The increasing pressure on resources makes it clear that waste must be turned into a resource in a circular economy – an economy that only functions optimally if it includes recycling as well as energy recovery. By Michael Rothenborg
he figures speak for themselves. The UN projects global population growth of more than 2.5 billion by 2050, and other forecasts expect 3 billion more people to aspire to the standard of living enjoyed in Western economies. If these projections prove true, by 2050 we will have to extract triple the amount of resources annually extracted in 2000 – the consequence being extra pressure on land, water and energy usage. The OECD estimates that about one fifth of global material extraction becomes waste, and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) estimates that 70% of global waste is still disposed of in landfills. The OECD expects municipal solid waste to rise by 0.69% for every 1% increase in national income. Economic development produces more waste and taps into virgin materials – the Earth’s stock of natural resources. In 2016 Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) fell as early as August 8. The Global Footprint Network has designated the annual EOD as the day that human resource consumption exceeds the environment’s capacity to renew those resources in the same year. This drives home why experts are calling for a paradigm shift in how we consider resources and waste. Waste can no longer be waste – we have no choice but to make it a resource.
We will examine how waste-to-energy processes can be optimised. Julio Garcia Burgués EU Commission Head of the Waste Management & Recycling
Ramboll has been a consultant on KARA/NOVEREN’s waste-to-energy facility in Roskilde, Denmark.