Report Launch: Whitebook on Energy from Waste Technologies

Jul 13, 2023 | Energy Recovery, ISWA blog, ISWA news

 Christophe Cord’homme

Christophe Cord’homme

Vice-Chair ISWA Working Group Energy Recovery

After more than two years of intensive and cooperative efforts from the Working Group on Energy Recovery (WGER), Johnny Stuen and myself, Christophe Cord’homme, as chair and vice-chair of the group, are very pleased to finally present the publication of the “White Book on Energy-from-Waste Technologies” on behalf of the Working Group. 

Household waste management is rarely at the top of the list of sustainable development priorities for cities and countries seeking to achieve a high standard of living for their populations.

This report is intended to help their decision-makers in charge of this crucial issue for human health, environmental pollution, and climate change.

Waste-to-Energy (WtE) (or Energy-from-Waste (EfW)) is the thermal treatment of residual waste. The ideal role of this technology is to recover the energy and materials that cannot be recycled and reduce the need for landfill, in some countries almost to zero.

The White Book is published today by the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA). This important document is a comprehensive overview, looking at technical, economic, legislative, institutional, social, and above all, environmental aspects of the available thermal technologies which produce energy from waste (EfW). The overall aim is to present the essential prerequisites that must be met in order to ensure the short and long-term feasibility of building and operating Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) energy recovery facilities. The guidelines also include an overview of waste combustion and thermal treatment technologies as well as the necessary infrastructure and financing.

The tour ended back in Vienna, at one of the Re-Use shops called Tandler, where we got to listen to: Melanie Selzer from Elektro Recycling Austria on Management on E-Waste and Producer Responsibility; Ulrike Volk from MA48 on  

48er-Tandler Successfull Way for Waste Prevention; Michael Merstallinger from TBMM on Recycling of Plastics from WEEE; and Georgina Nitzsche from ISWA Women of Waste on Introduction to Women of Waste task force. We had a chance to go explore the shop and purchase some stuff ourselves too. 

Waste thermal treatment is a clean and compact technology that can be adopted in the central areas of cities. It diverts residual municipal waste from landfills or worse alternatives, provides locally available and sustainable energy, reduces dependence on fossil fuels, and contributes to climate protection by avoiding methane emissions from landfill. It also helps to protect the environment by avoiding huge pollution from the worse options such as open dumps or open burning. Installed as close as possible to urban centers, EfW facilities respect the proximity principle for the “metabolism” of our cities. They offer a hygienic, safe, and reliable solution for the treatment of residual municipal waste combined with the production of non-intermittent renewable energy and the recovery of minerals & metals.

As a final sink, Energy-from Waste is an integral part of an efficient and sustainable waste and resource system, going hand in hand with recycling and biological treatment of waste when it comes to reducing the amount of waste landfilled and to eliminating open dumping and open burning and thereby protecting the environment and human health as well as mitigating climate change. 
With this in mind, the Working Group has prepared this White Book, which will serve as a roadmap for the industry from operators to owners and consultants in the field of EfW/WtE who seek to implement the technology as part of a balanced, integrated waste management system.” 

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