Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2013Peer reviewed

The economics of enhanced landfill mining: private and societal performance drivers

Van Passel, Steven; Dubois, Maarten; Eyckmans, Johan; de Gheldere, Serge; Ang, Frederic; Jones, Peter Tom; Van Acker, Karel


This paper addresses the economics of Enhanced Landfill Mining (ELFM) both from a private point of view as well as from a society perspective. The private potential is assessed using a case study for which an investment model is developed to identify the impact of a broad range of parameters on the profitability of ELFM. We found that especially variations in Waste-to-Energy (WtE efficiency, electricity price, CO2-price, WtE investment and operational costs) and ELFM support explain the variation in economic profitability measured by the Internal Rate of Return. To overcome site-specific parameters we also evaluated the regional ELFM potential for the densely populated and industrial region of Flanders (north of Belgium). The total number of potential ELFM sites was estimated using a 5-step procedure and a simulation tool was developed to trade-off private costs and benefits. The analysis shows that there is a substantial economic potential for ELFM projects on the wider regional level. Furthermore, this paper also reviews the costs and benefits from a broader perspective. The carbon footprint of the case study was mapped in order to assess the project's net impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Also the impacts of nature restoration, soil remediation, resource scarcity and reduced import dependence were valued so that they can be used in future social cost-benefit analysis. Given the complex trade-off between economic, social and environmental issues of ELFM projects, we conclude that further refinement of the methodological framework and the development of the integrated decision tools supporting private and public actors, are necessary. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Enhanced landfill mining; Investment model; Cost-benefit analysis; Carbon footprint; Economic assessment; Economic profitability

Published in

Journal of Cleaner Production
2013, Volume: 55, pages: 92-102

    UKÄ Subject classification


    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)