1. 3. 2017

The amendment to Decree No. 294 does not prevent the construction of recycling and separation lines

Recently, landfill companies have come up with a stricter calorific value parameter (from 8 MJ/kg to 6.5 MJ/kg in dry matter) for the output of recycling and sorting lines for mixed municipal waste in response to the amendment of Decree 294/2005 Coll. The Ministry of the Environment and the representatives of the CABH are reacting to this.

Are these statements of companies associated mainly in the Czech Association of Waste Management (ČAOH) true?

Jaromír Manhart, Director of the Waste Department, Ministry of the Environment:

In the opinion of the Ministry of the Environment, these are not recycling lines, but treatment facilities, known as mechanical-biological treatment of waste and, in addition, in the submission of the ČAOH, as so-called shakers. Moreover, this is a clearly expedient claim by the waste companies, most of whose profits come from the operation of landfill sites - i.e. landfilling - and which the ČAOH represents.

The very fact that the parameter limits what can be landfilled implies that it cannot, by definition, affect recycling, or it can, but in the opposite way, and that is to promote it. It is therefore quite purposeful to refer to the CHRA's comments on the MSW treatment facility as recycling facilities, but they most certainly are not.

ČAOH itself presents these facilities as a cheaper option for energy recovery compared to conventional incinerators. The output of the mixed municipal waste treatment plant is in the vast majority of cases two waste streams.

The supersulphur fraction, which is intended for the production of fuel from waste, which is burned, for example, in cement plants or other co-incineration sources; the second stream consists of the subsulphur fraction, which is then biologically stabilised and disposed of in landfill.

At best, a fraction (up to 10%) of the supersieved fraction is recovered and recycled, but this proportion is small and cannot be increased in the future, and as more and more recyclables are sorted through separate collection in municipalities, the waste that remains in mixed municipal waste is contaminated.

The purpose of the specified calorific value is to ensure that the volume of waste leaving the mixed municipal waste treatment plant that ends up in landfill is as low as possible, i.e. that the separation of the recoverable components is as great as possible.

 It should be stressed that MSW treatment plants are not a way to develop waste recycling, but a way to recover residual MSW. Their presentation as recycling facilities is, on the contrary, a threat to quality recycling, as it could give citizens the impression that they do not need to sort waste at source because it will be sorted afterwards.

The only way to ensure quality recycling is to develop the sorting of waste at collection. This is to be facilitated, for example, by the binding targets set for municipalities in the draft new Waste Act, which, in line with proposed changes at EU level, suggests that municipalities will have to ensure that 60% of municipal waste is sorted by 2025.

Milan Chromík, Veolia By-products CR, s.r.o.:

Decree No. 294/2005 Coll. does not endanger recycling lines, on the contrary, it supports them. The parameter of calorific value and biological activity is a threat to dishonest technologies for the management of mixed municipal waste, which in reality do nothing more than sort the waste into several piles.

Calling such a technology a "recycling line" seems to me to be too bold. Recycling is only what is actually used in the next production process. Not what is further used for energy or landfilled.

Anyone who knows a bit about waste technologies knows that only about 10% of the input materials can be recovered from mechanical biological treatment (MBT), simple sorting plants (SST) or any similar, often euphemistically named technologies. Everything else is suitable for energy recovery.

Some voices are even calling for the stabilised biosolids after MBU or JTZ to be thrown directly into landfill. In our understanding, this is a circumvention of the waste hierarchy, as only what has previously passed through all stages of the waste hierarchy should end up in landfill.

The CAObH is of the opinion that setting strict parameters for landfilling is fine. This is the only way to ensure that waste does not end up in landfills but is used for material or at least energy purposes before disposal in landfill.

The argument that waste with a calorific value of 6.5 MJ/kg does not burn and must be landfilled is just wishful thinking of landfillers who are hungry for quantity. It completely ignores the fact that other types of calorific waste, such as industrial waste, can be added to municipal waste of this calorific value to enable its energy recovery without the need for additional fossil fuels.

Petr Špičák, SUEZ Využití virov a.s.:

Such a statement is certainly out of context and purposefully edited. The setting of the calorific value at 6,5 MJ/kg was absolutely correct and was in no way directed against MSW recycling facilities as stated in the question. 

On the contrary. This parameter will help recycling by diverting waste from landfill that still has some material or energy value - which is what has happened in other countries that have introduced this parameter.

And it is this diversion of waste from landfill that may be the reason for similar misleading claims. Moreover, the outputs from these types of facilities are nowadays quite commonly reused and we see no reason why they should end up in landfills with no further use. 

If we talk about facilities for mechanical-biological treatment of mixed municipal waste, then in the case of real, modern technologies of this type, as we know them from abroad, there will be no problem with the outputs.

Source :

The full article can be found at this link

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