Eco-friendly landfill

Labels: Latvia

latvia_GetliniEco_resizedGetlini eco-friendly landfill is responsible for ecological waste management in the Riga region. It is one of the largest producers of green energy in Latvia. Non-recyclable waste is deposited in evironmentally safe and sealed biodegradable cells, which cannot be penetrated by air or rainwater. The ladfill gas that forms in the cells is channelled to the Getlini power unit, incinerated and transformed into electricity and heat, while all wastewater is collected and purified. Thus, the impact of waste on the environment is reduced to a minimum.

Getlini eco-friendly landfill is responsible for ecological waste management in the Riga region. Using high technologies non-recyclable waste is deposited in evironmentally safe and sealed biodegradable cells, vhich cannot be penetrated by either air or rainwater. The ladfill gas that forms in the cells is channelled to the Getlini power unit, incinerated and transformed into electricity and heat, while all wastewater is collected and purified. Thus, the impact of waste on the environment ir reduced to a minimum.

The initative started already ten years ago. The company Getlini Eco was founded to start the project with the aim to turn a post soviet landfill into a modern waste management site that produces green energy. The initial investment exceeded 21 million US dollars and was provided by the Latvian Government and Riga City Council with the assisatnce of the World Bank and the Swedish governement. The construction lasted for 4-5 years and the landfill became fully operational in 2006. The share holders of the company are Riga City Council and Stopini Community.

In the last years Getlini eco-friendly landfill ir also a  unique example of the introduction of an ecologically compatible operating direction. The surplus heat produced by the power unit is used to heat the greenhouse at Getlini, ensuring and ideal evironment for agricultural production throughout the cold months of the year. Modern greenhouses that are 5.5m high and span an area of 3625 m2 are being build on the territory of the waste disposal site. The heat provides greenhouses with cheap heating and results in lower price of the product. It is planned that the greenhouses will produce 165 tonnes of tomatoes annually. Further options of flower and strawberry growing are also explored.  

Getlini Eco is developing an environmentally friendly farming operation. An area spanning 20ha of the recultivated rubbish mound is now home to biologicl mowers in the form of a herd of Latvian dark headed sheep. At the start of grazing season in spring, the company leases 100 lambs from Latvian farms. Throughout the summer, the sheep are located on natural pastures where mineral fertilisers and pesticides are not used. Grass ir protected from the harmful impact of waste by 50cm thick edge and 20cm thick layer of soil. The grass grown at Getlini is cleaner and less harmful for animal nutrition than grass grown next to a road with intersive traffic. This has been confirmed by analyses carried out in a certified laboratory. Clean drinking water is delivered to the pastures.

Barriers and Drivers

The main drivers of the project were:

- the need to turn an old dumping site into a modern lanfill that complies with the European and national regulations

- prevention of ground water and atmosphere pollution in a densely populated area

- creation of additional revenues from the landfill gas.

The barriers were substantial initial investment and technical complexity of the project.

Economic Performance

Getlini Eco landfill is a modern company that employs more than 80 people. The initial investment of 21 million US dollars was used to build the modern infrastructure and since 2003 the company is self-financing its activities and development through selling electricity to the main energy provider Latvenergo. The energy produced from the landfill coverns energy needs of around 10 000 inhabitants. In the last two years Getlini Eco uses the additonal energy for the production of vegetables. The built greenhouses are estimated to produce 165 tonned of tomatoes annually, which are sold at a lower price in the local market.

Social Performance

The social gain from the project is mostly related to conversion of the old dumping site into a modern eco-friendly landfill. It has greatly improved the attractivness of the area for residents through the reduction of litter, windblown plastic bags, odour and the possible spread of infections transmitted by birds, rodents and insects that subsist from waste.

Environmental Impact

The environemntal benefits have bee the reduction of methane gase that causes greenhouse effect. The old rubbish mound has been covered with a thick layer of clay and soil to reduce infiltrate formation and enable collectio and incineration of methane. Important benefit has been groundwater pollution prevention by installing biological water purification system. Also there has been increased energy efficieny through the considerate use of energy excess generated in the landfill.

Further Information

www.getlini.lv/en

 

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