aachen University is part of the New-Mine consortium, which includes 10 core partners from academia and industry as well as seven associated partners. The scope of I.A.R. is to process mechanically the excavated waste and develop a model that allows to assess the potential of landfills as a source of secondary raw materials.

Further information about the project and the research focus of the 15 PhD students that are involved in the New-Mine Project can be found at the New-Mine website.

Final Video of the NEW-MINE project

Within four years of intensive interdisciplinary research, the EU Horizon 2020 MSCA-ETN NEW-MINE project team developed and integrated cutting-edge, eco-friendly Enhanced Landfill Mining (ELFM) technologies to valorise Europe’s 500,000+ landfills. Their inter- and transdisciplinary research and innovation unlocks a potential for the resource recovery from the waste of the past. In this final video of the NEW-MINE project, the consortium members show why ELFM is the missing link of the Circular Economy 2.0.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.



Karoline Raulf

Academic councillor


+49 241 80 96123


Landfill Opening Copyright: © Department of Processing and Recycling (I.A.R.)