Microplastics in Landfill Leachates in the Nordic Countries


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This report summarizes results from sampling and analysis of microplastics in leachates from a total of 11 landfills in Finland, Iceland and Norway. The study was commissioned by the Nordic Waste Group (NAG) and the Marine Group (HAV) under the Nordic Council of Ministers. Polymer particles with an upper size limit of 5 mm and a lower limit of 50 μm (micrometres), were included. Samples were analysed by FT-IR spectroscopy. Most samples tested positive for multiple microplastics. Compared to other quantified sources of microplastics such as raw or treated sewage, landfill leachates are likely to be a relatively small source of microplastic particles between 5000 and 50 µm. Variations in particle count extends, however, over several orders of magnitude. Variability and potential effects of microplastics in landfill leachates, including particles <50µm, should be focus of future studies.
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