SECTOR WATCH 

Innovation and Resources on Urban Waste

SECTOR WATCH SEARCH RESULTS ( 1 - 6 from 6 )

Storyline

London Mayor's Environmental Strategy and waste

24 October 2017

Since Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's London Environment Strategy (LES) was published in draft for consultation this August, commentators have pointed to the strategy's broad reach and ambition - as well as its detailed analysis of the environmental challenges faced by the city of over 8 million people. The LES covers air quality, green infrastructure, climate change mitigation and adaptation, noise, the transition to a low-carbon circular economy, but most importantly for SectorWatch - waste.

While the Mayor's preface foregrounds the improvement of air quality, a recurring theme of the LES is the overall intention to ditch the 'linear approach' in favour of a circular economy in a number of areas. The waste section updates a 2011 strategy on municipal waste, and points out the looming problems: landfill will run out by 2026, only half of the 7 million tonnes of waste produced can be recycled, food waste is not being valorised. Of these 7 million tonnes the largest proportions are: 22% food and green garden waste; 60% common dry recyclables paper, card, plastics, glass and metals; 18% other materials including textiles, waste electricals (WEEE) wood, furniture and household cleaning chemicals.

Integrating waste into the Circular Economy

Another highlighted statistic is that London produces around 1.5 – 1.75m tonnes of food waste with a value of £2.55bn a year. One curiosity here is the expression of the amount of food waste, which is financial. Whether this portends a circular economy strategy which seeks to give organic waste a saleable value, or is merely a method of demonstrating scale is not clear. A question for procurers and others in the European municipal waste sector might be, "does the transition to a circular economy in waste necessarily mean attaching financial value for organic waste?"

" Single use packaging materials" are also identified as an area of focus, with UK national figures from WRAP extrapolated to demonstrate the pressure this puts on London's 33 municipal waste authorities.

Waste targets and challenges

The headline waste target of the LES is "by 2026 no biodegradable or recyclable waste will be sent to landfill and by 2030, 65 per cent of London’s municipal waste will be recycled". The LES points to a number of actions which will help achieve this, which angle the focus of the Strategy at this stage more towards the 33 municipal waste authorities than directly at the citizen, reflecting who is most likely to submit responses to the consultation.

The breadth of the LES and its reliance on the buy-in at local government level within the London region means that the results are really in the hands of the local authorities and agencies who will have to implement the strategy.

What will be interesting to observe as the consultation and political processes behind the LES continue is how high a priority waste will have in comparison with other aspects. This week the Mayor announced a new emissions charge for a much wider area than the original congestion charge, and issues of infrastructure (air, rail and underground) around London often dominate regional and national political agendas. Waste is one of seven areas identified, and up until now the main challenge has been achieving compliance with European level regulation. With Brexit looming, the impact of the European Waste Package and Circular Economy agenda might be felt less in the UK capital.

For further analysis, see the Zero Waste Europe website

The consultation is available here

Interview

Helsinki's approach to using sewage waste

7 September 2017

Sector Watch will cover the development of a project by Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) which seeks to develop ideas around the possible use of sewage sludge as a fertiliser product.

HSY is a municipal body responsible for waste management and water services to the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, which also provides information on the city's environment and engages with citizens to on environmental issues:

Water services: HSY supplies high-quality drinking water to over 1 million inhabitants throughout the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. It treats wastewater generated by households and industry in order to protect the Baltic Sea as well as build and repair the water and sewage network.
Waste management: HSY organises waste management for residential properties and the public administration, both in the Helsinki Metropolitan Are and in Kirkkonummi.
Regional and environmental information: HSY monitors the air quality in the Helsinki Metoropolitan Area at 11 monitoring sites. They promote the implementation of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Climate Strategy 2030 and the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

Impetus and goals in sewage sludge utilisation

At the moment, sewage sludge is composted in HSY's eco-industrial centre in Ämmässuo. Composting requires vast space in surrounding fields and causes strong odour in the surrounding area. In 5 years, it is projected that the amount of sewage to be processed there will double and the space will not be available to absorb this increase. The project therefore seeks to explore other ways of treating and reusing sewage sludge, as well as study methods used elsewhere.


A second impetus to start this project was uncertainty around the potential future use of sewage products as fertiliser in Finland.


The current goals of the project are therefore to:

  • study different kinds of treatment methods for sewage sludge
  • study different options for reuse of sewage sludge
  • to pilot selected treatments in Helsinki

Project process and schedule

The project started in June 2015 and conducted preparatory studies of the different methods employed in Finland and wider across Europe in sewage treatment and reuse. In 2016, market dialogues were conducted which produced small-scale pilots with companies to test the suitability of available technologies. In spring and summer 2017, the pilots were concluded and the results will be analysed by the project team.

In Autumn 2017 the project team will make recommendations based on the pilots of the treatment methods and refer these to a local steering group.

Analysis

Barriers to innovation procurement in waste management

3 July 2017

A recent study conducted in the framework of the PPI4waste project shows that despite the fact that Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) has the potential to introduce powerful solutions to fulfil present needs; it is still very much underused.

Public procurers often do not have the knowledge about how to carry out PPI in practice and do not use the available tools that could facilitate the process. In some cases, procurers are not aware of available new technologies in the market while in others; they are simply overwhelmed by the flow of new developments around products and services and the lack of trust about the effectiveness of the results.

On the other hand, procurers – even those willing to engage in PPI – often do not see incentives for buying new solutions. They are afraid of new solutions leading to higher costs or are faced with wrong incentives that do not encourage them to take the risk of buying innovative products from innovative suppliers.

Effective waste management requires a critical mass in terms of demand, in order for new investments to be cost-efficient. This is not the case of smaller municipalities, which have been traditionally responsible for their own waste management and have difficulties reaching this critical mass. Conducting join public procurements among different municipalities, which are located close to each other, is in many cases the best approach to reaching the necessary critical mass to make investments worthy. This is unfortunately not the case of most countries in Europe, which still relay in small budgets and long term contracts that difficult the introduction of innovations in the waste sector.

 

Knowledge exchange & joint procurements – the best solutions to address these barriers


At several “meet the market” events targeting public procurers and suppliers of innovative solutions for the waste sector conducted in Bilbao (Spain), Zagreb (Croatia), Utrecht (Netherlands) and Saragossa (Spain), it was made clear that these barriers regarding PPI implementation in the waste sector still exist.

However, a clear outcome of all the meet the market events was also that PPI in successful waste management is not just about the procurement of innovative products, but also about innovation at all levels, including in the organisational structure within current waste management units and in their overall approaches to waste management.

Barriers need to be addressed among others by:

-          encouraging the interaction between the existing market of innovative waste management solutions and public procurers;

-          improving the general knowledge on existing available tools and techniques;

-          disseminating successful approaches to waste management from other municipalities and waste management companies

-          facilitating networking opportunities and interaction between close-by municipalities, that can potentially conduct joint procurements and thus reach critical mass.

Currently we are in the middle of the preparation of an EU market dialogue for the creation of a textile sorting plant for about 1900 tons of textiles from our household, which will take place between the months of May and June.

Our aim is to start it on January 1st 2018.

We expect to create about 40 new jobs in our region with the new sorting plant.

 

The sector approach


After interviewing experts from different countries across Europe, five specific areas were identified as the priority areas where procurers should focus:

-   Bio waste management;

-   Plastic separation;

-   Bulky waste management;

-   Separate collection for specific waste streams at collection points;

-   Decision support system for waste management.

These areas present specific barriers and challenges to PPI, which will be discussed in upcoming articles of this sector watch.

Report

Circulus Berkel’s approach to the recycling of textiles

2 June 2017

Established in 2014, Circulus-Berkel is an association of 8 municipalities, which serves eight municipalities with around 440,000 inhabitants in the management of waste and resources and the management of public spaces.


Their mission is “A waste free society, a clean environment, a society concerned. In this way we add value to the region."


The main areas where the organisation works are the following:

 

Environment: reduce waste and improve the use of raw materials
Social activation: by increasing working opportunities
Improved citizen participation to achieve better results and provide a more satisfying service.


Main triggers to start the procurement and goals pursued


Textiles represent a huge environmental burden for society, derived mostly from the use of toxic and hazardous substances in the production process for textiles and the generation of greenhouse gas emissions derived from the production of textiles. Furthermore, clothes and textiles which still are in good condition are thrown away together with the residual waste and end up in landfills.
In the Netherlands only 30% of used textiles are separately collected, 30% end up in the residual waste and 30% can currently not be traced.


There are currently many ongoing initiatives that seek collecting used textiles and giving them a second life; initiatives that have been started by social companies and NGOs mostly at local level.
In our region, we introduced in 2016 the “BEST tas” (BEST-bag), a resistant bag made of recycled plastic that aims to collect items such as books, small electric appliances, toys and textiles, items that otherwise end up in the residual waste stream. The bags are picked up at home a number of days a year. In the past year, we managed to collect 60,000 BEST bags in our region, diverting over 420,000 kilos of used items from the landfills. 


The introduction of the BEST bag has resulted in an increased 8% in the separated collection of textiles and 11% for small and medium-sized electric and electronic appliances.
The total number of separated collected textiles has grown to 1900 tons in the regions.

 

Our current goals are:

 

To achieve better transparency in the reuse of textiles and the recycling chain. At the moment as it is the case of many other regions, a big part of the collected textiles are being exported to other countries, without sufficient transparency on the process and the consequences
Create (social) jobs within the region
Increase our re-use and recycling quotes and reduce the amount of residual waste.
For the non-reusable textiles, we are currently looking into new techniques for mechanical or chemical recycling.

 

Approach to the procurement process & time schedule


Currently we are in the middle of the preparation of an EU market dialogue for the creation of a textile sorting plant for about 1900 tons of textiles from our household, which will take place between the months of May and June.


Our aim is to start it on January 1st 2018.


We expect to create about 40 new jobs in our region with the new sorting plant.

 

 

Related information


Information to the BEST bag approach (in Dutch): http://www.waardemagazine.nl/#/artikel/best-tas-houdt-grondstoffen-uit-het-restafval

Circulus Berkel main website: https://www.circulus-berkel.nl/

Storyline

Waste Package targets - on track?

4 April 2017

Since the European Commission announced the withdrawal of the Waste Package in 2015, to be replaced with a more comprehensive strategy towards a Circular Economy, there has been a familiar level of debate and disagreement over its content and approach.


However, the acceptance in January by the European Parliament of challenging targets towards recyclable waste was heralded as a milestone on the path towards a more resource- and waste-efficient Circular Economy in the EU.

Revising Directives

The new "Waste Package" is, in legislative terms, designed to synchronise various Directives relating to waste, recycling and the related topics of packaging and disposal. The new targets relate primarily to the Waste Framework Directive, the Landfill Directive and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.


The targets, when initially mooted in early 2016, were greeted by the waste sector with some concern. The complexity of introducing targets to an area of the economy characterised by rapid but uneven innovation and technological development meant that the Commission's approach had to be to impose relatively long-term targets: to prohibit landfill of recyclable waste by 2025 and to recycle 70% of municipal waste and 80% of packaging waste by 2030.

Challenges for cities

The achievement of these targets across the EU will be no mean feat. While many local and city-regional authorities who have invested in recycling innovation will have little difficulty reaching such targets, currently only 44% of municipal waste across the EU is recycled or composted.
The interpretation of the targets in member states might also present difficulty. The decision over which method should be used to calculate recycling and recovery rates was hotly contested in the drafting process throughout 2016, with industry and municipalities lobbying for the method laid out in the Waste Framework Directive, while environmentalists pushed for the more challenging WEEE Directive to be used. Looking at a process of implementation which extends over 8 years, the definition of "recycled" waste will come in for scrutiny in the application of these targets.

Focus of targets

The European Commission has been keen to demonstrate the potential value of waste targets to the private sector, which has greeted the European Parliament's vote with enthusiasm for the project job creation and market opportunities the targets create in various member states.
However there has been criticism of the targets from proponents of a Circular Economy for being uni-dimensional, and not challenging enough. The focus of the targets on waste output rather than on product manufacture, plastic-sourcing and reduction of e.g. packaging has led some actors in the waste sector to conclude that the Waste Package represents a non-binding, transitional legislative intervention. But proponents of a more product-oriented, differentiated policy had some success in influencing the outcomes - for example, a target of a 30% reduction in food waste is considered likely to have some impact on the food and drink sector. Overall there will be some concern that an opportunity had been missed, through a focus on residual waste, to regulate further on packaging and inefficient manufacture.


Sector Watch will follow developments on the targets through the EU Council and the formal decision-making process in the coming months.


More information on the vote in the European Parliament's Environment Committee on 24 January 2017 can be found at europarl.europa.eu/news

Interview

InnoNet workshop, Brussels 31 January - 1 February

10 February 2017

On 31 January – 1 February took place in Brussels a NEW InnoNet workshop - A practical side of innovations for circular economy.

The workshop connected stakeholders in the field of waste management with the aim to present and discuss real innovation cases, experiences and lessons learned on closing material loops, especially for materials recovered from ICT waste, WEEE, ELV and packaging.

Some of the ongoing and upcoming European initiatives presented at the workshop were the following:

EIT Raw materials

EIT Raw materials – initiated by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), aims to connect academic partners with businesses in Europe to collaborate on finding new innovative solutions to secure the supply of raw materials and improve the performance throughout the value chain, from extraction to the creation of products and its final disposal.

Based in Berlin, the network has currently over 120 partners in 22 EU-countries, which benefit from sharing knowledge, information and expertise.

At the event Ignacio Calleja, thematic officer for circular economy and Recyling at EIT Raw Materials, shared the objectives of EIT Raw materials and some project examples of partnerships between research institutions and the private sector. Some of the supported startups can be consulted here.

More information about EIT Raw materials

The Circular Lab

Rosa Trigo, Tecnology and Innovation Manager at ECOEMBES presented The Circular Lab, a new initiative around the recycling of waste packaging that will see the light in the spring of 2017.

The idea is to bring together all proposals that seek closing loops through innovation in the field of waste packaging. The Circular Lab will be based in La Rioja, Spain and it will turn the region into a great centre for experimentation, as it aims to test at real scale new contributions in the field of:

-    Development of the packaging of the future

-    Integrated waste management within smart cities

-    Responsible consumption

-    Development of new techniques and processes that facilitate the recycling of packaging waste by citizens


More information about the Circular Lab

 

Second life for products: RREUSE

The aim of RREUSE is to reinforce the importance of giving semi-new products a second life. Instead of improving recycling targets, RREUSE advocates for including re-using targets in EU legislation.

The organisation represents social enterprises which are active in reusing, repairing and recycling products and represents approximately 77,000 employees and over 60,000 volunteers and trainees that work at any of their 30 member networks across 18 countries.

Mathieu Rama, policy officer at RREUSE provided an overview of the barriers and challenges of giving products a second life and bringing them back into the market, presented approaches from other countries promoting reuse of products such as Sweden or Austria and suggested recommendations to several EU Directives and the EU Circular Economy Package.

More information about RREUSE

 

Competitive markets for products designed from recycled plastics: ZICLA

G. Borge, Project Manager at ZICLA proved during the event that the market is ready to integrate recycled products made from old products if the required techniques are used.

Some of the most demanded products include the Zebra system, a product made from post-consumption and post-industrial waste that is used to separate bicycle lines from normal car roads and the Vectorial system, used to improve accessibility and mobility for public bus users.

More information about ZICLA