Sustainable Landfill Management (SLM) aims to determine a method to reduce the emission potential of landfills which lead to a cost-effective approach.
The aftercare of landfills is costly and imposes due care on future generations.
The usual method for landfills in the Netherlands is that the operator of the landfill first ensures a good under seal, followed by sealing with a top layer. The deposited waste is then completely isolated. This means that the waste materials are always retained and that the soil protection provisions must in principle be managed and controlled perpetually. An effective but expensive solution, that requires everlasting aftercare.
The SLM investigates the possibilities for speeding up the processes of degrading, stabilizing or otherwise rendering harmless the contaminants in a landfill. It is a strictly supervised research programme by the Dutch Government. It focuses on creating more sustainable landfills with a less complex (and less expensive) system of final sealing and aftercare activities.
By adding water and air to a landfill, the biodegradation processes in the landfill are stimulated. To eliminate the risks for the environment the quality of the remaining stable waste must meet the normal environmental standards.
Final goal of SLM is to reduce aftercare costs and environmental risks for future generations. The area of the landfill can be reused for other valuable purposes.
Main stakeholders:
• the Dutch waste management industry;
• Universities and research institutes;
• National and regional (Provinces) governments.

Resources needed

The exploitation will be funded by the landfill branch organisation. During the project (10 years) they will fund 1 million Euro for research and monitoring every year. The National government will coordinate the project.

Evidence of success

By performing the principles of processing the landfills according to SML (aeration and moistening), the aftercare -which is considered as everlasting in the Netherlands, very expensive and limits the potentials for area development- will be considerably reduced or ended. The pilots started from 1 July 2017, so for the moment results are premature. The first results are expected within 5 years.

Difficulties encountered

If SML is a success, it means that it can be applied for other landfills in the EU. The consequence is that a top layer is no longer necessary on a landfill. This means that the Dutch and EU Directive need an amendment.

Potential for learning or transfer

This practice can be replicable in any landfill at any location.
Performing the principles of processing landfills will increase the possibilities for area development and reduce costs for aftercare. Other regions can take advantage of the pilots in the Netherlands. If the Green Deal SLM will be a success, the Netherlands expect financial savings of at least 66 million Euro for the 15 allocated SLM landfills in the Netherlands (In the Regulation implementing landfill decision soil protection (17 mei 2016, nr. IENM/BSK-2016/93326) is a saving on aftercare costs of 20€/m2 calculated).
The practice contributes to the following articles and annexes in the EU Directive 31/1999 on the landfill of waste, of applicability to landfills throughout the EU.
- Article 12: Control and monitoring procedures in the operational phase;
- Article 13: Closure and after care procedures.

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Main institution
Zuid-Holland, Netherlands (Nederland)
Start Date
July 2016
End Date
July 2026


Jan Frank Mars Please login to contact the author.

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