How to support Carbon Reduction and Circularity by Suitable Waste Management
In today's world, "decarbonization" seems to be the most important buzzword in environmental and climate policy. It is probably due to the general fascination with "geoengineering" that many first think of carbon capture and storage.
by Dipl.-Ing. (TU) Werner P. Bauer
In today's world, "decarbonization" seems to be the most important buzzword in environmental and climate policy. It is probably due to the general fascination with "geoengineering" that many first think of carbon capture and storage. The author considers nothing of banishing a pollutant into the depths of the earth before everything has been done to reduce the production of carbon or greenhouse gases to a minimum. But even those who give high priority to reducing CO2 are thinking first of the transport sec-tor and power plants for energy production. In this respect, it is not surprising that waste incineration is also a thorn in the side of particularly ecologically oriented people. However, after all experiences with waste management over the last 20 years in Germany, this is wrong. Correct is that sustainable handling of waste is an essential contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Five years after the landfill ban came into force in Germany in July 2005, this has been demonstrated by numerous studies. They also show which concrete measures led to this success: "The original impact of waste management measures in Germany ** on the climate in 1990 was around 38 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents. By 2006, this had turned into a reduction of around 18 million metric tons. Thus, in particular by phasing out the landfilling of untreated municipal waste, emissions of climate-damaging gases by the waste management sector were reduced by a total of around 56 million metric tons..". The ban on dumping of non-pretreated municipal waste has provided the decisive impetus. These savings were achieved through a combination of material and thermal recycling. The Federal Environmental Agency writes: "Recycling, the use of residual waste for energy, and landfill gas collection and use contribute significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gases ... The biggest contribution, however, comes from preventing methane formation in landfills ". With that in mind, we can consider what kind of circularity we need to aim for. Optimizing the cycles only in terms of better use of recycled products is too short-sighted.
Keywords: waste to energy, landfilling, dumps, Circular Society
published: Korea Society of Waste Management, 11|2022
Keywords: Energy Recovery, Landfilling, Pollution Control, Germany
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