The conversion of the Leppe landfill by the project :metabolon exemplifies an innovative interim use with a focus on research, education and circular economy.
Initially, the Leppe landfill with a waste disposal area of 39 hectares and a waste volume of 9 million cubic metres had a negative image, like most municipal solid waste landfills during the 80’s. The burdens associated with the disposal activity and the fear of harmful environmental effects characterized the landfill.
However, starting from 2006 the project :metabolon converted the Leppe landfill into a modern waste management centre, focusing on innovation, research and education supported by the European Regional Development Fund. On the landfill site a competence centre for resource management, environmental and landfill technologies as well as circular economy has been established with an emphasis on research, education and knowledge transfer. Moreover, the landfill has been made accessible for the public so that modern waste management can be experienced by everyone, accompanied by a viewing platform on top of the landfill and a multitude of information options and recreational activities for junior as well as senior visitors. Thus, a changed perception and an image change of the landfill location was achieved. All in all, :metabolon is by now a place to create the future together.
The main stakeholders are The Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MULNV), municipalities of Lindlar and Engelskirchen, local authorities (OBK, RBK), TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences and local residents.

Resources needed

The budget of :metabolon (landscaping of the landfill, research infrastructure and projects) is 34 mio. €
This was funded by the Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the - European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Evidence of success

The project :metabolon on Leppe landfill is continuously evolving and leads to many interdisciplinary co-operations between experts and research institutions to create innovation in waste and resource management and to educate the current and next generation for a prospective implementation of a sustainable circular economy. More than 50.000 visitors and more than 5.000 pupil and students per year demonstrate the wide acceptance of the public for the project :metabolon on the Leppe landfill.

Difficulties encountered

In the beginning of the project :metabolon a lot of persuasion was needed to convince stakeholders and local residents to make the landfill accessible to the public and moreover to establish a competence, research and education centre for resource management and circular economy on the landfill site

Potential for learning or transfer

The project :metabolon on Leppe landfill itself can be considered as being a kind of exhibition for good practices in sustainable waste and resource management, environmental and landfill technologies, research and education as well as leisure and recreation. Due to its unique research infrastructure with the possibility to transfer experimental results from laboratories to pilot plants on a semi-technical scale and even further to industrial plants on the landfill site, the project :metabolon has become a reference site for international experts in the above mentioned fields. The project :metabolon was officially nominated as a research centre of TH Köln. The interim use of the Leppe landfill with its many aspects ranging from a modern waste management centre with the utilization of renewable energy to a site of education is an ongoing success story. More than 50.000 visitors and more than 5.000 students per year demonstrate the interest to the project :metabolon.

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Main institution
Start Date
January 2006
End Date


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