ISWA sets up beacons for the waste sector

Indaver shares its expertise for worldwide sustainable waste management

ISWA, the annual international waste sector conference that was held in Antwerp this year, has come to an end. A record number of participants from 92 countries spent three days thinking about innovative technologies, better waste management and the sector's changing role. What have we taken away from ISWA2015?

Saving the Climate

The world's towns and cities produce 7 to 10 million tons of waste every year. Sustainable waste management can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because 70 % of this waste is currently going straight to the dump, with methane emissions as a result. "Doing nothing is costing countries between 5 and 10 times more than it would to invest in sustainable waste management," said UNEP director Achim Steiner. Jan-Kees De Voogd (Business Developer Sales & Marketing) presented ECLUSE for Indaver at the conference. This is the industrial steam network that will use the steam created from treating household and commercial waste at Indaver's plant in Doel to provide industrial businesses in the port area with green heat. The share of renewable energy is equivalent to 50 windmills and leads to a reduction of 100,000 tons of CO2 per year.

Putting Health First

Sustainable waste management is also a public health matter. The 50 largest open landfill sites in the world are a threat to the health of the 64 million people who live near them. During ISWA2015, Daniel Dirickx (Director of the Intermunicipal company Hooge Maey) presented Hooge Maey, which is managed by Indaver, as an example of a sustainable landfill site. In the circular economy people's health is also a central concern. For conference participants Indaver organised a tour of its site in Antwerp, where it destroys hazardous components of industrial and pharmaceutical waste at high temperatures in its rotary kiln incinerators and neutralises these components in its physicochemical plants.

Providing Quality for the Circular Economy

ISWA is moving three priorities forward: municipal waste collection in low-income countries, the closure of open landfill sites and the transition from waste treatment to materials management. The last priority is important to our region. In his contribution at the ISWA2015 regarding the innovative Indaver Molecule Management, CEO Paul De Bruycker pointed out that for the circular economy to be achieved sustainably, products that are created from secondary materials that have been recovered from waste, must have the same high quality as products created from untreated raw materials. "The circular economy is aimed at added value. Ease of use has to be at least equally high and the potential risks have to be as low as possible. That will not only require a change in behaviour, but also mass investment in product development and technological development."

Sharing Expertise

Flanders is a good student. Something that the entire world is now aware of thanks to the Global Waste Management Outlook, a study undertaken by ISWA and UNEP (the UN environmental programme) that compiled and analysed international data about waste management which was presented at ISWA2015. The data must help governments and companies to take targeted action. With 70 % of all waste being recycled and re-used as materials or energy, Flanders is the frontrunner in Europe. The report calls upon countries like Belgium to share this expertise with countries that still (in places) have a long way to go. Indaver did that at ISWA, by way of a master class in the technological and economic aspects of waste to energy run by Nick Alderweireldt (Lead Engineer Process & Mechanics), and a contribution from Claire Downey (Sustainable Business Planner), who warned that waste-to-energy designs need to be flexible if they are to be of interest to the future energy market. Guido Wauters (Chief Organisational Development Officer) gave information and commented on the revision of the BREFs, the guidelines for the Best Available Technology for treating different types of waste.

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