NEW technology from Switzerland designed to remove the need for landfill was unveiled at the RWM show.
The new method for recovering a greater proportion of waste residue in waste to energy (WtE) plants is currently being developed by ZAR, a development centre specialising in the sustainable management of recyclable waste and resources.
At a seminar hosted by the Swiss Embassy and Swiss Enviro, the organisation that promotes the country’s environmental businesses, the agenda considered how the treatment of such WtE residues can increase the efficient use of materials and energy over the entire life cycle of products.
Currently the recovery of energy from organic fractions in, for example, waste to energy plants and biogas, is standard practice in Switzerland. However, the government is determined to take the approach a step further to ensure that within 10-20 years, no landfill will be required.
That target will be achieved by the material recovery of metallic and mineral substances from the residues of WtE. Known as ‘urban mining’, the technologies are based on systems and equipment typically used in the mining industry.
Swiss Ambassador to the UK, Anton Thalmann, explained: “This will avoid treated waste being sent to landfill and will help to close the life cycle loop. Switzerland aims to ensure that 100% of waste can be recycled into energy and new commodities.”
The RWM seminar looked at how British and Swiss companies are already working together to deliver high tech WtE plants in the UK. Speakers included Derek Greedy, president of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, and Dr Mathias Tellenbach, former deputy head of waste at the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment. And Andy Pike, director of Riverside Resource Recovery Facility at Bexley was invited to explain the collaboration between British and Swiss companies to develop a WtE plant near London and which officially opened in May.