Why Municipal Solid Waste Charging Fails

Most municipalities across the world introduce MSW charging NOT for the purpose of behavioral changes, but for the purpose of finding extra income to pay for rising waste treatment cost, collection fees and compensation of widespread community opposition.

永續・生活 Sustainable Living

The Council for Sustainable Development emphasises that the ultimate goal to municipal solid waste charging is to establish behavioural changes in people’s daily garbage disposal through economic incentives.

I do not doubt the council’s good faith in trying to introduce policies to battle the current waste crisis.

Nevertheless, I could hardly find any justification on how charging for this waste could serve as an economic incentive to help reduce waste.

First, most municipalities across the world introduced  charging for this waste not for the purpose of behavioural changes, but to find extra income to pay for rising waste treatment costs and collection fees and compensation  in the face of widespread community opposition.

With the government aggressively trying to expand landfills and the huge price tag associated with such an expansion, it would be naive not to associate fees collected from municipal solid waste charging with landfill expansion expenses and compensation…

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FROM WASTE TO ENERGY

Sweden sends just 1% of its residential solid waste to the landfill, recycling 50% and thermally processing 49% for heat and power generation in their WTE plants (waste to energy).

Planet Earth Weekly

wast managemet sweeden

By Lin Smith

August 11, 2013–Sweden, a country of 9 million people, is one of our planet’s leaders in creating a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Their goal is to achieve a completely oil free economy by 2020, replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives before “climate change undermines national economies worldwide and diminishing oil supplies force astronomical price increases.” Their renewable alternative–turning trash into power! Although at the present time Sweden relies on other forms of energy, burning of garbage accounts for an equivalent of 810,000 homes being heated and the electrical equivalent of 250,000 homes being powered. The waste to energy plants are burning garbage faster than Swedes can produce it, so their solution? Import garbage from Norway!

Sweden sends just 1% of its residential solid waste to the landfill, recycling 50% and thermally processing 49% for heat and power generation in their WTE plants…

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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.

photo (5)

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.

Environmentally Confused – Burn or Recycle?

Sweden has had strict standards limiting emissions from waste incineration since the mid-1980s. Most emissions have fallen by between 90 and 99 per cent since then thanks to ongoing technical development and better waste sorting.

Journey of Mixed Emotions

The recycling movement in 1990s-era Vancouver started as a lukewarm way to protect the environment. Then the issues started heating up until it was a sizzling hot topic.

Everyone I knew became a star recycler. We learned how to sort properly, and although I did not always compost, I really tried to be environmentally responsible in other ways. Up until 2001, I was doing my undergraduate degree in biology and I felt it was my duty to understand the issues and be proactive.

In 2005 (give or take) I read Michael Crichton’s book State of Fear. Although there is controversy as to his thesis behind this fictional story, he had some great points about whether we were all jumping on the global warming bandwagon without all the facts. Almost 10 years later I still feel that way on a daily basis.

I am conditioned to recycle. I am often pulling…

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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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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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