Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

January 22nd, 2013:

Chinese leaders ‘have failed to shield environment from economic growth’

Download : whatsdifferent

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:

Download PDF : Landfill%20Bans%20Feasibility%20Research%20Final%20Report%20Updated


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

Download PDF : 130122a

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