Trash Collection and Recycling Abroad

In Switzerland, trash is taken very seriously. You usually have at least 4 sorting bins under your sink for paper, plastic, aluminum, organic, and then general trash.

My Life in France

I have observed a wide range of differences when it comes to trash collection and recycling.  In Singapore we lived in an apartment and had a live-in helper, so I am really not sure where the garbage went as she took care of it.  I think there was some central room where trash bags were sorted.

In Thailand, you simply put everything out on the street in big trash cans and passers-by would sort through it.  Once a week an old Thai man would come up our soi (street) riding a bike that pulled a cart.  He’d yell some incoherent thing that sounded like “bring out your dead”.  He was collecting cardboard so that he would take it to the recycling facility nearby and make some money.  You only need 25 baht for a decent street meal in Bangkok, and I am sure he made good money as his cart…

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Waste management in India – addressing a national issue on a local level

Addressing waste management at a local village level is one way to kick-start the process and start connecting with emerging networks that operate recycling and garbage removal services. Although the waste management in India, as in many developing countries, lacks a holistic government run structure for removing and recycling waste, there is an incredible amount of informal recycling and entrepreneurial skills in reusing discarded materials. This enthusiasm and local attention to waste can be built upon to address the broader issue.

thedesignAlternative

As I am currently living in a small village on the outskirts of Jaipur in India, one of the major challenges I am currently addressing is waste disposal. A major issue facing India in the 21st century is waste management and improving informal and formal infrastructure to dispose and recycle garbage. In a country with 1.2 billion people and a rapidly emerging consumer market, a lack of formalised waste management system is likely to become a major strain on the natural environment and on the population.

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Addressing waste management  at a local village level is one way to kick-start the process and start connecting with emerging networks that operate recycling and garbage removal services. Although the waste management in India, as in many developing countries, lacks a holistic government run structure for removing and recycling waste,  there is an incredible amount of informal recycling and entrepreneurialism in reusing discarded materials. This enthusiasm and…

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Cities Worldwide Seek to Produce Recycled Energy

Public transportation like subway or buses in Sweden’s Hammarby sjostad city are running by 100 percent recycled energy. Hammarby sjostad is known as “the city with zero carbon emission.” It is easy to spot people putting bio-gas in their vehicles at every gas stations in Hammarby sjostad city.

Waste Management in Rhode Island

The Providence Environment

Hello readers! I come to you today to talk about waste. I know it’s definitely not the most appealing topic, but it’s such an environmental concern that I think the public needs more education about. My professor for this environmental studies class said something really interesting today when we were talking about the idea of “social sustainability.” This viewpoint advocates for people to “wallow in their own filth” more to really see what they’re creating and how it’s affecting the environment. We in more developed countries are so used to having other people take care of our trash FOR us. We don’t have to deal with the nastiness that is disposing of the pounds of trash we generate each day. So maybe if we DID have to deal with it, we’d see just how much waste we produce with our current lifestyle, and would then be more likely to…

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Waste Management in Stockholm

Misc. on land use planning (with a bias on Copenhagen)

I just came across an article in “City, Culture and Society”, dealing with Urban growth and waste management optimization in Stockholm and Adelaide. In Figure 2 in the results section the authors show a comparison of waste management systems in the two cities. However, for Stockholm they present only national data, assuming that this is also representative for the capital. Well, that striked me a bit because I am working with city data quite a lot and was wondering if there isn’t better data out there. In the database Urban Audit, maintained by Eurostat, you can find data for over 300 cities in Europe to a lot of different issues. Stockholm is one of the cities covered and waste data from 2008 was available, so I produced the graph below – in the same style as done in the mentioned article.

If you have access to the article

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MSW to Energy – A Quick Glance

Energy Matters

Brief Introduction: There have been  lots of  reports from all over the world about utilization of municipal solid waste(MSW) for conversion to energy. In India too, we have been talking and discussing about segregation of household waste to enable subsequent processing activities. But it has not taken off in any significant way due to a number of reasons. In the next couple of posts I intend to summarize the approaches followed worldwide along with Technology options available. Hopefully, it will throw light on what we need to do in India to put our act together for exploiting municipal solid waste (MSW) and its conversion to energy. Globally too, although there are quite a few success stories to relate, it has been rather difficult to sustain interest.  This post is based on a recent extensive report from EPRI (Electrical Power Research Institute) on this subject. I do believe there are several…

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Waste into Energy Initiative in Guyana

Repeating Islands

Guyana: Turning Waste into Energy

The tourist brochure shows pictures of lovely white sandy beaches, tall coconut trees and rolling mountains. Welcome to the Caribbean.But the picture has been changing in recent years as Caribbean countries grapple with millions of ton of household waste that sometimes scar the landscape.

Now there is a glimmer of hope. A United Kingdom-based Waste to Energy firm is partnering with some Caribbean countries to set up plants that will convert garbage into electricity and potable water, and in the process transform the region from its dependence on fossil fuel.

“The Caribbean is a wonderful area but what you haven’t got is the land or the resources,” Tony Fiddy, the President of the Waste to Energy Division and the Regional Vice President for Europe and Africa of Naanovo Energy Inc., told IPS. “If you want to put solar up, you need big solar fields…

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Plasma Gasification

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Clean Energy Diary

The World Bank development indicators 2008 shows that the wealthiest 20% of the world accounts for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifth just 1.5%.The report further states,

“Today’s consumption is undermining the environmental resource base. It is exacerbating inequalities. And the dynamics of the consumption-poverty-inequality-environment nexus are accelerating. If the trends continue without change — not redistributing from high-income to low-income consumers, not shifting from polluting to cleaner goods and production technologies, not promoting goods that empower poor producers, not shifting priority from consumption for conspicuous display to meeting basic needs — today’s problems of consumption and human development will worsen. The real issue is not consumption itself but its patterns and effects. Inequalities in consumption are stark. Globally, the 20% of the world’s people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures — the poorest 20% a minuscule 1.3%. More specifically, the richest…

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Waste-to-Energy Initiative in Vietnam

Vietnam Environment

Tu Ngoc An, board chairman of Kien Giang Composite Co. (KGC), has paid a visit to Australia to finalize the whole plan of building a plant generating power from garbage in HCMC with Australian partner Trisun International Development Co.

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The Incineration Debate

Remsol

On Easter Monday, 9th April 2012, the front page of The Times newspaper carried a story about the debate that’s currently raging over whether the UK ought to be building more and bigger incinerators to burn our household rubbish.

Opponents of waste-to-energy incineration insist that it discourages recycling, adds to CO2 emissions at a time when we’re trying to reduce them, and that incineration plants themselves are an ugly blot on the urban landscape.

Proponents, on the other hand, often dismiss these claims as fiction.

I tend to come down on the “for” side of the waste incineration argument, for several reasons, but chief amongst these is the belief that the argument only exists because we, as a society, create waste and crave energy.

According to statistics released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) UK electricity consumption for consumer electronics soared by 576% between 1970 and 2010.

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Thermal Conversion of Wastes

Thermal (or thermochemical) conversion systems consist of primary conversion technologies which convert the waste into heat or gaseous and liquid products. These technologies can be classified according to the principal energy carrier produced in the conversion process. Carriers are in the form of heat, gas, liquid and/or solid products, depending on the extent to which oxygen is admitted to the conversion process (usually as air).

Combustion

Direct combustion is the best established and most commonly used technology for converting wastes to heat. During combustion, waste is burnt in excess air to produce heat. The first stage of combustion involves the evolution of combustible vapours from wastes, which burn as flames. Steam is expanded through a conventional turbo-alternator to produce electricity. The residual material, in the form of charcoal, is burnt in a forced air supply to give more heat. The main products of efficient combustion are carbon dioxide and water vapor, however tars, smoke and alkaline ash particles are also emitted. Minimization of these emissions and accommodation of their possible effects are important concerns in the design of environmentally acceptable waste combustion systems.

Co-Firing

Co-firing or co-combustion of biomass wastes with coal and other fossil fuels can provide a short-term, low-risk, low-cost option for producing renewable energy while simultaneously reducing the use of fossil fuels. Co-firing involves utilizing existing power generating plants that are fired with fossil fuel (generally coal), and displacing a small proportion of the fossil fuel with renewable biomass fuels. Co-firing has the major advantage of avoiding the construction of new, dedicated, waste-to-energy power plant. An existing power station is modified to accept the waste resource and utilize it to produce a minor proportion of its electricity. Co-firing may be implemented using different types and percentages of wastes in a range of combustion and gasification technologies. Most forms of biomass wastes are suitable for co-firing. These include dedicated municipal solid wastes, wood waste and agricultural residues such as straw and husk.

Gasification

Gasification systems operate by heating wastes in an environment where the solid waste breaks down to form a flammable gas. The gasification of biomass takes place in a restricted supply of air or oxygen at temperatures up to 1200–1300°C. The gas produced—synthesis gas, or syngas—consists of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and methane with small amounts of higher hydrocarbons.  Syngas may be burnt to generate heat; alternatively it may be processed and then used as fuel for gas-fired engines or gas turbines to drive generators. In smaller systems, the syngas can be fired in reciprocating engines, micro-turbines, Stirling engines, or fuel cells. There are also small amounts of unwanted by-products such as char particles, tars, oils and ash, which tend to be damaging to engines, turbines or fuel cells and which must therefore first be removed or processed into additional fuel gas. This implies that gasifier operation is significantly more demanding than the operation of combustion systems.

Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is thermal decomposition occurring in the absence of oxygen. During pyrolysis process, waste is heated either in the absence of air (i.e. indirectly), or by the partial combustion of some of the waste in a restricted air or oxygen supply. This results in the thermal decomposition of the waste to form a combination of a solid char, gas, and liquid bio-oil, which can be used as a liquid fuel or upgraded and further processed to value-added products. High temperature and longer residence time increase the waste conversion to gas and moderate temperature and short vapour residence time are optimum for producing liquids. Pyrolysis technologies are generally categorized as “fast” or “slow” according to the time taken for processing the feed into pyrolysis products. Using fast pyrolysis, bio-oil yield can be as high as 80 percent of the product on a dry fuel basis. Bio-oil can act as a liquid fuel or as a feedstock for chemical production.