Resource and Climate Implications of Landfill Mining

A Case Study of Sweden


  • Per Frändegård,

    Corresponding author
    • Address correspondence to: Per Frändegård, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden. Email: Web:

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  • Joakim Krook,

  • Niclas Svensson,

  • Mats Eklund


This study analyzes the amount of material deposited in Swedish municipal solid waste landfills, how much is extractable and recyclable, and what the resource and climate implications are if landfill mining coupled with resource recovery were to be implemented in Sweden. The analysis is based on two scenarios with different conventional separation technologies, one scenario using a mobile separation plant and the other using a more advanced stationary separation plant. Further, the approach uses Monte Carlo simulation to address the uncertainties attached to each of the different processes in the scenarios. Results show that Sweden's several thousand municipal landfills contain more than 350 million tonnes (t) of material. If landfill mining combined with resource recovery is implemented using a contemporary stationary separation plant, it would be possible to extract about 7 million t of ferrous metals and 2 million t of nonferrous metals, enough to meet the demand of Swedish industry for ferrous and nonferrous metals for three and eight years, respectively. This study further shows that landfill mining could potentially lead to the equivalent of a one-time reduction of about 50 million t of greenhouse gas emissions (carbon-dioxide equivalents), corresponding to 75% of Sweden's annual emissions.