Investigation of municipal solid waste (MSW) and industrial landfills as a potential source of secondary raw materials

Heikki Särkkä (Corresponding Author), Tommi Kaartinen, Esa Hannus, Sami Hirvonen, Tuire Valjus, Jouni Lerssi, Giovanna A. Dino, Piergiorgio Rossetti, Zoe Griffiths, Stuart T. Wagland, Frederic Coulon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Many of the secondary raw materials (SRM) in landfills constitute valuable and scarce natural resources. It has already been recognised that the recovery of these elements is critical for the sustainability of a number of industries and SRM recovery from anthropogenic waste deposits represents a significant opportunity. In this study, the characterisation of the different waste fractions and the amount of SRM that can potentially be recovered from two landfill sites in Finland is presented. The first site was a municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill site and it was specifically investigated for its metals, SRM, plastics, wood, paper, and cardboard content as well as its fine fraction (<20 mm). The second site was an industrial landfill site containing residual wastes from industrial processes including 1) aluminium salt slag from refining process of aluminium scrap and 2) shredding residues from automobiles, household appliances and other metals containing waste. This site was investigated for its metals and SRM recovery potential as well as its fine fraction. Results suggest that the fine fraction offers opportunities for metal (Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn) and SRM extraction and recovery from both landfill site types while the chemical composition of the industrial waste landfill offered greater opporutinity as it was comparable to typical aluminium salt slags. Nevertheless, the concentrations of rare earth metals (REE) and other valuable elements were low even in comparison with the concentrations found in the Earth’s crust. Therefore mining landfill sites only for their metals or SRM content is not expected to be financially viable. However, other opportunities, such as waste-derived fuels from excavated materials especially at MSW landfill sites, still exists and fosters the application and feasibility of landfill mining.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-90
    Issue numberMarch
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • secondary raw materials
    • landfill mining
    • municipal solid waste
    • extractive waste
    • rare earth elements


    Dive into the research topics of 'Investigation of municipal solid waste (MSW) and industrial landfills as a potential source of secondary raw materials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this