A new journal article examines the poor thermal efficiency and technical challenges associated with the pyrolysis of mixed waste and, by extension, other ‘advanced thermal treatment’ technologies such as gasification. The article written by Andrew Neil Rollinson (University of Loughborough) and Jumoke Mojisola Oladejo (University of Nottingham) is entitled “‘Patented blunderings’, efficiency awareness, and self-sustainability claims in the pyrolysis energy from waste sector”. It is schedule to be published by Elsevier in Volume 141 of the journal ‘Resources, Conservation and Recycling’ in February 2019 but is available for free from today until the 23rd of December 2018 from https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1X-E33HVLKaZLr. Continue reading »

The Treasury’s October 2018 Budget Report states that: “…the government wants to maximise the amount of waste sent to recycling instead of incineration and landfill. Should wider policies not deliver the government’s waste ambitions in the future, it will consider the introduction of a tax on the incineration of waste, in conjunction with landfill tax, taking account of the possible impacts on local authorities.”

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The United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) has today (Monday 22nd October 2018) launched a report that looks into the climate change impacts of waste incineration in the UK. Continue reading »

We now know that the Chancellor’s next budget statement is due to take place on Monday 29th October 2018. We also know that serious consideration is being given to the inclusion of a tax on waste incineration as part of the forthcoming budget. An incineration tax might be only a month away! Continue reading »

In their summary of responses to the ‘Tackling the plastic problem’ call for evidence, the Government has announced that they are considering an incineration tax to be announced at the forthcoming budget in the Autumn. Continue reading »

New UKWIN report launched 17th July 2018 at the House of Lords. The Report, ‘Waste Incineration and Particulate Pollution: A Failure of Governance’ launched in the House of Lords with cross-party support from John Grogan MP (Labour), Philip Davies MP (Conservative), and Lord Tyler (Liberal Democrat Peer).

The documents are available in electronic format from http://ukwin.org.uk/bin/ as follows:

The report reveals:

  • Incinerators exceed pollution reporting thresholds for particulates, but do due to a loophole the public is not informed of particulate emissions;
  • Levels of emissions of harmful particulate matter and NOx and associated costs to society; and
  • A lack of regulation, with official guidance ignored.

The report shows that particulate matter released by English incinerators in 2017 is equivalent to particulate matter emitted by more than a quarter of a million 40-tonne lorries travelling 75,000 miles a year, and the NOx emissions released by English incinerators in 2017 equate to around 80,000 lorries travelling 75,000 miles a year.

The report calls for:

  • The development and implementation of accurate systems to measure particulate matter released by incinerators, accompanied by proper enforcement;
  • Stricter control of PM1 emissions;
  • The introduction of an incineration tax; and
  • A moratorium on new waste incineration capacity.

What has been said about the report:
Shlomo Dowen, National Coordinator of the UK Without Incineration Network, said: “For decades incinerators in England have been emitting significant quantities of pollution and greenhouse gasses. There is a substantial cost to society associated with these harmful emissions. This cost should be met by incinerator operators in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle. Operators should also be required to be more transparent about their emissions and to do more to monitor and control the pollution they cause.”

John Grogan MP said: “The case for a tax on waste Incineration to mirror the Landfill Tax and for a moratorium on new incinerators is now very strong.”

Philip Davies MP said: “Incinerators are being foisted on local communities right across the country and yet the damage that they cause to the local environment is not fully known. There really needs to be a suspension on new incinerators until there is better information available.”

Lord Tyler said: “Clean air is vital to health but the Government seems unconcerned about adequately monitoring the emissions from incinerators and has allowed this monitoring loop hole to go unchecked. We must tighten up monitoring procedures and fully investigate the impact before allowing any further incinerators to be built.

Photograph showing some of the attendees at the launch at the House of Lords on 17th July 2018

UKWIN’s new report will be launched at the House of Lords from 10:30am on Tuesday 17th July 2018!

For a copy of Waste Incineration and Particulate Pollution: ‘A Failure of Governance’ see: http://ukwin.org.uk/bin/ from 10:30am on Tuesday.

The Government’s consultation ‘Tackling the plastic problem: Using the tax system or charges to address single-use plastic waste’ closed yesterday. Commenting on the consultation the exchequer secretary Robert Jenrick has been quoted in The Times as stating that: “A number of submissions have advocated a tax on the incineration of waste. There is an argument for changing the incentives to discourage putting further waste to incineration. We would like to see less plastic incinerated, sent to landfill or exported and more recycled.”

Reacting to this, Shlomo Dowen, the National Coordinator of the United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN), said: “It is a scandal that for so many years the public has effectively been subsiding the incineration of recyclable and avoidable plastics. The introduction of a tax on the incineration of plastic is long overdue. Such a tax would mean the price of incineration would more closely reflect the climate cost to society of burning these fossil fuels. UKWIN welcomes the news that the Government is considering such a tax which would send a clear signal that we should be shifting investment away from incineration towards reduction, reuse and recycling.”

UKWIN views an incineration tax as a sensible measure to encourage the investment in collection, sorting, education and processing needed to boost recycling, and to discourage the incineration of materials that would be recycled if the appropriate infrastructure were in place.

A new study, published in the Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, raises serious concerns about the safety of treating mixed waste via gasification.

The academic paper, written by gasification expert Dr. Andrew N. Rollinson, is entitled ‘Fire, explosion and chemical toxicity hazards of gasification energy from waste’. The article highlights the hazards of gasification and discusses relevant historic incidents and underappreciated engineering fundamentals that indicate that gasification of mixed waste can be significantly more risky than conventional incineration.

Gasification hazards identified by Dr. Rollinson include: flammable, toxic, and corrosive gas mixtures; the auto-ignition of stored feedstocks; multiple explosive atmospheres due to both over-pressure and under-pressure; and heightened risk at times of start-up, shut-down or during testing.

The paper identifies how these risks are made worse by a widespread lack of stakeholder understanding, a desire to operate at high outputs, and a reluctance to learn lessons from decades of unsuccessful attempts to operate gasification on a mixed waste feedstock.

The study concludes that: “If the waste industry is to avoid further process losses, it must learn from the lessons of gasification history and the lessons of risk assessment developed through major chemical process accidents of the past. At present however, risk is being aggravated by a reluctance to disclose or address these failures, preferences for novelty, a lack of stakeholder understanding, and a desire to operate beyond technological capabilities”.

Shlomo Dowen, National Coordinator of the UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN), commented on the implications of this research, stating: “This is a valuable contribution to the available literature that should be required reading for anyone interested in, or indeed making decisions about, waste gasification technologies. From UKWIN’s perspective, the risks associated with gasification are not worth taking because gasification and other forms of incineration destroy valuable resources that should be re-used or recycled as part of our move towards a more sustainable and circular economy”.

The paper is published in Volume 54 of the Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, July 2018 (doi.org/10.1016/j.jlp.2018.04.010) and is available electronically from https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1X0cq3O6UQP6UB or
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0950423018301323

Dr. Andrew Neil Rollinson PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), AFHEA, MRSC is a research engineer at Loughborough University. For more information about Dr. Rollinson see his profile at: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/abce/staff/andrew-neil-rollinson/

 

On Wednesday evening 21st March 2018 UKWIN received the David & Goliath Award from the Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) as part of the 2018 National Campaigner Awards ceremony. Continue reading »

As part of their investigation into Waste Management in London, the London Assembly’s Environment Committee has published a damning report into Energy from Waste which calls for strong action from the London Mayor to tackle the issue of recyclable and compostable material being sent for incineration.

The report states that: “London must begin to limit not only the amount but also the type of waste it sends to Energy from Waste (EfW)…EfW burns recyclable materials that could be used within the circular economy. Burning recyclable materials perpetuates our linear economy model of take-make-dispose and further depletes our natural resources”. The report adds that, to improve London’s air quality, it is “essential that London burns less organic and plastic waste”.

The United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) provided evidence to the inquiry and are quoted in its report. Commenting on the Committee’s findings the UKWIN National Coordinator Shlomo Dowen, stated that: “We hope London’s Mayor follows the Assembly’s advice and does everything he can to prevent more incinerators being built in London. The Mayor should also work harder to ensure London’s existing incinerators are not burning such high volumes of recyclable and compostable material. London has an exciting opportunity to be a truly Zero Waste city, and the first step is to realise that incinerators are a relic of the outdated linear system that should be consigned to the dustbin of history”.

Further reading:

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