In 1999, the solid waste handling in the city of Leon in Northern Spain was facing a difficult situation. With nearly all available landfill capacity used up and more than 300 tonnes of waste generated every day, a quick solution was needed.
The company responsible for the waste management in the city, a joint venture between Tecmed (Tecnicas Medioambientales) and FCC (Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas), decided to solve the acute problem by purchasing two round baling systems. The plan was to bale and store the waste until a final disposal method became available. The machines were delivered and taken into operation in the spring of 2000.
Until today (June 2001) more than 70000 tonnes of waste has been baled. The bales are stored in open air at a waste treatment facility just outside Leon and at two other locations nearby.
Despite high summer temperatures in excess of 40°C, the experience from Leon is that the storage is not causing any disturbance to the surrounding in form of foul smell, littering, etc.
Thanks to this possibility for long term storage of waste, the current plan is to operate the facility until 2003 when a biological treatment plant for the waste is planned to be in operation.