Collection of all our full recordings, video excerpts and articles based on our panels
Watch Brian McCarthy of RWA Group, Olmo Forni of Disaster Waste Recovery and Ramy Salemdeeb of Zero Waste MENA discuss how to about the situations faced during humanitarian crises and how to manage waste during such crises. This discussion was organized as part of the 2015 Global Dialogue on Waste.
Watch Bradley Kelley (GBB Inc.), Prof. Brajesh Dubey (IIT-Kharagpur) and Victoria Hutchin (Ricardo-AEA) discuss source segregation vs commingled recycling as part of the 2015 Global Dialogue on Waste.
“We see a world of abundance, not limits. In the midst of a great deal of talk about reducing the human ecological footprint, we offer a different vision. What if humans designed products and systems that celebrate an abundance …
“Waste is not waste,” spouts Dr. Mike Biddle, Founder of MBA Polymers, “and the first problem is to stop calling it waste; these are resources.”
A “one-fits-all” approach to waste management is not practical. This panel looks at different approaches and how they work around the world.
There is no such thing as an infinitely durable product. The world’s current consumption, in the form of various goods, must end up in the waste stream and the onus is upon us, either to innovate in the field of …
Circular Economy (CE) refers to the concept of using closed loop cycles in our current global system to ensure continuous material flow in closed loops. This also harnesses the resilience of biological cycles. The concept of closed loop …
Landfills–what image does this word startle into your mind?
Is it a landscape smeared with trash, piled high in the blistering heat of the Sun, with tires and plastic bags, old T-shirts and banana peels? With waves of toxic gases spiraling off, the smelly sock odor burning your eyes and the thickness of the air constricting your lungs? In fact, this is a negative connotation.
In this interview, the Father of waste hierarchy – Ad Lansink – responds to questions like whether the circular economy has killed the waste hierarchy, and others.
Ad Lansink is a former Dutch politician and the father of the waste hierarchy. Isonomia’s Steve Watson conducted an interview with Ad Lansink based on questions submitted by be Waste Wise’s community. This is the first of two installments of the interview. In the second installment, which will be published on 28th, November, Ad and Steve talk about circular economy and zero waste.
Watch Thomas Vogler and Edith Iriruaga discuss the barriers and drivers for improving waste management in India and Nigeria.
Watch Dr. Nimmi Damodaran and Gary Crawford discuss the impact of short-lived climate pollutants from waste management on climate change and public health.
An “either/or” scenario between energy from waste and landfilling is rare. They must co-exist in an integrated system – Dan Hoornweg; Perinaz Bhada-Tata.
For climate change mitigation, food waste disposers are better than composting, waste-to-energy and landfilling. Their wider adoption calls for integrated decision making encompassing solid waste management and wastewater.
Watch Prof. Adam Read, Dr. Tim Evans and Michael Keleman discuss the relevance and sustainability of food waste disposal units.
Watch Phillip Ward, Julia Hailes, Jonathan Bloom, and Dean Pearce discuss Behaviour Change and Food Waste as part of the 2014 Global Dialogue on Waste.
“Bio-plastics have a role, but there is no standard to say what makes a bio-plastic which truly degrades in the ocean.” ~ Nicholas Mallos
“The oceans are so huge. Cleaning them up is like sifting the Sahara desert by using a kitchen strainer.” ~ Bill Francis
“As I learned more and more about plastic recycling, I discovered that it has its own drawbacks. So, I started reducing my own personal plastic as the first step .” ~ Beth Terry
“When people see you do it, it becomes part of the norm. So, take your own bag to the store and bring your own bottles.” ~ Beth Terry
“Plastic pollution isn’t just about plastic in the oceans but the entire life-cycle of plastics, from when it’s first made, through all the pathways until it becomes plastic pollution” ~Nicholas Mallos
This panel addressed the role of waste-to-energy (if any) in the waste management hierarchy of North America and Europe, provided international experience on the degree of compatibility between recycling and waste-to-energy, analyses the arguments for the juxtaposition of waste-to-energy and recycling, and discusses the policies adopted in some communities to build successful sustainable waste management systems, with the general aim of moving away from landfills.
During discussions and debates, environmentally competent people showed that the facts are for waste-to-energy through a thorough analysis. But, the public acceptance was still at stake, so the Mayor asked Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a famous Austrian artist if he could do something about the appearance of the Spittelau plant. Friedensreich Hundertwasser then took an year to discuss and check his spirit and conscience about the request and finally accepted to do it. He then wrote a long letter explaining why he decided to do so. A qualified public opinion poll conducted later showed that almost 50% were in favor of the Spittelau waste-to-energy plant. About 47% or so, had no opinion and only 3% were actually opposing it.
The major reason why you see higher recycling rates in areas with waste-to-energy compared to those that don’t is basically the state and local policy environment. To just make the decision to move to waste-to-energy facility there has to be a lot of studies of feasibility, including understanding the waste stream, thinking through what the different streams of waste you have. How can you best maximize those streams? The kind of planning that goes into this type of a facility really engages the whole gamut of the waste management stream. So, those localities, and solid waste districts that have sited or are looking at moving to waste-to-energy as one part of their waste disposal strategy are also engaged in an integrated waste policy initiative.
“After doing the material and energy balances for waste-to-energy in the city of Vienna, we found that by providing both district heating and electricity, waste-to-energy in Vienna reduces the equivalent of 1.4 tonnes of CO2 emissions compared to landfilling with recovery of some landfill gas for electricity generation. So, 1.4 tonnes of CO2 can be saved by 1 tonne of municipal residual waste going into the waste-to-energy facility in Vienna.”
“Some U.S. liberal groups like the Center for American Progress are beginning to realize that times have changed, the science has changed, and that we’re contributing to climate change by landfilling so much of our waste, and that waste-to-energy is actually a way of reducing climate change. So, if more environmental groups that provide information and messaging to liberals take a closer look at the science, I think that we can begin to move the conversation in a little more productive way.”
A lot of it has to do with U.S. history around science and the birth of environmental science in the 1970’s with Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring and the revelation that chemicals in the environment maybe poisoning us without our knowledge. That caused a political split in our conversation between environmentalists on the political left and the chemical and petroleum industries which moved to the political right. And, we see that alignment existing even to this day.
In the last 15 years, waste-to-energy as the percentage of waste generated has come down. Starting from 19% in 1995 down to about 12% of the waste now. So, we’ve actually gone backwards in terms of waste-to-energy. Recycling has gone up, from about 25% to about 34% from 1995. But that’s not a huge increase either in 15 years! If you add these two rates, the waste that’s converted to energy and waste that’s recovered by recycling hasn’t changed in the last 15 years. We’re still landfilling about 54-55% of waste.
Waste-to-Energy is a strategy that many cities with dense population, have issues with landfilling, and want to decrease waste transportation distances are using and continue to look at. Waste-to-energy is also a technology that has been evolving over the years and there are many new developments in this technology, moving in mainly one direction – to be able to applied to smaller size waste streams. Not only is it a strategy that has real importance for the current public policy, it is a strategy that will definitely present itself to additional areas.
“When designing solutions for inteftrating informal waste recycling, we need an adequate understanding of how the overall system is currently working including both formal and informal elements”. – Jane Olley
This panel explored how solid waste management is different in the Global South, and in particular in Latin America and the Caribbean, and considers the benefits of integrating the informal sector into municipal waste management strategies.
There are “composters”, bio guys, landfillers, waste to energy guys, anti-waste to energy guys, recyclers/zero-wasters, social mitigators, etc. As solid waste is one of the most complex and heterogeneous entities known to man, it stands to reason that a “one size fits all” solution is likely not practical. However, in some instances, we can see attitudes bordering on animosity when suggesting those with differing technology agendas consider working together. This is why our panelists will discuss various questions which help us understand how the we can work together to solve the global waste management challenge.
A recent World Bank report on waste management and climate change co-authored by our moderator Perinaz Bhada-Tata estimates that current waste management methods, specifically emissions from landfill, account for almost five per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions and …
Are we becoming a plastic society?
Plastic seems all pervasive and unavoidable. Since the 1960s our use of plastic has increased dramatically, and subsequently, the portion of our garbage that is made up of plastic has also increased from …