VITO n.v. (until 31-12-2017 vzw i-Cleantech Vlaanderen - innovatie in cleantech)
Since the 1950s Europe has been disposing vast levels of waste in landfills. Estimates have revealed that 90% of Europe’s 500,000+ landfills are “non-sanitary” landfills, which predate the EU Landfill Directive and have limited environmental protection technologies.
The EC has acknowledged that a vision for managing Europe’s landfills is urgently required. Landfills are to be considered as dynamic stocks of resources (landfill gas, water, other) that can be integrated into the economy, while landfill management (LfM) supports reclaiming land and avoids astronomic remediation and aftercare costs. Although many EU regions are already implementing LfM, no targeted, specific European LfM legislation currently exists. Nor are existing Waste Management and Soil Protection policies integrated in an overarching circular economy framework.
Therefore, the COCOON objective is to develop, integrate and improve relevant policy instruments, while increasing subsidies through operational programmes (OPs) for LfM projects. COCOON brings together distinct EU regions to share and capitalise on regional good practices. The six targeted policy instruments include :
The Soil Remediation Decree in Flanders (BE), the Environmental Protection Act in the Netherlands.Funding of LfM projects through the OPs in Andalucía (ES), Brandenburg (DE), Cyprus and Malta.
As a result of LfM projects, the recovery of resources (landfill gas and water first, other resources later), as well as land recovery is increased while future environmental hazards can be avoided. LfM projects generate economic development opportunities; create new (local) jobs, all within the context of a EU-wide transition to a resilient, low-carbon, circular economy.
Obviously, the governments of the partner regions directly benefit from the improved policy. But as LfM contributes to a safe environment and more resource efficiency, other public bodies also benefit from the project, as will companies, knowledge institutes and civilians.