ISWA Insight Bulletin

Issue 4, July 2013

Indonesia, Singapore, Portugal

Meeting with InSWA Indonesian Solid Waste Association
Dinner with the Singapore Minister of Environment Dr Vivian Balakrishnan
Meeting with Mme Assuncao Cristas, Portuguese Minister of Environment

A Report by President David Newman

This has been a very busy period attending ISWA events worldwide. Among the more pleasant visits was meeting the Indonesian Solid Waste Association's Board in Jakarta on June 30th. This rapidly developing country has all the classic problems related to waste management in the developing world- urbanisation, population, income and consumption growth without the equivalent delivery of public hygiene services. They have much catching up to do and I was humbled by InSWA's determination to improve waste management there with excellent urban composting, collection facilities and urban farming as models to show city planners nationwide. This nation will offer exciting investment opportunities in our sector once it has got the EPR systems, financial models and local implementation into gear. InSWA is working hard on these questions now. My thanks to President Ms. Sri Bebassari for her very kind hospitality.


Singapore, as you all know, got to grips with its waste emergency over the last decade and now is a model to imitate, although Minister of Environment Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, with whom I spoke at length, told me he was pushing for greater resource recovery and lowering the externalities of Singapore's final sinks. He has an ambitious programme to create a closed cycle economy, and the NEA colleagues are working with industry now on creating the strategy. On July 2nd I had dinner with the new Director of the National Environment Agency Mr Ronnie Tay and was pleased to refresh our excellent relations with them especially in the field of training. The day before I enjoyed dinner (all this eating is not helping my waistline at all) with the Managing Director of Keppel Infrastructure, Mr. Tay Lim Heng whose views of opportunities in the waste industry come from the privileged perch of a major engineering company working worldwide. He is very upbeat about our sector, telling me that Keppel are focusing more on waste than water systems in the future.  I also spoke at and much enjoyed the Waste Symposium in Singapore where Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam presented their situations. I remind you all to be there June 1-4th 2014 for their next international waste congress, WasteMet Asia.


Lastly, back in Europe on July 15th I met with Mme Assuncao Cristas, the Portuguese Minister of Environment during my few days in Lisbon for the Portuguese annual waste conference. The Minister outlined to me the plans to finalise Portugal's waste infrastructure, a difficult task in a nation living through very painful budget cuts and the Minister is relying upon the private sector to intervene. I offered ISWA's technical support. I am pleased to say the Minister is very supportive of our Climate Change policies and will certainly participate in Warsaw at one of our events.

I thank Professor Mario Russo of the National Member for organising a very well attended and excellent conference and the meeting with the Minister.


Finally I am glad to announce that ISWA has been invited to the High Level Ministerial meeting of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition in Oslo on September 2nd and 3rd. As the only NGO on the CCAC's steering committee dealing with waste, ISWA is in a unique position to drive forward our agenda at the highest level. This coalition, whose secretariat is run from UNEP in Paris, is heavily sponsored by the US State Department. I will report back afterwards.


Now, frankly, I am going on holiday and will be back in action in September. Enjoy your summer break in the northern hemisphere or your winter holidays down under and some time to relax and reflect on a world that is coming together but seems, too often, to be coming apart.

ISWA Study Tours on Waste to Energy

A Report by Vice President Helmut Stadler
The two fully booked ISWA Study Tours on Waste to Energy (June 24 to 28 and July 1 to 5) which took us through Austria, Italy and Germany have been a great success. 48 participants coming from nearly all continents (Australia, Africa, Asia, Central America, and Europe) got an in depth impression of 8 different state-of-the-art WtE plants and learned about the most remarkable technologies and installations for WtE based on BAT, Best Available Technology, in Europe. A very good representation from Africa (we had participants from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Egypt) built confidence for ISWA to be more present there.


I had the honour to make the official welcome on behalf of ISWA and gave the initial presentation. Other presentations from high class experts on Resource and Energy Efficiency, Recovery, Treatment, and safe Intermediate Storage of wastes - which allows for diversion of all organic waste exceeding 5 % TOC - formed the theoretical part of these 4-days events.


Beside the regular activities as reviewing more than 80 abstracts for the ISWA World Congress in Vienna, being part of the jury for the ISWA Communication Award and attending meetings as Board meeting in Helsinki in May and Lisbon in July, Beacon Conference on final sinks in Helsinki, the presidential Advisory Committee in Vienna, I represented ISWA at a meeting of the SIPE Working Group in Rome in June: This is an European Union funded (academic) project concerning an environmental standards information programme (Environmental Standards Information Portal for Europe). I will give a report on this topic in one of the next issues as soon as the project is more advanced.

International Technical Conferences on Waste in Lisbon, Portugal

A Report by Ana Loureiro, Working Group on Communication
From 15th to 18th July, Lisbon was the stage for the VIII. International Technical Conferences on Waste, an ISWA event organized by APESB and the IST – Instituto Superior Técnico, a referenced public Portuguese institute.


This event had more than 120 participants from many different countries, especially from Angola, Cabo Verde and Brazil. During the 4 conference days, waste managers had the possibility to discuss waste management plans from these countries, technical and communication issues, have a Master Class and technical tours. The event was also an important step to discuss the Portuguese waste management plan, and counted with the participation of the Portuguese Environment Secretary of State.


David Newman, Antonis Mavropoulos, Derek Greedy and Ana Loureiro were some of the ISWA members who gave presentations, about challenges in global waste management, the waste atlas, about landfills as an acceptable environmental option and the relation between media and waste management.

Chain Management Jeans Project

A Report by M. Goorhuis, WG Recycling & Waste Minimisation
Supported by the ISWA Grant the WG Recycling and waste minimization, together with the Dutch National member, NVRD, set out a project in order to investigate whether it would be possible to drive changes in the production industry which would enhance the environmental performance and especially the recyclability of products. Jeans was chosen as an example product since production and use of jeans has a high environmental impact, a low recycling rate, and nearly everybody owns one.


In a first workshop participants from different European countries representing the total production chain of jeans discussed on the problems and challenges related to the recycling of jeans and brainstormed on the most promising ways to overcome these.  As a result of the workshop design for recycling of jeans was considered to be the best way forward. A team of students from the Dutch Saxion University made an inventory on the aspects of jeans that currently hinder recycling in particular, such as the use of metals like rivets, leather (look) labels, thickness of seams, etc, as well as identifying possible solutions for these issues.


In a second workshop in March 2013 we brought together a group of 19 students from the Netherlands and Germany from four different institutions with backgrounds in fashion design and technical textile, and presented them with the knowledge and information that we had gathered in the previous project stages. The students were mixed, divided in groups and given the assignment to come up with new concepts for jeans, and transfer these into a prototype, within 24 hours.


The next day the students presented their solutions during a mini-symposium. The results were beyond expectation. Not only did the student groups come up with new innovative design and production solutions but they had also given thought on the story behind the jeans and how to market this. It was therefore no surprise that the expert jury was not able to select a winner. Instead they awarded two groups of student for their work, one group for their innovative technical solutions and one group for their inspiring marketing concept.


The students had become enthusiastic for the project. The winning groups had been asked to present their work during the annual Fashion Biennale in Arnhem, the Netherlands, but instead the two winning groups joined forces and worked in their own time on a new prototype which they successfully presented in June 2013 during an expert workshop on innovation in fashion. In September this year they will be honoured with a price for young promising talent during the Krefeld Fashionworld 2013, which is the largest open air fashion event in the world.


The project has shown that it is possible to gear changes and raise awareness in the design for recycling of products. We reached a high visibility in the fashion and jeans industry and have gained interest from major companies such as G-Star and H&M, but also from small innovative labels such as Mud Jeans. To see some of the results in future designs would be the crown on our work.

The Joint EESC/ISWA Hearing on the Green Paper on Plastics Waste

A Report by Past President Jeff Cooper
This meeting was arranged jointly between the European Economic and Social Committee and ISWA and took place on 15 July in Brussels. The programme was developed by Jeff Cooper and Jean-Paul Leglise to examine issues raised by the European Commission’s Green Paper on Plastics Waste so that the key conclusions and recommendations can be used to inform the EESC’s response to the Green Paper.


Total attendance at this session was around 120, including representatives of the EESC with all the main European plastics associations present as speakers and Helmut Maurer who was the main author of the European Commission speaking immediately after the opening presentation by Jeff Cooper.


The ISWA presentation differed from the plastics industry perspectives because it focussed on long-term future production of plastics.  ISWA suggests that the longer term sustainable production of plastics can only be achieved through utilising renewable resources and therefore ISWA foresees a parallel with the profile of energy resources with an increase in renewable energy sources in the next three decades.   However the biogenic resources used must not compete with agricultural production for food and therefore must focus on agricultural and forestry waste residues and non-food agricultural products.


The current importance of bio-plastics was also emphasised in ISWA’s comments on the Green Paper. However there was universal agreement at the hearing that oxy-degradable packaging is NOT bio-degradable or even truly degradable.


The ISWA paper also places considerable emphasis on the development of infrastructure from collection options through transport, sorting, processing and reprocessing facilities, which was something consistently reiterated by industry speakers.  However, one of the main barriers is the attitude of consumers, who all too often do not segregate plastic items or utilise the collection facilities provided by municipalities and waste management companies.  Therefore consumer education and promotion programmes are essential in order to maximise the diversion of suitable plastic wastes into the recycling cycle.


In resource efficiency and life cycle analytical terms not all plastics waste items ought to be recycled, especially thin plastics films, multi-layer plastics and contaminated plastics products.  In addition, there are two classes of plastics; thermosets and elastomers that are almost impossible to recycle.  In these cases energy recovery options are essential. There is of course the conventional option of EfW recovery through incineration but other options now include the production of bio-diesel from mixed plastics waste and depolymerisation to produce gases that can be recombined to produce new base plastic polymer streams.


All the presentations from the EESC hearing session can be found on the EESC webpage.


The next meeting of the European Group, which again is in collaboration with the EESC, will take place on 3 and 4 September.  The programme is available on the ISWA website.