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January, 2013:

Quick thinkers sought to weigh waste ideas

HK Standard

The public was urged yesterday to take a realistic view of incinerators and landfills and see them as essential for handling waste.

Kelly Ip

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The public was urged yesterday to take a realistic view of incinerators and landfills and see them as essential for handling waste.

Environment chief Wong Kam-sing said landfills at Tuen Mun, Tseung Kwan O and Ta Kwu Ling will be full in two to six years, so preparations for expansion or replacement are needed.

“We will have to discuss possible options some time this year, including the timetable, capacity and technology used in landfill expansion and incinerators,” Wong said.

Noting that it would take up to eight years for a new incinerator to be up and running, he added: “Discussing the options today does not mean we will do it now, but it’s not responsible to ignore such discussion and action.

“At the end of the day we will have to include incinerators in our development blueprint and discuss their role for waste treatment.” And the blueprint would include matters such as waste classification at landfills.

Christine Loh Kung-wai, the undersecretary for the environment, said on Sunday Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has never ruled out incinerators as a waste-treatment option.

But Green Sense president Roy Tam Hoi-pong said expansion of landfills and incinerators should be a last resort.

“Before considering these options the government should be more determined to reduce waste at source such as implementing solid-waste charging even if it is difficult to enforce.”

That could lessen the need for landfill space and incinerators, Tam said, though either option – a charge system or opening more facilities – is sure to spark opposition from residents.

Patrick Fung Kin-wai, campaign manager of Clean Air Network, said whether his group will back incinerators depends on the kind of technology used.

“We believe that the more advanced the incinerators the less pollution,” he said.

Friends of the Earth environmental affairs manager Chu Hon- keung said it may not be possible to implement solid-waste charging in 2016 as hoped as legislative elections are set in 2016 and the chief executive election in 2017.

Landfill Bans: Feasibility Research The environmental, economic and practical impacts of landfill bans or restrictions: research to determine feasibility Project code:

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Rotterdam incinerator closed due to “overcapacity”

Rotterdam incinerator closed due to “overcapacity”

Featured, News, UK WINAdd comments

May 172012

As reported in LetsRecycle, Frans Beckers of the Van Gansewinkel Group waste business has stated that the company closed down an incinerator due to overcapacity and advised others to do the same:

We closed one of our incineration plants in the Rotterdam area. There is overcapacity in Germany and we hope some of our colleagues will follow suit. We hope more [incineration] capacity will be taken out of the market. In the end we could harm recycling performance.

Beckers also claimed that these problems also relate to biomass, stating that: “There is a lack of fuels. Too much is being burnt. We need to ensure we do not invest in too many biomass energy installations as we won’t have the fuel any more”.

In the same article Michel Sponar, policy officer with the European Commission’s environment directorate, is also reported as saying that “member states such as Germany and Denmark which are heavily reliant on incineration need to change their focus too, by sending more waste for recycling and composting”.

These comments should be set in the context of the Environment Agency recently granting SITA a permit to export 600,000 tonnes of UK RDF to Amsterdam, a quadrupling of RDF export licenses; calls from the European Commission for the UK to avoid sending recycable material to incineration and the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment calling for “the phasing-out, by the end of this decade, of incineration of recyclable and compostable waste”.

Final treatment of MSW and C&I waste in Germany and neighbouring countries. How to cope with emerging over-capacities?

More incineration than trash to burn threatens recycling in Europe

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Study warns of incineration capacity threat—recycling-and-waste-management&contentID=2182

Study warns of incineration capacity threat

22 January 2013 | By Neil Roberts

UK waste leaders have defended the role of incineration after a new report highlighted the dangers of overcapacity.

The study warned the opening of a Europe-wide market in exporting and importing waste for incineration, driven by over-capacity, threatened the application of the proximity principle.

It predicted growing capacity would increase waste shipping across Europe which could damage efforts to reach recycling targets.

The shipping of waste for incineration, the authors say, has an environmental impact through transport emissions.

It adds: “Overcapacity has very high potential impacts on recycling markets and on waste treatment prices. On one hand, investments in incineration facilities must be paid off and this creates a need of waste being sent to incineration, rather than prevented or recycled.

“On the other hand, if not enough waste is sent to incineration to pay off the investments, incineration fees must increase, which has an effect on waste charges paid by households and commercial activities.

“Last, overcapacity represents a financial risk for investing companies and public bodies.”

The report, produced by the ENT environmental consultancy in Spain and commissioned by anti-incineration group GAIA, claims that despite existing overcapacity in some countries, Europe-wide capacity is predicted to grow by 13 million tonnes by 2020.

Joan Marc Simon, coordinator of GAIA in Europe said: “If the European Commission is to maintain its commitment to limit incineration to non-recyclables by 2020, the strategy should be to close incinerators and not to build new ones. The objectives of the Resource Efficiency Roadmap and recycling targets won’t be achieved unless the European Commission tightly controls the European incineration capacity.”

Using data from a previous Eunomia report, the study claims the UK could have a waste treatment overcapacity of 6.9 million tonnes in the near future, but already exports half its solid recovered fuel to other EU states with existing overcapacity.

Jacob Hayler, economist at the ESA, said the situation in the UK was very different from the rest of Europe.

With over 30 million tonnes of waste going to landfill each year, he said new EfW facilities were still needed.

“Although some analysts have argued that we are likely to see EfW overcapacity in the UK in the years to come, this assumes all residual waste projects with planning consent are built. In practice this is unlikely to happen, not least given the extremely difficult conditions in the financing markets.”

Incinerator ultimately needed: Under Secretary

Waste technology will alleviate pollution, not make it worse: Loh

Under Secretary for the Environment Christine Loh Kung-wai on Monday told China Daily’s Asia Leadership Roundtable that people tend to have wrong impression about incinerator, which is expected to alleviate the city’s waste disposal problem. She stressed that an incinerator ultimately is needed to deal with different types of waste produced in the city.

An academic agreed with Loh, saying an incinerator is helpful as long as garbage is sorted properly before being incinerated.

“People say, ‘do you have to build some kind of treatment facilities?’ I dare not to use the word ‘incineration’, because the word in Hong Kong somehow generates ideas of some black-smoke-and-dioxin-spilling factories. This is in fact not the case,” said Loh.

Currently, with a 48 percent recycling rate, 13,500 tons of solid waste daily are shipped to landfills for burial.

“Most people don’t realize the sludge treatment plant being built in Tuen Mun is an incinerator. It is incineration technology. For those of you who don’t know yet, it is also going to (look like) a spa,” said Loh.

Loh said the “beautifully designed” plant is expected to be finished by the end of 2013 and encouraged the public to visit the location and perhaps to acquire “a new concept about what waste treatment can mean in Hong Kong”.

Nevertheless, Loh said the government is going to have to build “a whole range of hardware to deal with the waste” that we are not able to reuse or recycle.

Professor Johnny Chan Chung-leung, dean of the School of Energy and Environment at City University of Hong Kong, said the public should take responsibility to reduce waste in the city rather than blaming the government for the problem, while at the same time expecting the authorities to take sole responsibility for solving it. Chan said he had no objection to building an incinerator when it is needed, but he adds the public needs to join in efforts to reduce the waste at the source and sort garbage before it is incinerated.

According to government’s figures, each Hong Kong resident generates 1.36 kilograms daily domestic waste, at least 36 percent more than Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo.

“The biggest problem is that before an incinerator is built, we should already sort out what can be incinerated and what cannot. Even with the advanced technology, it is fairly important that the gas coming out can be quite different and clean if we sort out the trash,” said Chan.

Chan also described waste disposal charges as right and necessary for reducing waste at the source.

Last week, the government unveiled a series of policies aimed at cleaning up the city. Those measures include a HK$10 billion program to lure owners of old diesel trucks drivers to abandon their vehicles. Old diesel engines are Hong Kong’s biggest source of roadside air pollution. In the meantime, a retirement age of 15 years will be set for newly registered commercial diesel trucks.

On a radio program on Monday, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said the government will have a blueprint for waste management by the end of March. Wong said though the government will take the incinerator as a last resort, it would be irresponsible for the government to rule out an incinerator as a viable solution.

(HK Edition 01/22/2013 page1

HK$31b bid to solve Hong Kong waste crisis

Submitted by admin on Jan 22nd 2013, 12:00am

News› Hong Kong


Cheung Chi-fai

Seven-year blueprint confirms controversial incineration project remains top priority, with recycling measures and landfill expansion

Hong Kong will spend at least HK$31 billion on waste-handling infrastructure in the next seven years, it was revealed yesterday.

And included in the measures will be a bitterly contested plan for an incinerator put forward by the previous administration, which has been stalled by opposition in Legco and the courts.

Moves spelled out yesterday by deputy environment minister Christine Loh Kung-wai gave the first clear indication that incineration remained a priority as the government seeks an ultimate solution to the city’s waste crisis.

But the target date for commissioning the waste-burner – 2021 at the latest – is about three years later than proposed by the previous government.

Loh also gave no indication whether the proposed site had been changed and outlined plans for food-waste disposal, recycling and landfill expansion – which are also contentious issues.

Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said it would be irresponsible to leave discussion about an incinerator out of any debate over waste, although reduction remained the priority.

“We need to look at what the incinerator’s role is holistically, how big it needs to be and what technology can be used,” he said.

Environmentalists and residents were outraged by the previous government’s plan for the incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau, an island between Cheung Chau and the Sokos.

Lawmakers rejected a funding request for the incinerator and for landfill expansions last year. The incinerator has also been challenged in court and a verdict is pending. Hong Kong is at the crossroads in dealing with its mounting waste crisis.

Its waste-generation rate is more than a third higher than cities such as Taipei and Seoul, and its landfills – now the only means of disposal – will be full by 2019.

Loh said at a forum organised by a media group: “Between now and 2020, Hong Kong will have to invest HK$31 billion plus in hardware. We need to continue these investments and we can’t run away from it.

“And after the HK$31 billion, we might spend some more.”

She said the food waste “hardware” would be ready between 2015 and 2017. Preparations for product responsibility schemes, recycling and landfill expansion would be complete between 2014 and 2020.

A timeframe of 2020 to 2021 was given to the waste-to-energy incinerator for solid waste. If endorsed, it would mean a decision would have to be made as a soon as next year.

Last year, Environmental Protection Department officials put the cost of two landfill expansions at more than HK$8.3 billion and an organic waste treatment plant at HK$500 million.

A 3,000-tonne incinerator would cost HK$14.9 billion.

Loh also said that consultation would start soon over a scheme to charge importers up to HK$1 for wine and beer bottles made from glass.

Friends of the Earth director Edwin Lau Che-feng said the new government appeared to understand the urgency of the problem. “We have wasted many years and failed to move forwards,” he said.

But Lau questioned whether officials should review the planned siting of the incinerator on the island. He suggested that using a site in Tuen Mun would mean the waste-burner could be completed two years earlier and would also cause less environmental damage.

Martin Williams, an opponent of the island project, said an incinerator was “only a glorified bonfire” with toxic emissions.

But he said the new government was more open in discussing the issues, including the incineration technology.



Christine Loh Kung-Wai



Environment chief calls for talks on Lantau incinerator

Submitted by eldes.tran on Jan 21st 2013, 12:09pm

News›Hong Kong


Cheung Chi-fai

The environment minister called for a discussion on building an incinerator as a part of Hong Kong’s waste strategy, calling it irresponsible if talks don’t take place.

Wong Kam-sing said that waste reduction at source remained a top priority for the government and that he would present his blueprint on waste reduction and treatment soon.

Speaking on a radio programme on Monday morning, he said an incinerator along with landfill expansion might be necessary, adding that such a plan would be in line with what other overseas jurisdictions do.

He warned existing landfills would fill up, one by one, by 2020.

Alongside plans to roll out schemes such as glass bottle recycling, Wong also said it was time to initiate a discussion on building an incinerator and extending landfills.

“If we talk about it today, it doesn’t mean that we will implement it right now. What we need is time for more consideration.

“It is irresponsible to avoid this discussion. We need to look at what the incinerator’s role is, how big it needs to be and what technology can be used,” he said.

The government last year proposed to build an incinerator with a capacity of 3,000 tonnes at Soko Island, south Lantau. The project is now being challenged in court.

It also proposed to expand the three strategic landfills in Tuen Mun, Ta Kwu Ling and Tseung Kwan O.

Both plans have met with strong opposition from locals.

Wong also talked about a proposed HK$10 billion scheme to replace old diesel vehicles, saying the plan was sensible and reasonable, despite truck drivers’ concerns that it might disrupt their livelihoods.

On conflict between environment and development, Wong said there were already rules outlining the minimum space between buildings and the proportion of greening in new developments.

“With these measures, we can still make our city more livable even if we are going to increase our housing density,” he said.


Waste reduction


Soko Island

South Lantau


Wong Kam-sing

Environment Bureau

More on this:

Bid to block offshore waste incinerator begins in court [1]

Source URL (retrieved on Jan 21st 2013, 9:42pm):


Incineration overcapacity and waste shipping in Europe: the end of the proximity principle?

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