Lets talk words… Secondary raw materials Recycled raw materials Recycled resources Recyclables Alternative resources Recycled commodities
Lets talk concepts… What is waste? Basel Convention: Wastes are materials (…) for which the initial user has no further use and of which he/she wants to dispose. Wastes may be generated during the extraction of raw materials, the processing of raw materials into intermediate and final products, the consumption of final products, and other human activities.
When does a product become waste? European Union: The EU Waste Framework Directive defines waste as an object the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard.
When does a waste become a product? Moving from a linear to a circular economy Linear economy: Take, make and dump Circular economy:
End-of-waste criteria (Abfallendeverfahren) End-of-waste criteria specify when certain waste ceases to be waste and obtains a status of a product (or a secondary raw material). EoW criteria already in place for iron, steel and aluminium scrap. In the pipeline: copper scrap metal, recovered paper, glass cullet, plastics and biodegradable waste / compost, aggregates and RDF.
One example: Aluminium scrap Scrap shall be graded according to a customer specification, a standard or an industry standard The aluminium scrap shall have been segregated at the source or while collecting and shall have been kept separate; or the input wastes shall have been treated to separate the aluminium scrap from the non-metal and undesired metal components All mechanical treatment (like cutting, shearing, shredding or granulating; sorting, separation, cleaning, de-polluting, emptying) needed to prepare the material for direct input into final use shall have been completed.
One example: EoW criteria for aluminium scrap A limit on metal yield, metal content or the content of foreign materials (e.g. metals other than aluminium and aluminium alloys or non-metallic materials such as earth, dust, insulation and glass) Scrap must be free of visible oil, oily emulsion, grease or lubricants Scrap must have been checked for radioactivity
Disposal vs. recovery... Waste management activities are classed as recovery or disposal, as defined in the 2008 Waste Framework Directive. Disposal (Beseitigung) is defined as any waste management operation serving or carrying out the final treatment and disposal of waste. It covers the following main operations: Incineration without energy recovery (on land; at sea) Landfill
Recovery (Verwertung) is any operation in which waste serves a useful purpose by replacing materials which would otherwise have been used to fulfil a particular function. Recovery mainly refers to the following operations: - material recovery, i.e. recycling; - energy recovery, i.e. re-use as a fuel; - biological recovery, e.g. composting; - re-use.
When to sort: at the source or at a plant? Separating materials at the source (e.g. Germany) results in less contamination of recyclables than mixed or commingled systems (US: single stream, single sort or single throw) Commingled - materials are mixed together in a lorry which compacts the materials. Recyclables are separated later, usually at a materials recycling or recovery facility (MRF)
When to sort: at the source or at a plant? Advantages of commingled: Less sorting may mean more recyclables are placed at the kerb and more residents may participate in recycling; Reduced collection costs because single-compartment trucks are cheaper to buy and operate, collection routes can be serviced more efficiently; Drawbacks: High initial costs, high processing costs, possible lower quality due to contamination
The waste hierarchy
Lets talk technologies…
Paper recycling 1.Paper arrives at paper mill (after sorting). 2.Paper enters a pulper, which contains water and chemicals. The pulper chops paper into small pieces. The mixture is then heated, breaking it down into fibres and ultimately pulp. 3.Pulp is screened to remove small contaminants, e.g. plastic and glue, then cleaned, de-inked, bleached and mixed with water. This pulp can then be used to make new paper. 4.The same fibres can be recycled about seven times, but they become shorter each time and are eventually strained out by the screen.
Paper recycling Each ton (2,000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water. Terminology note: Industry does not like the term waste paper. The preferred term is recovered paper, even if the material in question is post- consumer paper.
Scrap metal recycling (aluminium and steel) 1.Metal recycling plant performs quality inspections for sorting purity and sometimes radiation. 2.Smelter heats scrap metal in furnace until it melts. Different metals go to different smelters because each metal has a different melting point (e.g. aluminium melts at 1,200 degrees F, steel at 2,800 degrees F). 3.Extremely hot liquid metal is poured into moulds and turns into ingots when cooled. 4.Ingots sold to producers and remelted to make into different products 5.Popular uses for recycled metals: aluminium cans, filing cabinets, storage racks, canned foods, even cars.
Glass bottle recycling 1.Glass is taken to glass recycling plant. 2.Glass is sorted by colour and washed to remove any impurities (e.g. corks, labels). 3.Modern sorting technology use three sensors: Infrared to sort ceramics, minerals, porcelain and metals Line scan camera to separate mixed glass into different colours X-ray fluorescence to separate heat resistant and leaded glass 4.Glass is crushed and melted then moulded into new products.
Glass bottle recycling Glass bottles and jars are almost infinitely recyclable without any loss in purity or quality. Recycling just one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours, power a computer for 30 minutes. Popular uses for recycled glass: bottles, jars, insulation products, aggregate in construction products. Glass NEVER breaks down in a landfill. Making glass from recycled material cuts related water pollution by 50%.
Composting 1.Feedstock arrives at composting plant where large impurities are removed by hand and then shredders reduce its size. Drum screens then classify material before magnets and air-classifiers remove metals and plastics. 2.Compost is placed in drums, tunnels or boxes, or placed in windrows for intensive decomposition phase. Most decomposition by mass typically takes place during the first two to three weeks at temperatures of up to 70 degrees Celsius. This phase must be enclosed to reduce emissions. 3.The resulting product (fresh compost) can then undergo maturation to produce mature compost.
Waste-to-energy systems Physical: RDF (waste is compressed into pellets) Biological: Anaerobic digestion (from combustion of biogas generated from digestion of biodegradable waste) Landfill (from combustion of landfill gas produced as biowaste decomposes) Thermal: Combustion Pyrolysis and gasification Plasma arc gasification
Cleaning up their act All new WtE plants in industrialised countries must meet strict emission standards, including those on nitrogen oxides (NO), sulphur dioxide (SO 2 ), heavy metals and dioxins. Modern incineration plants are vastly different from the old types, some of which neither recovered energy nor materials.
Pyrolysis Waste is heated in an oxygen-free or low-oxygen environment to produce a gas, oils and ash. Gas is scrubbed to remove particulates, hydrocarbons and soluble matter Scrubbed gas is used to generate electricity and sometimes heat using a steam turbine or gas engine Gasification Ash, tar and volatile gas from pyrolysis are converted into a combustible gas (syngas) by a reaction with steam.
MBT: The way forward? Mechanical-biological treatment (MBT) facilities combine sorting techniques with composting or anaerobic digestion. MBT plants can process mixed household waste, commercial waste and industrial waste, and help to divert residual waste away from landfills
Landfill Waste is unloaded at tipping face, compacted by bulldozers then covered by layers of soil daily. Modern landfills typically must contain a liner to prevent release of leachate and protect groundwater.
Country comparison Côte d'Ivoire USA Germany
No national statistics available Agence National de Salubrité Urbain estimates that Abidjan generated 893,330 tonnes of waste in IMF estimates current waste collection rate at 46.1%. Rapid urbanisation, lack of access for waste collection vehicles. Waste is dumped openly or taken to a landfill 6 miles outside the capital. Reported water, soil and air pollution in the surroundings. Informal waste pickers extract recyclables from the landfill at a huge risk to their own health.
Trafigura scandal In 2006, Probo Koala ship allegedly offloaded 500 tonnes of hazardous waste in Abidjan. A local contractor then dumped this waste at 12 locations in and around the city. Trafigura claimed that this waste came from washing out Probo Koalas tanks. A Dutch inquiry found that it was over 500 tonnes of fuel, caustic soda and hydrogen sulphide. Trafigura had allegedly chosen not to pay 1,000/m³ disposal charge in Amsterdam, with the ship turned away by several countries before arriving at Abidjan. Effects: The UN and the countrys government blames the gas caused by the release of these chemicals for 17 deaths and injuries to more than 30,000 Ivorians (ranging from mild headaches to severe skin burns). Almost 100,000 Ivorians sought medical treatment.
United States of America
The market With the exception of the big two (WMI, Republic Services), the US waste management industry is fragmented. About 18,000 companies provide waste management services and have combined annual revenue of about $85 billion. The US is home to just under 100 waste-to-energy plants, mainly in north-east where land is limited and expensive. Number of MSW landfills fell from about 8,000 in 1988 to 1,858 in 2001, but their average size had grown and the number of waste transfer sites had increased. Tipping fees = as low as $21/t in Texas. State and federal government is not actively promoting efforts to divert waste from landfills so there is little economic incentive to recycle MSW.
US statistics Average American will generate 102 tons of waste in lifetime = 7lbs per person, per day. EPA statistics suggest that the United States generated ca. 250 million tons of waste in In 2008, the US landfilled 54.2% of its waste, recycled or composted 34.1% and incinerated 11.7% to generate energy. Question marks remain about the veracity of the EPA figures. US has 5% of the worlds population but generates 25% of its waste.
Puente Hills Landfill is the largest operating landfill in the US. Located in Los Angeles, it is 150 meters high, covers 700 acres and has accepted 120 million tons of waste since opening in 1970.
Highly developed technologies (German companies hold a 25% share of the international market for recycling and waste management technologies) Landfill numbers plummeted from 50,000 in 1972 to less than 2,000 in 2012 Germany banned the landfilling of non-treated municipal waste in 2005 and all above-ground landfills are to close by 2020 (Extended) producer responsibility AKA the polluter pays principle is a key element of German and EU waste policy. Producers and distributors are required to take back and recycle their packaging, batteries, WEEE etc. Deposit on most beverage packaging
Breakdown of municipal solid waste
Lets talk bins….
More links Youtube video on MRF sorting: (sorting starts at about 3.30) Waste Management and Climate Change e_change.pdf e_change.pdf The Economics of Waste and Waste Policy economic-principles-wr pdf Two good books: Garbology by Edward Humes and Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte