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Friday, 28 March 2014 15:00

Antonis Mavropoulos explores the trends and challenges of future waste management

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On Thursday, March 20, 2014 the official publication of the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) published an article written by Antonis Mavropoulos, Founder and CEO of D-Waste, about how waste management will look like in the future and which will be the trends and the challenges that global waste management community will need to face.

Even though predictions about future are very difficult, Mr. Mavropoulos mentions that both global population and GDP per capita are expected to increase significantly in the following years, a fact that will lead to increased volumes of waste and to more complex waste streams. In many cases new products become waste before a new appropriate system is set for their management. As a consequence, new challenges will emerge and current state of waste management must be seen in a different way.Landfil Ter

Situation is expected to be more difficult in the developing parts of the world where a billion people is estimated to be living in the worst social, food, water and hygienic conditions posing a permanent and increasing threat for the whole world. As a result, establishment of environmentally sound waste management systems is more than required.

With regard to recycling, Mr Mavropoulos mentioned that from 2000 to 2008, the European exports of plastic waste grew by 250%, reaching 2.27 million tonnes whereas approximately 5 million tonnes of waste are annually recycled in Europe. Around 87% of these exports are still going to China, including Hong Kong, without knowing in most cases how these huge loads of waste will be treated. In addition, between 1995 and 2007, the amount of non-hazardous waste exported to Asia increased tenfold for waste paper, eleven fold for plastics and fivefold for metals, with the main reason to be the high cost of treatment and incineration in most European countries compared to that of putting it - illegally - on a boat to China.

Increase of waste amounts and their complexity as well as financial constraints advocate the creation of thousands of new dumpsites all over the developing world. While seeking for global solutions it is evident that:

  • The development of advanced infrastructure is, and will be, expensive for many years for most of the countries that need it the most;
  • The required infrastructure, even when the financial resources are available, is delivered much slower than the rapid growth of waste generation;
  • Meanwhile, the current waste management systems are not capable of jumping from open dumps to high-tech systems.

So thinking globally, a massive development of new sanitary landfills is the only realistic and achievable option for a universal step forward and even this will be difficult in some cases.

To read the full article press here




Read 6545 times Last modified on Monday, 31 March 2014 18:25

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