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June 22nd, 2012:

waste matters


Discusses incineration taxes across Europe: “Due to a lack of time series data on the change in the level of incineration taxes, it has not been possible to analyse the impact of the rate of incineration tax on the amount of MSW treated by incineration. There is a broad overall trend that higher incineration charges are generally associated with higher percentages of municipal waste being recycled and composted, indicating that higher incineration charges may help to push waste treatment up the waste hierarchy.”

2. – M Sponar. 10th May 2012. Overview of measures leading to a better enforcement of waste legislation and alignment of EU funds with the waste hierarchy.

Michel Sponar was speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Director General for the Environment, when in slide 10 – Economic Instruments Sponar refers to incineration taxes and bans. Slide 12 features a graph of incineration taxes/fees (cost) against recycling rates.

3. – A resource-efficient Europe. European Parliament resolution of 24 May 2012 on a resource-efficient Europe (2011/2068(INI)).

Calls for an end to the incineration of recyclable and compostable material by the end of the decade and revised 2020 recycling targets.

See also UKWIN article at for more details.

As the new National Waste Management Plan in England  is imminent (ie before the year 3000) , it is worth noting that in May 2012 Sweden published their waste plan for 2012-2017 (“From Waste Management to Resource Management”) and it is available from:

If anyone knows Swedish if would be helpful if they could translate any interesting sections. The following have been adapted from Google’s effort.

“Tillsammans med utbyggnaden av fjärrvärme har skatten på deponering av avfall och deponeringsförbuden medfört att deponeringen minskat och energiutnyttjandet av avfall ökat. Sedan 2010 är kapaciteten för förbränning av avfall i Sverige större än tillgängliga avfallsmängder. Denna situation har lett till lägre mottagningsavgifter vid förbränningsanläggningarna. Det har därmed blivit förhållandevis billigt att förbränna avfallet jämfört med att materialåtervinna det.”

Translation: Along with the expansion of district heating, the tax on waste disposal and landfill bans have resulted in decreased landfill and increased energy recovery/utilisation. Since 2010, the capacity for waste incineration in Sweden exceed available amounts of waste. This situation has led to lower gate fees at the incineration plants. It has thus become relatively inexpensive to incinerate the waste compared to recycling it.

“Det finns överkapaciteten på förbränning av avfall i Sverige. Låga mottagningsavgifter på avfall till förbränning minskar incitamenten för att sortera ut avfall till materialåtervinning.”

Translation: There is overcapacity in the incineration of waste in Sweden. Low gate fees for waste for incineration reduces the incentives for users to sort the waste for recycling.

“Insamlingskostnaderna är ett hinder för ökad utsortering av matavfall. Det är idag billigare att samla in avfallet till förbränning. Det beror främst på att kostnaderna blir högre vid separat insamling. Vidare har ottagningsavgifterna vid förbränningsanläggningarna sänkts. Det beror dels på att örbränningsskatten tagits bort, men även att konkurrensen om avfallet ökat, vilket pressat ned priserna.”

Translation: Collection costs are a barrier to increased diversion of food waste. Today, it is cheaper to collect the waste for incineration. This is mainly due to higher costs for separate collection. Furthermore, gate fees at the incineration plants have been reduced. This is partly due to the removal of the incineration tax, but is also because competition for the waste is increased and this brought down prices.

Handover party to go with bang worth $8m

click to see what’s in fireworks, like dioxins etc, but soon the public, not only Jesus, will be able to walk on our ‘fragrant harbour’
Handover party to go with bang worth $8m

The night sky above Victoria Harbour will be lit by 50,000 fireworks on July 1 to mark the 15th anniversary of the handover.

Phoebe Man

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The night sky above Victoria Harbour will be lit by 50,000 fireworks on July 1 to mark the 15th anniversary of the handover.

Nine skyscrapers will take part in a pyrotechnics show to beef up the main 23-minute display that begins at 8pm.

The fireworks, to be fired from five barges, will cost HK$8 million.

To make sure everyone knows it’s the 15th birthday of the SAR, the number 15 in Chinese characters will appear 24 times in the first section of the display.

Wilson Mao Wai-shing, of Pyromagic Multimedia Productions, said the specially designed “HK 15” will appear alongside bauhinias and rain brocade willows.

The pyrotechnics display will link nine towers, from the Sun Hung Kai Centre in Wan Chai, to Jardine House in Central.

The others include Central Plaza, Hopewell Centre, Harcourt House, CITIC Tower, Queensway Government Offices, Cheung Kong Center, and the HSBC Main Building.

Owing to the inauguration of the new government on the same day, Chinese General Chamber of Commerce chairman Jonathan Choi Koon-shum said the last scene of the show will be called Scale New Heights.

Dandelions, red suns and red waves will crackle in profusion, and be shown with a Putonghua song, A Better Tomorrow, to signify the hope of a more prosperous SAR under the new administration.

“Had it not been the start of a new government, the fireworks display would have been on a smaller scale,” Choi said.

“The fireworks display can be seen as a present to the new government and all Hongkongers.”

Meanwhile, the head of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong, Peng Qinghua, said “isolated conflicts” between the SAR and the mainland should not be exaggerated.

Speaking to Xinhua News Agency, Peng said a fuss should not be made about economic, legal and cultural differences between the two places.

He said they should seek common ground and exercise mutual respect to solve problems.

Asked if measures such as the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement may be seen as presents from Beijing, Peng said to some extent they are, although they are also necessary for mainland development.

Peng said while Hong Kong is facing new challenges – and deep-rooted problems 15 years on from the end of British rule – it has numerous opportunities to turn crises into opportunities.

He believes the economy will continue to progress as long as the SAR seeks changes while maintaining overall stability, as proposed by the new government under Leung Chung-ying.