“Ideally sustainable landfill is the one that doesn’t exist, but in reality there’ll always be a materials’ minimal amount we will put in these locations”. Pietro Jarre, GEAM (Associazione Georisorse e Ambiente) President, explains this way the demand for manage the best way these environmental plants, nowadays suffering for cruel social and political disapprovals.
Between your training courses one is dedicated to “sustainable landfill” concept. How do you realize it?
Today we have the requirement to be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. In first case a dump is sustainable when is located in a minimal social’ impact site, in order to give steady job on site and foreseeing from the beginning a final reutilization fruitful for the area. We have economic sustainability when costs are reduced, forecasting a biogas’ recycling to generate earnings for post closing’ advantage, when we have to have a reutilization , for example with photovoltaic systems’ implementation. Lastly, ecological sustainability is given by a management and post management with a minimal leachate’ production. Today we even try to use landfill like a wealth recovering material.
Italian landfills actualize this model?
In our country we made significant steps in recycling. We didn’t reach EU targets, but we are far ahead than twenty years ago and close to European average, considering however that EU’ widening let getting in some countries not so virtuous. In Italy we have many examples, not only up north, of biogas and leachate recycling. The risk, instead, comes when we use incinerators to work off materials to be recycled, moving from “everything in landfill” to “everything in incinerator”. A situation to be counterbalanced.
On the whole, anyway, I would not give a negative opinion about Italian landfills, considering, for example, that in water and biogas’ treatment we are champions in plant design and we have a lot to teach to other countries. This excellence, then, always fights against bureaucratic and administrative problems. One of the complications is given by the many districts when we try to manage just as many separated fields, comprehensible by a political point of view, not by a technical one.
From urban wastes to special ones, does the situation change?
We could do more, considering that we send too much abroad, for example to Germany’s halite mines, where we forward garbage low dangerous for the ambient that we could work off better here, but is difficult obtaining authorizations. In Torino, for example, there’s a landfill, recently expanded, working off biggest past of Italian dangerous garbage and it’s an example.
In occupational terms, how much is garbage’ sector worth?
Garbage’s prevention and management brings lot of work to young engineers, geologists, surveyors and consultants. Maybe, in the future, not anymore linked to landfills but in the supply chain.