2.10 Quantity and Treatment of Waste

Indicator 2.10 - Quantity and Treatment of Waste


Flokkunargámar hjá FjarðaáliHere you can find information about amount and treatment of waste and byproducts by Alcoa Fjarðaál, Landsvirkjun and contractors at Kárahnjúkavirkjun power plant and aluminum smelter in Reyðarfjörður.


Operating period

b - c  Quantity of waste for landfill and recycled annually (in kg).

Table 1. Total amount of waste from Fljótsdalsstöð power plant.

Waste for landfilla Waste for recyclingb
 Hazardous waste
 2007 870    
 2008 802 1,904 612
 2009 2,702 4,507 268
 2010 31,470 67,435 401
 2011 13,400 11,050 1,080
 2012 10,160 1,568 170
 2013 4,220 4,730 281
 2014 3,030 4,920 1,720
 2015 5,930 15,100 1,743
 2016 8,950 21,590 1,218
 2017 4,600   4,320  12,585c 
 2018 2,820
 3,595  543
 2019  1,960  2,645  852

a. Ungraded waste.
b: Timber, metals, tires, plastic, and biological material.
c: Tar sand (used for sandblast) 12,000 kg.

Table 2. Total amount of waste at Fjarðaál smelter.

Year Waste for landfilla  Waste for recyclingb Special hazardous wastec Other hazardous waste
 2008 252 45,590  3,320 59
 2009 223 45,512  5,379 104
 2010 206 42,129  4,629 119
 2011 171 39,095  4,882 114
 2012 190 46,285  7,586 82
 2013 162 49,607  13,992 72
 2014 138 52,737  12,987 105
 2015 264 52,099  9,930 112
 2016 337 54,861  6,543d 115
 2017 342 48,515   5,679 158
 2018 219
 5,699 136

a: Majority of the waste for landfill is organic.
b: Sorted by-products from the production process, mostly cleaned anode butts, and general by-products (wood, metal, plastic, paper etc.)  Mixed/unsorted waste is sent for incineration.
c: Hazardous waste developed during production of aluminum, spent pot lining and aluminum slag. All special hazardous waste is recycled.
d: Some part of the special hazardous waste was sent for recycling in 2017.

Updated:  28th of February 2020 (LV)
Source:  Alcoa Fjarðaál (2019), Landsvirkjun (2020)

d. Total amount of spent pot lining (SPL) sent for recycling per ton of aluminum produced annually (in kg/metric ton)

Table 3. Total amount of spent pot lining (SPL) sent for recycling per ton of aluminum produced (kg/metric ton)

 Year Amount
kg/metric ton of aluminum
 2011  1b
 2012  10
 2013  27c
 2014  28
 2015  19
 2016  7.6
 2017  3.8 
 2018  3.0

a: 2011 is the first year that SPL was sent for recycling.
b: The total quantity of SPL was 318.5 tons, or 0.93 kg of SPL per produced ton of aluminum. The total aluminum production in 2011 was 340,742.13 tonn.
c: The amount of SPL varies between years depending on the number of relined pots.  The plans for pot relining range from 0 to 100 pots per year and the amount of SPL is almost 100 tons per pot.  While aluminum production is stable between years this explains the fluctuation in amount of SPL between years.

Raw data in Excel

Updated:  May 28, 2019
Source:  Alcoa Fjarðaál 2019

Construction period

a. Quantity and treatment of solid waste left/landfilled in the project areas

Exact figures on the total amount of waste are not available. Concrete and neutral waste was landfilled in mining areas on project sites. When the sites were being finished, it was required that at least 4 m of soil covered the concrete and also that landscaping was in harmony with the surrounding landscape. The East Iceland Health Authority is responsible for surveillance on the waste associated with the project areas.

b. Quantity of waste for landfill (in tons)

Table 4.  Total amount of waste landfilled (tons) at Kárahnjúkavirkjun power plant and by Bechtel at aluminum smelter construction site.

   2005 2006  2007 2008 2009  2010
 Kárahnjúkavirkjun a  2,511 1,988 2,000 3,413   25.2
 Bechtel  144          

a: General unsorted waste was land filled.

Updated:  January 7 2015
Source:  Alcoa Fjarðaál (2008 - 2014)

c. Amount of waste sold or recycled annually, in metric tons

Table 5. Total amount of waste sold or recycled at  Kárahnjúkavirkjun power plant and by Bechtel at aluminum smelter construction site.

  2005 2006 2007 2008  2009   2010
Bechtel 336          
Kárahnjúkar Power Project* 1,861 2,465 2,000  16,736    76.25

Updated:  January 7 2015
Source:  Landsvirkjun (2005 - 2013), Bechtel (2007)

Monitoring Protocol and Targets

Metrics: What is measured?

  1. Total quantity of waste left behind/used for landfill in the Kárahnjúkavirkjun power plant area (project effect: direct).
  2. Total quantity of waste used for landfill (project effect: direct).
  3. Total quantity of waste recycled (project effect: direct).
  4. Spent pot lining (SPL) recycled (project effect: direct).

Monitoring Protocol 

  1. Infomation collected monthly from rapports from contractors in the power plant area.
  2. Information collected simultaneously from emission rapports.
  3. Information collected simultaneously.
  4. Information collected simultaneously. 


  • Waste send to destruction or waste used for landfill.
  1. Fjarðaál: No waste will be used for landfill.
  2. Kárahnjúkavirkjun power plant: No waste will be left behind or used for landfill in the power plant area in the end of the constructions except concrete from the construction time.
  • Recycling
  1. Fljótsdalsstöð power plant: Recycling will be at least minimally recycling possibility in the area.
  2. Fjarðaál: All waste will be sold or recycled.
  • Fjarðaál: 100%  of spent pot lining (SPL) will be recycled.

Possible contingency plan

Alcoa Fjarðaál and Landsvirkjun enviromental policy (only available in icelandic).

Alcoa og umhverfið

Landsvirkjun: Umhverfismál

Revisions of Indicator 2.10

What is measured?

Part  Text before  Text after  
 b Total quantity of waste used for landfill yearly  Total quantity of waste used for landfill  
 c  Ratio of waste sold or recycled yearly  Total quantity of waste recycled  
 d  Spent pot lining (SPL) reused/recycled yearly  Spent pot lining (SPL) recycled  

Rationale for changes:

A recommendation was pronounced that no difference is made whether waste is sold or recycled, a total quantity of waste is displayed rather than ratio of waste for recycling and in part d the word "recycled"  is used because spent pot lining (SPL) is only recycled, not reused.

Updadet: March 9 2016

Rationale for Indicator Selection

Icelandic laws and regulations are the foundation of Icelandic policy for waste management. Most of
these laws are based on EU directives. The main objectives of this policy include decreasing the total
quantity of waste generated, increasing recycling and recovery, and reducing the quantity of waste
deposited in landfills.

Alcoa Fjardaál and Landsvirkjun have direct control over the solid waste at their facility and can therefore
control the generation and waste disposal so that it complies with government policy.