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  • Created by: moldol
  • Created on: 14-05-14 09:23






Case study – how one HIC – Germany – disposes of its waste

Germany produces about 60 million tonnes of domestic waste each year and,

like all countries, its four main disposal options are:


Landfi ll






Exporting waste.

Landfi ll

At the most basic level, land fi lling involves putting waste in a hole in the ground

and covering it with soil or rock. Today, the engineering of a modern landfi ll

is a complex process, typically involving lining and capping individual cells or

compartments into which waste is compacted and then covered to prevent the

escape of polluting liquid or gases. In newer landfi ll sites, systems are installed to

capture and remove the gases and liquids produced by the rotting rubbish.

Over recent years Germany has used landfi ll for getting rid of much of its

waste and this has been possible because of the country’s geology. Mineral

extraction and quarrying left large holes in the ground which were ‘restored’

by fi lling with waste. In addition, the underlying geology often provided

naturally impermeable ground conditions, allowing the waste to be buried

with less risk of liquids seeping out and polluting groundwater. Because of

the geological conditions, therefore, landfi ll was relatively cheap. In particular,

radioactive waste from Germany’s nuclear power plants is increasingly

disposed of in this way, with sealed containers placed in holes several hundred

metres underground. The repository at Konrad, for example, is located in a

pre-existing iron mine at the exceptional depth of 1,000 metres. The use of

these old mines has reduced the need for the waste to be shipped to specialist

nuclear waste recycling plants, such as Sellafi eld in the UK.


Incineration is the burning of waste. Incineration may be carried out with or

without ‘energy recovery’, which means that energy is produced from the

burning process. Without energy recovery, it is a form of disposal, like landfi ll

– although it uses less space.

Quick notes (the London

Borough of Camden):

• Waste disposal is the

responsibility of


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