Mining Landfills

On a slightly different topic, an article on metal depletion reminded me of something that is likely to happen in the future: mining of landfills.

Currently, with our a-ecological mindset, we throw away enormous resources in our landfills. We are literally throwing away that which could be food for many different systems. We are throwing out of the loop that which we desperately need within the loop.

(This a-ecological mindset sees the planet is infinite rather than finite, has a narrow circle of concern rather than including the planet as a whole, and so on.)

So when we realize that we are in the ecological bottleneck we are in, with our consumption and extraction level far exceeding what the Earth can regenerate, we’ll start thinking of how to keep it all within the loop.

And also how to bring what was pushed out of the loop by previous generations back into the loop again.

And this, most likely, will include excavating and mining our old landfills for all the valuable materials there, maybe especially petroleum products and metals.

If all nations were to use the same services enjoyed in developed nations, even the full extraction of metals from the Earth’s crust and extensive recycling may not be enough to meet metal demands in the future, according to a new study.

To investigate the environmental and social consequences of metal depletion, researchers looked at metal stocks thought to exist in the Earth, metal in use by people today, and how much is lost in landfills.


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