Three New Reports from ISWA
John H. Skinner, Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO
In January 2013, the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) issued three new reports that should be of considerable interest to SWANA Members. The titles of the reports below contain links to the full reports.
Alternative Waste Conversion Technologies
This report prepared by the ISWA Working Group on Energy Recovery defines several alternative thermal waste conversion technologies (gasification, pyrolysis and plasma gasification) and compares them to conventional Energy from Waste (EfW) technologies. The paper then presents an overview of each technology summarizing the technical aspects, available information on performance and operating experience, and an assessment of the risks in implementing the technology. The appendices include an overview of air emissions and energy efficiencies and a compilation of questions to be addressed in an evaluation of a technology offer.
The report concludes that the quantity of readily available, objective information about the performance of alternative thermal waste conversion technologies is lower than for conventional EfW installations. This is because there is less operational experience with the alternative technologies. This lack of information makes it difficult to compare proposals for the investment in various types of installations. To help overcome this problem, the ISWA Workgroup has prepared, and included in the appendices, a checklist of information that a prospective buyer should demand, to make it possible to rank the propositions of several suppliers. The data as presented by suppliers may present an overly optimistic view of actual emissions and efficiencies. It is essential that potential buyers make sure that they will be provided with actual and comparable information for specific technologies..
Underground Solutions for Urban Waste Management
This report prepared by the ISWA Task Force on Urbanization discusses an approach to waste storage and transport that is not very common in North America but is used on a more wide scale basis in other parts of the world. This includes stand-alone underground waste storage systems as well as automated underground vacuum collection systems, in which the wastes are pneumatically transported to a centralized facility for further process. The report describes how these systems are constructed an operated, discusses their advantages and disadvantages, presents schematics and presents investment and operating cost information. The report then presents eleven case studies where these technologies have been used in various countries.
The report concludes that stand-alone underground collection units offer advantages over traditional collection containers as they ensure high hygienic standards, superior holding capacity, improved aesthetics as well as limited maintenance requirements. Automated vacuum waste collection systems provide an alternative to conventional vehicle-operated waste collection, which can offer advantages in terms of reduced traffic-related problems, such as noise, accidents, and congestion and improve overall safety and hygienic levels. The authors conclude that both systems could provide significant benefits especially in cases of densely populated urban areas or in urban expansion projects where the underground infrastructure can be developed more easily, right from the beginning of the project.
Landfill Mining Issue Paper
This short paper prepared by the ISWA Landfill Working Group discusses landfill mining, which is the extraction of wastes from a landfill site after that site has closed and is no longer accepting wastes. In North America there were a number of landfill mining projects in the 1990s but this practice is not widely used today. The report presents three main strategic reasons for landfill mining: extraction of materials for recycling, extraction for energy recovery and reclamation of land. The report summarizes the pros and cons of landfill mining, technical and economic considerations, environmental impacts and potential mitigation.
The report concludes that landfill mining operations are likely to be complex and need to consider a long-term view of the economic and environmental considerations surrounding the project. Organizations considering landfill mining need to fully evaluate the proposed sites and conduct highly detailed site investigations to determine the likely return and the controls that will be required during the excavation. While the excavation itself is relatively simple, a comprehensive approach is required to fully understand the implications of the project and to enable the project to appropriately quantify expenditure and income.
More Reports are available in the ISWA Knowledge Base
These reports and more than 1,800 other ISWA reports and technical papers can be accessed and downloaded from the ISWA Knowledge Base, an on-line database of information on all aspects of solid waste management. The Knowledge Base can be accessed directly by SWANA Members from the SWANA eLibrary Home Page after logging into the My SWANA members-only web page.
SWANA is the National Member of ISWA for Canada and the U.S. and represents these countries s on the General Assembly, the governing body of the association. SWANA CEO John H. Skinner Ph.D, is a member of the ISWA Board.