Alternatives

UKWIN is developing a range of useful resources for publication on this website. While these are being progressed, you may find the following Friends of the Earth resources of use:

Anaerobic digestion
UKWIN’s Anaerobic Digestion (AD) briefing – written by Tim Hill C.Eng., M.I.Mech E), December 2009

www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/anaerobic_digestion.pdf

also visit http://ukwin.org.uk/2009/06/25/ad-in-the-uk/ for a list of AD facilities in the UK

Autoclaving
www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/autoclaving.pdf

Note – UKWIN update on the Autoclaving briefing: It may be simpler to use the fibrous material product than FOE thought (when the Briefing was written in September 2008). The first plant Sterecycle at Rotherham has been working since July and has secured EA approval for its fibrous product to be used for land reclamation. The fraction of plastics (film that contracts into little balls) that cannot be sorted post autoclaving, is quite small and is not visually offensive as in ordinary MBT processes. We will be interested to see how the use of this material on land progresses.

Zero waste
Please visit http://ukwin.org.uk/knowledge-bank/waste-strategies/zero-waste/

Mechanical biological treatment
A Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) plant is expected to accept mixed waste, normally, but not necessarily, from Municipal sources. The Mechanical part of the plant, which is designed to recover recyclables and separate out inert materials such as constructional waste, normally includes magnetic equipment to collect metals and mechanical equipment to break up large items such than these can then be collected by sieving or an equivalent process. There may be equipment geared to the collection of glass and plastics and the Mechanical part of the plant may be preceded by some manual sorting.

The biological elements in the waste (probably mixed with other materials such as broken glass, smaller plastics etc) will then pass to the Biological section of the plant and there be subject to either aerobic composting or anaerobic digestion with a view to removing most of the biodegradeability such that the material can afterwards be landfilled or used as refuse derived fuel. If Anaerobic digestion is used, the biogas will be recovered and used probably for on site power generation.

MBT is not to be considered an entirely environmentally satisfactory solution. Instead, discarded material should be source segregated to provide clean recyclables (which are what manufacturers prefer), with the biological elements going for (food) anaerobic digestion (AD) and (garden / green waste) for composting.

The Government sponsored protocols (PAS 100 for compost and PAS 110 for AD digestate require that the incoming feedstock to these processes should have been source segregated if the resulting material is to be acceptable as compost and fertiliser respectively. If on this basis they are not acceptable by the standards of these protocols, then they must be dealt with as waste.

Also see: www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/mchnical_biolo_treatmnt.pdf

Sorting residual waste: a guide for councils to save money and help the environment by cutting back on residual wastewww.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/residual_waste.pdf

Recycling – why it’s important and how to do it
www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/recycling.pdf

Recycling collections – source separated or commingled?
www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/recycling_collections.pdf

Food waste collections
www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/food_waste.pdf

Food waste action guide to lobby your council
www.foe.co.uk/resource/action_guides/food_waste.doc

Please feel free to leave comments on these resources, and to suggest additional resources for inclusion within the UKWIN website.

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