LIFE & waste and
LIFE, the EU funding tool for the Environment
Since 1992, LIFE has contributed to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation by co-financing pilot or demonstration projects with European added value. In the waste sector, LIFE has supported initiatives that reduce the negative impact of waste on the environment and public health and ensure the most efficient use of natural resources.
European Week of Waste Reduction (EWWR) project aimed to reduce
the amount of municipal waste generated in Europe through the involvement of citizens, authorities, businesses and other stakeholders in awareness-raising programmes.
Stakeholders were invited to submit proposals for waste-reduction activities in one of five categories – Administration/public authority, Association/NGO, Business/industry, Educational organisations, and others (e.g. hospitals, retirement homes, cultural centres). The proposals were assessed and monitored by the EWWR organisers, who identified best practices in each of the five categories, recognised through an award scheme. The project also published a guide to 45 good practice activities developed during the EWWR, covering four topics: • The fight against garden and kitchen waste. • A general campaign on waste reduction and sustainable prevention/consumption. • Paper and packaging. • Reuse and preparing for reuse. These good practices were selected from the 14 053 activities that took place during the course of the project. The success of the initiative – which grew from 2 672 activities in 2009 to 7 035 activities in 2011 – encouraged the organisers to continue with the EWWR as a permanent annual event after the end of LIFE funding. In 2011, more than 2 million European citizens in a total of 20 countries took part in the EWWR. Website: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/ index.cfm?fuseaction=search.dspPage&n_proj_id=3317
The GHERL project demonstrated an innovative
technology for capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from landfill gas in a final stable and solid form. Solid waste disposal on land accounts for some 2.4% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions. The project developed a pilot plant to demonstrate the new technology. This consisted of a packed column in which an aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide (KOH) comes into contact with the CO2 contained in the landfill gas. The potassium hydroxide and carbon dioxide react, forming potassium carbonate (K2CO3), which can be recovered in solid form. This methodology was found to be efficient in capturing 96.7% of the CO2 present in the landfill gas, representing a reduction of 8-10% Nm3.
The project also carried out a comprehensive evaluation of the market potential of the process. This concluded that: • The application of the process does not require the development of special devices since most of the required components are fairly market standard. • The GHERL process can be used for any source of CO2, such as biogas from anaerobic digestion. • The technology could be used for the production and sale of K2CO3, a product that has applications in a number of sectors, including in the chemical industry. Substituting the new method for traditional means of producing K2CO3 will reduce the amount of methane needed as a primary fuel, while revenue for sales of K2CO3 could cover investment and running costs. Website: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/ index.cfm?fuseaction=search.dspPage&n_proj_id=2881
ALTERNATIVES TO LANDFILLING
CONWASTE demonstrated a methodology for
reducing the amount of primary materials needed to remediate former industrial landfill sites, by developing a means of reusing waste of low organic content instead. Central to this was the development of a soil remediation system, which consisted of two layers: a sealing layer and a cultivation layer. The aim of the project was to scale up successful lab tests of this system and demonstrate its effectiveness at industrial-scale. To this end, the beneficiary built a plant to convert contaminated soil into suitable mixtures for use at ex-landfills. The sealing layer is made of mineral material from soil remediation and debris from the concrete industry, industrial ashes and sewage sludge. This is treated using a process known as ‘diagnetic inertisation’, to lock in the pollutants. The cultivation layer is made of mineral materials from soil remediation, debris and sewage sludge. Benefits of the mixtures developed by CONWASTE include: • Avoiding pollutant migration thanks to the formation of minerals such as ettringite, which helps to fix heavy metals. • Ligation of atmospheric CO2 of approximately 0.25 t/t. • Very low hydraulic conductivity in the sealing layer, and high water storage capacity (about 20% volume) in the cultivation layer. • High organic content of the cultivation layer (good for cultivating energy crops).
Website: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/ index.cfm?fuseaction=home.createPage&s_ref=LIFE06%20 ENV/D/000488&area=2&yr=2006&n_proj_id=3093&cfid=13 6396&cftoken=cf08e43e2395bc26-9CFB8288-9935-7D83D78CB23BDE269874&mode=print&menu=false
Photo: LIFE07 ENV/RO/000686
Photo: LIFE06 ENV/D/000488
RESTORING LANDFILLS Photo: wikimedia.org
REDUCING GHG EMISSIONS Photo: LIFE07 INF/F/000185
RAISING PUBLIC AWARENESS
BALKWASTE addressed the low implementa-
tion of alternatives to landfilling in the Balkan Member States. This was done by promoting and implementing the EU strategy and policy on solid waste management and establishing cooperation and knowledge exchange among the Balkan Countries. The two most important actions implemented by the project were the development of a waste Decision Support System (DSS) for decision-makers and the establishment of a waste network for the Balkan Region. The DSS is software that assists decisionmakers by providing them with technical support and tailor-made solutions for developing integrated and efficient waste management plans. The Waste Balkan Network consists of a cooperation and knowledge transfer platform on waste management among the stakeholders of the four participating countries: Romania, Greece, Slovenia and Bulgaria. Today, the network involves more than 880 stakeholders, including public authorities, suppliers, universities, NGOs, service providers, landfill sites and waste treatment plants. This network also includes a monitoring platform that enables comparison of the performance and evolution of waste management in the participating nations. Other aspects of the project included an evaluation of the waste management status in the Balkan Region; identification of waste composition through laboratory analyses; and the development of a technical database comprising waste treatment technologies. Website: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/ index.cfm?fuseaction=search.dspPage&n_proj_id=3253
Environment Visit the LIFE website: www.ec.europa.eu/life