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Europe leads the way in waste management

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    How big capitals recycle their waste within the walls and where Cyprus lags behind

    While in foreign countries waste is used as a raw material for energy production, in Cyprus most of the waste follows the burial route. According to the Commission's early warning report to the Cypriot authorities last June, our country is at risk of not achieving the goals of recycling 65% of packaging waste by 2025 and landfilling 10% of municipal waste by 2025. 2035.

    It is indicative that, according to data from the Statistical Service, of the amount of 469 thousand tons of waste that underwent final management in Cyprus in 2022, 77.5% ended up in landfills, 17.2% was forwarded for recycling, 3, 1% was used for energy recovery and only 2.2% was composted, despite the fact that Cyprus operates two integrated waste management facilities (IWMS) in Pentakomos and Kosii. The EU calls on Cyprus to take substantial measures to develop waste treatment infrastructure in order to end the current over-reliance on landfill, a practice that is considered outdated in several European countries, as, based on the circular economy model, waste they are now converted into raw material, with the relevant infrastructure actually located within the cities and not in remote communities, since they are entirely safe.

    Spittelau: Waste management and attraction in Vienna< /p>

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    2019 08 16 Müllverbrennung Spittelau Wien Energie_ 007_20190816_(c)Schedl_Spittelau.jpg

    One of the most well-known waste incineration plants is located in Vienna and indeed in the city center. This is Spittelau, whose produced pollutants are 90% below the maximum limits for waste incineration plants on an annual average. The Austrian capital's waste ends up there, where it is incinerated, producing thermal energy for more than 60,000 households and electricity that covers 50,000 homes. State-of-the-art systems clean the exhaust gases produced on site, before they are released from the chimney at a height of 126 meters.

    At the same time, Spittelau is one of the most important attractions of the city. Its colorful facade, golden ball on the chimney and green roof have made it one of the most popular places to visit in the city. It is worth noting that Vienna's domestic waste management system is considered the most developed and environmentally friendly in all of Europe, since only 25% of the total production is sent for incineration, while the remaining 75% is recycled and reused.

    Recycling and… skiing in Amager Bakke

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<p>Amager Bakke is one of the largest waste-to-energy plants in Northern Europe. It is located on the outskirts of Copenhagen and is owned by the waste management company Amager Ressourcecenter, which is owned by five of the city's municipalities. The plant has the capacity to process 400,000 tons of waste per year to generate electricity and heat for 150,000 homes in Copenhagen.</p>
<p>Amager Bakke has state-of-the-art exhaust gas cleaning technology, reducing 100,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. In addition, its systems allow the recovery of 100 million liters of water and the reuse of the ash resulting from the whole process as a raw material for road construction.</p>
<p>The plant is also known for its popular leisure facilities that features: An artificial ski slope that works on the roof and an artificial climbing wall, 80 meters high, which attract crowds of citizens and tourists every day.</p>
<p><strong>Example of waste management in Paris</strong></p>
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    Paris has three energy-generating waste management plants: Issy-les-Moulineaux, Saint-Ouen and Ivry-Paris XIII plants treat household waste not suitable for recycling, from 84 Municipalities, covering 50% of the grid's demand heating system of Paris.

    In addition, the production of these units covers 100% of the heating needs of the 21 hospitals of Paris, 20% of the city's residences and most of the Parisian monuments and museums, among which and the Louvre museum.

    The energy produced by these three units annually prevents the consumption of 300,000 tons of oil equivalent and the release of approximately 900,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. More generally, for Parisians, waste is a renewable source of energy, low in carbon – given that it replaces fossil fuels – and completely environmentally friendly, as the specific factories produce much lower pollutants than traditional factory units.

    An important part of the Circular Economy

    In the past, the principles of the Circular Economy were questioned as some materials could not be recycled/recovered. Until recently, non-recyclable products had to be either destroyed or disposed of in secure and long-term disposal areas. With the technological progress of recent years in the thermal treatment of waste, especially in the methods of incineration and pyrolysis, the way has now been wide open for the energy utilization of this specific category of waste.

    These secondary resources are now recycled and are a source of energy production, contributing at the same time to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Waste-to-energy is now imperative and encouraged by EU policies, as secondary resources are now being recovered that recycling cannot achieve, such as metals from municipal waste, non-metals from sewage sludge and soot, oil and old metals tires. As long as this process is carried out in the correct, appropriate way, then it can be an integral part of the initiatives for the adoption of the circular economy in Cyprus and above all for the successful implementation of an effective waste management policy, in which our country lags behind.< strong> 

    A unit under construction and in Cyprus

    In Cyprus, the circular economy is still at an early stage, operating sporadically with minimal waste-to-energy units, the impact of which is so far very small.

    A larger plant for the production of energy and raw materials from tire recycling is planned to operate in the Ypsona industrial area, contributing to the achievement of the goals set by the EU for the use of renewable energy without the time constraints of photovoltaics today. According to the environmental approval report received by the project, the oil extracted from the pyrolysis of waste tires and plastics will produce fuel and electricity with an installed capacity of 18.4 MW, while the steel and carbon contained in the tires.

    As for the gases that will be produced from the combustion of pyrolysis oil, they will pass through a urea treatment system to convert nitrogen oxides into molecular nitrogen, in order to reduce the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere.

    The design of the project is based on the principles of the Circular Economy and the overall environmental benefit of the project is expected to be significant, given that, based on the scientific assessments that have been submitted, the emissions that will result from the operation of the unit will be filtered and will be significantly smaller, compared to the environmental benefits that will result from the production of energy and the recycling of the recovered materials.

    Note. The photos come from the websites of the units.

    Source: cyprustimes.com

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