Environmental Services Association chairman, Phil Piddington of Viridor, has today (26 November) pledged the association’s members will lead the way in de-carbonising the waste sector. And the association has also given more details of its Standard for Responsible Export in its annual report.
The report explains that the association (ESA) represents waste management businesses which employ more than 43,000 people with full members having a combined annual turnover of nearly £7.5 billion. The larger members operate more than 100 local authority collection contracts and its members have over 300,000 individual private and public sectors.
Mr Piddington’s call on carbon comes in his foreword to the ESA’s annual report for 2019-2020 (published today). He writes that “ESA members will continue to lead our sector’s de-carbonisation efforts by establishing accurate, consistent and consolidated carbon reporting, and by plotting a path to achieving net-zero carbon emissions for the sector.”
The ESA chairman, who is due to be succeeded later today by Veolia UK’s vice-president Gavin Graveson, commented on the events of 2020, including the pandemic.
Mr Piddington said: “It has been both a challenging and exciting time for our sector during this reporting period. The pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges, but I am proud of the way ESA members and the wider sector have continued to deliver vital services under tough conditions and I would like to once more thank all of the frontline staff for making this happen.”
“The Resources & Waste Strategy has understandably been placed on the back-burner this year”
Looking at policy developments in the UK against the background of the report, ESA executive director, Jacob Hayler, said: “The Resources & Waste Strategy has understandably been placed on the back-burner this year, as the sector and wider country continues to navigate the Covid-19 crisis, but it must resume apace next year if we are to deliver on the UK government’s sustainability and resource-efficiency ambitions, independent from the European Union, for 2030 and beyond.”
The report provides an overview of the ESA’s Standard for Responsible Export, which launched earlier this year in a bid to ensure recyclable materials are handled and treated properly overseas.
Among the aims of the export standard are for ESA members to:
- Only export material for recycling for which the UK lacks competitive domestic capacity to reprocess.
- Ensure that best practice quality assurance systems are in place to deliver material that meets end market requirements and legal compliance.
- Only export recognised mixed grades of material to non-OECD countries that strictly adhere to all internationally recognised documents on purchase, sales or shipment and which require no further separate sorting stage to meet the relevant grade, as well as single streams of recyclables.
- Require evidence from overseas recyclers, brokers and dealers that the waste is effectively processed and to broadly equivalent standards and that process losses/residues are properly managed.
One concern within the waste management sector is that getting heat offtakers from energy from waste plants has proved dfificult.
On heat offtake, the annual report states: “While many EfW plants in the UK are combined heat and power (CHP) enabled, a technology that enables plants to generate both electricity and heat, electricity is currently their main commercial output, significant barriers still hinder heat offtake and prevent many of these plants from achieving their full potential in terms of energy-efficiency.
“Current low heat recovery rates from nonrecyclable waste allows significant room for improvement and a major opportunity to reduce NET carbon emissions for the UK, but this cannot be achieved without strong collaboration between industry and Government. During the past year, the ESA has been hosting an industry-wide forum with BEIS, DIT, and more recently the ADE, to identify common barriers to heat offtake and to work together to find solutions which are acceptable and replicable across the UK’s diverse regions.”
And the ESA explains that to address some of these heat offtake barriers: “We are currently developing an EfW heat ‘prospectus’. This prospectus aims to simplify and standardise public information about opportunities for heat offtake from EfW plants in the UK to prompt and facilitate mutually beneficial discussions between heat network developers and operators and Energy from Waste plants. It is due for completion in 2020.”
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Source: letsrecycle.com Waste Managment