Even though Germany enjoys high recycling rates, there is always a certain amount of mineral construction and demolition waste or slag that cannot be recycled and so must be taken to landfill. A number of regions around the country are finding themselves facing an imminent shortage of landfill space – primarily because many of the current landfills are due to close in the not too distant future. The REMEX Group, a company belonging to REMONDIS, has been entering into public private partnerships to provide local authorities with reliable solutions to this problem and help them increase their landfill capacities.
A group of experts met at the IFAT 2016 at the beginning of June to discuss the landfilling of mineral waste. Everyone present – whether they were politicians, business people or scientists – agreed that priority must always be given to materials recycling. At the same time, though, they also reiterated the need to have the necessary landfill space available across the country for residual materials that are unable to be recycled for re-use. In practice, however, it is not so easy to set up new landfills as there is a distinct lack of suitable land. Local authorities are finding it difficult to guarantee space for landfill materials.
ZAK (Zentrale Abfallwirtschaft Kaiserslautern) and REMEX have proven that it is possible to find intelligent solutions to this problem with their ‘landfill on a landfill’ concept. At the centre of this project: ZAK’s old landfill at its Kapiteltal site near Kaiserslautern in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Here, the partners have created additional landfill space following the principle of “new on old”. This new landfill section uses around 21 hectares of old landfill space as well as a further 10 hectares of the Kapiteltal valley immediately bordering this area. Due to be completed this year, this “new” landfill will provide a safe and environmentally compatible area for a total of around 7.2 million cubic metres of slightly polluted mineral waste (so-called ‘DK1’ landfill category). Plans are for it to accept waste until 2052.
REMEX Deponiegesellschaft Kapiteltal mbH is ZAK’s partner for this project and will also be responsible for marketing activities.
This well thought-out extension of the existing landfill saves space, is to be run using the latest technology and also ensures that the original landfill does not impact negatively on the environment. Moreover, it guarantees that the region has sufficient landfill space to provide its local inhabitants, the construction sector and industrial businesses with a safe place to deposit their waste.
This smart solution has a number of other advantages as well: the company will be able to use both its team of experienced staff and its existing infrastructure to operate the new landfill – both of which will help keep the fees stable and take the pressure off the public purse. This joint project has also proven to be well worth its while as far as the investment sum is concerned, as a considerable amount of money has been and will continue to be needed to create the landfill as well as to seal it off and landscape it in the future. Clear proof, therefore, that it is more than possible for local authorities to meet their landfill needs in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way.
“There has been great interest in this public private partnership – and not only in Rhineland-Palatinate but in other German states, too.”
Andreas Herb, Managing Director of REMEX SüdWest GmbH, Karlsruhe
ZAK opted to collaborate with the REMEX Group following a Europe-wide tender. Each partner has been able to contribute their various strengths. This creates both synergies and advantages. On the one hand, ZAK is able to fulfil its municipal duties as the owner of the landfill ensuring that there is sufficient space available and that fees remain stable. Being its private sector partner, the REMEX Group bears all costs and long-term financial risks connected to building, operating and, later, managing the landfill after it has been closed down. Furthermore, REMEX will be marketing the landfill space agreed on in the contract, helping to make sure the site is run cost-effectively. REMEX will be making the very most of its years of experience of this specialist business and of its know-how from operating numerous landfill projects – strengths from which the Kaiserslautern region will benefit for many years to come.