April 13th, 2018

China crisis: what import restrictions mean for Europe

by Ad Lansink

 

Over recent years, the Chinese government became increasingly aware that solid waste being imported into China for recycling also contained large amounts of dirty and hazardous wastes. To ensure the health of its citizens and protect China against serious environmental pollution, in 2013 it launched ‘Operation Green Fence’, which stepped up container inspections with the aim of stopping shipments of illegal and low quality waste. This was followed in 2017 with operation ‘National Sword’, which specifically targeted imports of WEEE and industrial waste.

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June 23rd, 2017

Will Brexit bust the RDF export market?

by Ian Cessford, Bethany Ledingham and Peter Jones

 

Deprived of a majority by the general election earlier this month, the UK Government faces some difficult arithmetic when it eventually tries to secure Parliamentary approval for any deal on the country’s future relationship with the EU. Even if the Prime Minister can find a deal that is supported by both the ‘europhile’ and the ‘eurosceptic’ wings of the Conservative Party, it will also need the backing of the DUP – or other opposition MPs – if it is to command a majority. It is not in a position to force through whatever deal it reaches.

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August 7th, 2015

Crash and burn: what overcapacity means for UK EfW

by Chris Cullen and Adam Baddeley

 

Many people in the waste sector have spent their careers managing seemingly ever-increasing quantities of residual waste. Efforts over the last fifteen years have focused on diverting it away from landfill. For those grappling with this problem, it can be difficult to believe that we’re rapidly approaching a point where we’ll be worrying about a lack of residual waste to feed the treatment facilities we’ve built to achieve this goal.

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August 1st, 2014

Storing up trouble: is export the cause of ‘orphaned’ waste?

by Mike Brown

 

To call the increase in the amount of UK waste being exported to mainland Europe as refuse derived fuel (RDF) over the past few years ‘dramatic’ would be an understatement. Growth from around 270,000 tonnes in 2011 to over 1,500,000 tonnes in 2013 has now been surpassed with current tonnages of 800,000 in the first quarter of 2014. With landfill around £100/t, exporting residual waste to take advantage of low gate fees at underused European incinerators is an enticing prospect. Recently, this prospect has become relevant not only to waste companies managing C&I waste but also to those handling municipal waste. And with European facilities usually considerably more efficient than those in the UK – harnessing heat in addition to generating electricity – there can even be a strong environmental case for export.

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March 18th, 2014

Sorting the Mail

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by Peter Jones

 

Today the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has published a brief report on the last of the complaints I raised about the Daily Mail’s negative coverage of recycling issues, and I thought I should give Isonomia readers an update.

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September 9th, 2013

Material differences: collection methods, quality and export

MRF Material

by Andy Grant

 

Why is it that we export recyclate? The Daily Mail’s outrage regarding exports back in April may have been fuelled by the mistaken belief that much of the material is landfilled, but to some the fact that we ship recyclate overseas is quite outrageous enough: Doretta Cocks was reported as calling the practice “shameful”.

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September 6th, 2013

Incineration on a low-calorie diet

by Paul Dumble

 

What do you think the municipal solid waste of the future is going to be like? Recycling rates may have seen a downward blip last quarter, but if we’re to meet our targets you can rest assured they’ll resume their upward trend. That means less paper, card and plastic in the residual mix, and more organic material being separately collected for composting and anaerobic digestion. This entirely foreseeable trend has really profound implications for the waste to energy industry that we seem not to be taking account of – but which I believe will be soluble with the right technology.

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