Charter of the Global WtERT Council, September 2020
Global WTERT Council, Inc. Technologies for Sustainable Waste Management
by Professor Nickolas Themelis
The Global Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council (GWC) consists of the national/regional GWC organizations and the Global WtERT Council Inc., a non-profit corporation which is the legal GWC entity in US and provides assistance to existing and new and existing GWC organizations.
GWC is governed by its Governing Board, which consists of the representatives of each national/regional GWC organization, and the President and Vice Presidents of the Global WtERT Council Inc.
The GWC Mission:
The GWC is an international top-tier-technical group that brings together scientists, engineers, and managers from industry, universities and government with the objective of advancing sustainable waste management worldwide.
Responsibilities of GWC National/Regional Organizations:
The responsibilities of GWC national/regional organizations are to
1) understand and testify as to how waste is handled at the national/regional level and raise awareness of the fact that improper waste disposal pollutes nature and the environment;
2) study and quantify the waste management situation in their nation/region;
3) learn about the best available technologies and outstanding case studies in other regions;
4) stress that the environmental benefits are integral part of sustainable waste management;
5) advise and assist their country in implementing improvements to their waste management infrastructure.
The GWC Objective:
The objective of GWC is to help the transition to circular economy/society, within local economic means, by promoting the recovery of energy and materials from the residues of human activities.
The GWC Strategy:
The GWC strategy is to enable local governments to make decisions for sustainable waste and resource management by:
•Establishment of an open source web infrastructure for the publication of essential solutions for sustainable waste management, which are identified and provided by all member organizations and their partners, such as scientific papers, case studies, recommendations, etc.
•Sharing this information by classifying it according to subject and country and providing access to companies, experts, stakeholders and the general public. .
•Establishing a communication infrastructure for optimal exchange between member organizations, their partners and local decision makers to promote the adaptation of existing solutions and implementation at local level.
Since 1997, the Earth Engineering Center (EEC) of Columbia University has conducted research on the generation and disposition of used materials and products in the U.S. and globally. Economic development has resulted in the annual generation of billions of tons of used materials which represent a considerable resource but, when not managed properly, constitute a major environmental problem both in developed and developing nations. The goal of EEC was to identify and help develop the most suitable means for managing various solid wastes research, and disseminate this information by means of publications, the web, and technical meetings. EEC also collaborated for several year with BioCycle journal in conducting a bi-annual survey of the generation and disposition of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the U.S. the results of which were used by U.S. EPA in estimating the greenhouse gas emissions of waste management in the U.S.A..
This research engaged many M.S. and Ph.D. students on all aspects of waste management. Since 2000, EEC has produced nearly eighty theses and published over one hundred technical papers. In 2003, EEC co-founded, with the U.S. Energy Recovery Council (ERC; www.wte.org), the Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council (WtERT-US), which is by now the foremost U.S. research organization on the recovery of materials and energy from solid wastes.
In the course of its studies, EEC established that over one billion tons of urban wastes are landfilled each year; landfilling will continue to be used in the foreseeable future;, and nearly 80% of the world’s landfills are not equipped to protect surface and ground waters from contamination. Therefore, in 2008, EEC proposed an expanded Hierarchy of Waste Management which differentiates between traditional and sanitary landfills (Figure 1).
Figure 1: The GWC hierarchy of waste management
Since 2003, sister organizations of WtERT-US were created in several other nations, including Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and India. In the interest of the common goal of these organizations, that is the advancement of the best means for sustainable waste management, it became necessary, at the end of 2011, to create a non-profit organization named the Global WtERT Council (GWC; GWCouncil.org) and establish a GWC "Charter” that was agreed upon by the existing national members at that time. The GWC Charter is used to explain the GWC mission to other regions of the world who may wish to become members; and also, to existing and prospective industrial and government sponsors. GWC, Inc. has provided small start-up funds to several of its sister organizations
2. Name of the WtERT (or WERT) National/Regional Organizations:
The principal tool for disseminating and sharing information by all existing members of WtERT has been the internet. The web addresses used (www.wtert.org, www.wtert.eu, www.wtert.gr, etc.) all include the acronym WtERT (or WERT). This has the advantage that when one types WtERT (or WERT) in a search engine, automatically one links to the GWC organizations in different countries. Thus, WtERT has become a valuable brand name and can be very helpful to people seeking information on waste management in a particular country (e.g. Greece) by using the acronym WTERT (or WERT) and then the name of the country or letters representing it on the internet (e.g. ".gr”). It is therefore necessary for GWC member national/regional members to register and use the "wtert” or "wert” web address (e.g. www.wtert.gr) as well as whatever other name and web address they wish. For example, the WtERT sister organization in Italy uses the name "MatER” so one can find their web either by going to the MatER web address or by using the WtERT- Italy address (www.wtert.it).
In summary, each national/regional member should choose whatever word or words are most suitable to express the name and mission of their organization in their national language; but also use the second name "WtERT-Greece”, "WtERT-Brazil”, etc. to express the fact that they are a member of the global GWC community.
3. Mission of Global WtERT Council (GWC)
The mission of GWC members is to identify the best available technologies for the treatment of various waste materials, conduct additional research and development as required, and disseminate this information by means of publications, the GWC knowledge and communication infrastructure, and periodic meetings. In particular, GWC members strive to increase the recovery of materials and energy from used solids, by means of re-use, recycling, composting, thermal processing (waste-to-energy or WTE), and sanitary landfilling with biogas collection and utilization. The guiding principle is that responsible management of wastes must be based on science and best available technology at a particular location and not what seems to be inexpensive now but can be very costly in the future. Intelligent case studies from other countries can motivate advances at other places. In these case studies, it is particularly important to understand and bear witness to how waste is handled in order to raise awareness at the national/regional level to move towards sustainable waste management as soon as possible.
4. Recovery of Materials and Energy
The essence of sustainable waste management is the recovery of material and energy resources from the residues of human activities. Used objects and materials that can be re-used, recycled or composted economically and at a reduced GHG burden. E.g. automobiles, appliances, electronic equipment, bulk paper, some types of plastics and organic wastes, should be separated at the source and recycled as materials or soil conditioner. The remaining post-recycling residues of human activity must be directed to waste-to-energy (WTE) power plants that are able to recover energy, metals, and inorganic materials. Until there is sufficient WTE capacity for a municipality, post-recycling wastes may be disposed in sanitary landfills. However, sanitary landfilling entails the use of land and GHG generation, so it is not sustainable in the long run.
There are a broad variety of technologies for recovery of material and energy worldwide. The mission of GWC is to identify and present these diverse methods and technologies to the public and support decision-makers in their capacity to implement sustainable waste management methods
5. Scope of Operations of Global WTERT Council
The Global WtERT Council consists of a representative designated by each national/regional organization. These representatives, plus the President and Vice Presidents of GWC, Inc., form the Governing Board of the Council. The Governing Board will periodically review and vote amendments on the GWC Charter and recommend subsequent actions affecting the operations and Charter of the Council. Most communications will be by e-mail or telephone conferences. Occasional meetings of the Governing Board will be called by the Chair of the Governing Board of the Council, preferably to be held in conjunction with an international meeting on waste management. GWC members realize that waste management solutions vary from region to region. It is hoped that through the new GWC knowledge and communication infrastructure, we can collectively create a global platform for sharing of experience, expertise and information that will advance sustainable waste management world-wide.
In the near future, the GWC Governing Board will establish a "Scientific Committee" or "Quality Board" to ensure that only the best methodologies and technologies are presented to the public. This committee advises GWC on the development of the knowledge infrastructure and also decides which technologies to include and which to reject.
6. Scope of Operation of National/Regional GWC Organization
The objectives of each GWC national/regional organization are:
a)To develop and maintain their country WtERT (or WERT) web page that describes the mission and scope of the organization and links as many as possible academic and industrial research groups working on various aspects of waste management, within the nation. Preferably, this web page will be hosted at a major university that is conducting research on resource recovery from wastes. Most of the material in this web page will be in the national language so as to inform the general public and policymakers as well as academia and industry. However, the front web page should also provide for English language translation of part of the content, as discussed in (b).
b)To identify the most suitable methods and technologies for the treatment of various waste materials in the nation, encourage additional academic research as required, disseminate this information within the nation, and provide an English language window for the outside world to learn about problems and opportunities for advancing waste management in their respective nation or region.
c)Once the organization platform described in (a) and (b) has been created, the national/ regional WtERT organization can seek sponsorship and funding by industry and government organizations concerned with advancing waste management in the nation/region. This model of operation has been successful with some of the existing WTERT national organizations who are willing to advise and assist new member organizations.
7. Role of WtERT-Germany
WtERT-Germany (or WERT = value in German) has undertaken to develop the GWC open source web infrastructure that provides essential solutions for sustainable waste management and useful information on all the GWC principals, links to all the GWC web pages, and provides a database pooling the experience gained by all the national/regional GWC organizations and their partners. This information is offered open source on www.wtert.net for the support of decision makers all over the world. The national GWC organizations can use this information to improve their local waste management infrastructure.
In coordination with and on behalf of the GWC , WERT Germany will also establish a communications infrastructure for optimal exchange between member organizations, their partners and local decision-makers. This is essential in order to bring the actors at the local level into contact with the knowledge carriers and global experts. The WtERT country organizations will play a mediating role between global experts and local decision-makers to ensure the transfer of knowledge and to support the implementation in an advisory capacity.
8. Organizational Structure
a) The founding Chair of each new GWC organization is appointed by GWC for a period of five years. During the 5th year of tenure, the members of the national/regional organization must elect by majority vote a new Chair or re-elect the existing Chair for a successive five-year term.
b)GWC national organizations who do not maintain their WtERT (or WERT) web page and do not pursue actively the above GWC objectives will be removed from the roster of GWC sister organizations.
c)The founding Chair of the Global WtERT Council is Prof. Nickolas Themelis. The first elected Chair of the Global WtERT Council will be elected for a five-year term by majority vote of the Governing Board of GWC. It is expected that the first such election will take place by the end of 2021, among candidates nominated by GWC members to the Governing Board. Nominations for GWC Chair may include members of the Governing Board of GWC.
9. Global WtERT Council, Inc.(GWC)
For financial and tax reasons, in December 2011, GWC was registered as a non-profit corporation in the State of New York and the U.S. At this time, the officers of GWC, Inc. are Prof. Nickolas J. Themelis (President), Prof. A.C. (Thanos) Bourtsalas (VP Development), Mr. Werner Bauer (VP, Information Techonlogy), and Dr. Hanwei Zhang (VP Engineering).
10. National/Regional Organizations and contact information:
WtERT-Brazil (https://abren.abren.org.br; www.wtert.br) Associação Brasileira de Recuperação Energética de Resíduos (ABREN)
Yuri Schmitke, A.B. Tisi firstname.lastname@example.org
WtERT-Canada (new web under development)
Concordia University, Prof. Catherine Mulligan
Kabajj M. Reda, email@example.com
Institute of Thermal Power Engineering (ITPE),
Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
Prof. Qunxing Huang
WTERT-Chile, Recuperacion de Energia & Materiales (REM) (www.wtert.cl)
Universidad del Desarollo, Santiago, Chile
Prof. Alex Godoy < firstname.lastname@example.org>
ACIEM Antioquia, Medellin
Hugo Ospina email@example.com
Ecole des Mines, Albi (http://wtert.mines-albi.fr)
Prof. Ange Nzihou
Prof. Maria Loizidou, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)
National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI)
Dr. Sreenivasa Rao < firstname.lastname@example.org>; Dr. Sunil Kumar email@example.com
Dr. Rakesh Kumar
WTERT-Italy (www.wtert.it); (www.mater.polimi.it/mater)
MatER (Materials and Energy Recovery)
Department of Energy - School of Industrial Engineering - Politecnico di Milano
Campus Piacenza, Piacenza, Italy
Prof. Stefano Consonni < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Prof. Mario Grosso < email@example.com>
IRESEN, Dr. Badr Ikken (
WtERT-Turkey (web under development)
Bursa Teknik Üniversitesi, Bursa
Prof. Samet Oturk
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Imperial College, London, U.K.
Prof. Chris Cheeseman firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Civil Engineering, Leeds University
Prof. Costas Velis
Prof. Marco J. Castaldi , Earth Engineering Center, City College of New York (CCNY)
Earth Engineering Center, Columbia University
500 West 120th St., New York, NY 10027, U.S.A.
Prof. N.J. Themelis
, Prof. A.C. (Thanos) Bourtsalas,
, Mr. Werner Bauer < Werner Bauer < email@example.com>,
Dr. Hanwei Zhang
published: Global WTERT Council, Inc., 10|1920