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ORBIT Conference and ECN workshop on End of Waste

Michele Giavini from Italian consultancy ARS ambiente S.r.l. addresses the conference

Over 230 delegates, from 38 countries attended the 8th International ORBIT Conference in the capital city of Brittany, Rennes, in June. Organised by IRSTEA, the French National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture, it focused on the ‘Global Assessment for Organic Resources and Waste Management’. ORBIT stands for Organic Resources and Biological Treatment, and is the name given to a scientific conference held every two years in different countries across Europe. It was an initiative of the former ORBIT Association, and is now run by the European Compost Network (ECN), with the aim of providing a platform for researchers and technicians to present results, as well as debating and developing ideas on various aspects of biological treatment processes. One of the themes of the ORBIT 2012 conference was the global significance of biological treatment. The conference was opened by Dr Anne Trémier (Conference Organiser, IRSTEA), Mr Aloys Oechtering (ECN Chair) and Mr Bournigal (President of IRSTEA), who welcomed the delegates and set the scene for the three days of debate.

Global perspective Keynote presentations were

delivered by Dr Antonis Mavropoulis (Greece), who discussed global waste management and the role biological treatment processes may play in helping improve the lives of billions of people living in developing countries; Prof Thomas Christensen (Denmark), who introduced lifecycle assessment methods and the ways in which they can be utilised to quantify the potential effects of different treatment options; and, André Le Bozec (France) who explained some of the economic aspects of biodegradable waste management. The keynote presentations can be downloaded from http://www.orbit2012. fr/?page_id=1708.

Breton culture Delegates were treated to a guided tour of the city of Rennes, which illustrated the history of the city, highlighting the rich Breton culture and the lavishly decorated parliament building. This included an ornately painted ceiling, which pre-dated the more famous paintings at Versailles by over a decade. The gala dinner was held at the nearby Château d’Apigné, a nineteenth century castle built in the neo-renaissance style. Drinks, canapés, dancing and Breton music were on offer, with many delegates enjoying the refreshments and trying out the dancing! In addition to the scientific programme, ECN held a separate

one-day workshop during ORBIT 2012, called “From Waste to Product – Sustainable Management of Organic Resources in Europe”. With the focus on current European strategies and policies towards a “Recycling Society“, the workshop celebrated ECN’s 10th anniversary and showcased some of the initiatives and state of play in different EU Member States. These included countries that have adopted very different approaches towards biowaste management, such as Norway, France and Estonia. The work of ECN over the past ten years was summarised in a talk by Dr Jane Gilbert, who highlighted some of the major policy initiatives ECN has sought to influence. Focussing on more recent developments, Dr Hans Saveyn from the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), Joint Research Centre (JRC), EU Commission, spoke about the upcoming proposals for End-of-Waste criteria for compost and digestate. As the implications of this important work are likely to have far reaching consequences for the biological treatment sector across the EU, Dr Saveyn’s talk provided useful information for attendees. Dr Stefanie Siebert presented the European quality assurance scheme for organic resources ECN-QAS, which ECN developed in the last years and Dr Kiara Zennaro at AfOR gave a presentation on the development and promotion of the Compost and Digestate Quality Protocols in the UK. Copies of the workshop presentations can be downloaded from http://

Technical Tour The final day of the conference was taken over with tours of recycling facilities. Visits were made to a mechanical biological treatment, sludge composting, sorting and recycling plant, as well as a landfill site. The tour gave delegates the opportunity to find out how organic wastes are treated in northern France.

Organics Recycling autumn 2012


Giavini - ORBIT Conference and ECN Workshop on end of waste - Orbit - 2012  
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