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Posted by: Bear May 5 2018, 06:52 PM
Waste crisis: Australia isn't recycling, we're 'just collecting'

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A truck dumps cardboard for recycling at Re Group's Hume facility. ABC News: Matthew Roberts

By Nick Miller5 May 2018

“If you collect rubbish and ship it to China that’s not recycling, that’s just collecting.”

Dr Karl Williams, head of the centre for waste and resource management at the University of Central Lancashire, says he’s looked at a lot of rubbish in his career.

And though Europe is going through its own crisis at the moment, like Australia, he suspects that the difference between the two territories is that Europe has a better class of trash.

On January 1, China imposed a ban on the importation of lower-grade waste such as plastic scraps or mixed, unsorted paper. The ban hit Australia hard, with companies walking away from waste collection contracts, and recycling being stockpiled by councils who could not find anywhere to send it.

Europe has not escaped either. The European Union champions the “circular economy” and likes to boast that its energy and resources are carefully reused and recycled. But the circle is far from complete. Only 40 per cent of the continent’s waste is reused or recycled, and it sends millions of tonnes of paper and plastics overseas. In 2016, of the 8.4 million tonnes of plastic waste the EU collected, almost one-fifth ended up in China.

When China imposed new limits on foreign waste imports at the beginning of the year, the system clogged up. Pascal Gennevieve, head of paper at French recycler Federec, told Politico in February that, “Right after the Christmas peak we had a lot of paper and no export solution. All European plants are full, saturated.”

There was a scramble across the continent, Dr Williams says.

“It had an impact. [Recycling] companies initially looked at whether they could just ship [the waste] somewhere else. As with any company, if you lose a part of your market you need to find another buyer quickly," he says. “But a lot of companies are using it as an opportunity to adapt.”

Dr Williams can see two big differences between Europe and Australia. Firstly, Europe has invested heavily in both the quantity and quality of processing plants, where waste is turned into new products. And secondly it does better at separating waste, so its recycling product is “high grade”, which is more popular with domestic and international buyers.

He’s the first to admit the system isn’t perfect. Waste collection in Britain is down to local authorities, and there’s no central guidance from government apart from vague instructions to make sure they recycle. Dr Williams lives in one council district and works in another, and the two have entirely different waste collection systems – different-coloured bins, different instructions on what goes where. It confuses people.

“At the moment we don’t really have a high recycling rate [in Britain],” Dr Williams says. “But we do have capacity [to process it].

But Rome is also an example of how the system does work: a 2017 crisis was eased via a deal where Rome sent 70,000 tonnes of household refuse almost 1000 kilometres north by train, where it was incinerated into gas that powered turbines that supplied electricity to 170,000 homes in Lower Austria.

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This is a big problem, not just for Australia, but for the World - recently synthetic polymers (found in hair care products) have been found in Antarctic Plankton.

Another recent study has found that Antarctic Krill can turn microplastics into nanoplastics, Krill make up the diet of numerous sealife - fish, squid, penguins, seals, whales, and other seabirds.

Eating fish is a health risk, caused by Humans - what the hell is wrong with us.

Instead of wasting billions being 'show ponies' around the planet how about we invest in some intelligence - it doesn't come cheap but once installed it sure is better than dumping tons of waste in big holes around the county - or in the sea!


Plasma Waste Converter.

Municipal solid waste is considered a renewable resource, because its production in our society is continuous. Plasma Waste Conversion (PWC) is a unique technology utilizing this waste stream with a broad range of positive impacts to our economy and environment.

Eliminates the need for land fills, freeing up additional space for other purposes.

Provides a means to potentially mine old land fills, which eliminates the leaching and other contamination issues associated with land fills; including the resultant methane production which is a significant green house contributor.

PWC is the ultimate in recycling since all organics are turned into energy and all metals and in-organics are fed back into the economy without the need for sorting or separate handling.

PWC provides distributed generation capacity. As a result, restructuring the National Power Grid to distribute the power would not be a part of the cost equation.

If utilized nationally PWC would provide about 70 Gigawatts of distributed generation.
This distributed power will fuel economic growth, help maintain cheap electricity, and reduce demand on natural gas.

Provides a significant decrease in Green House gases.

Capital and Installation Costs.

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Posted by: scepo May 6 2018, 11:07 AM
The fact that we have become a throw away society does not help. Not much is made to last these days, or to be repaired, just throw it out and buy a new one is the go.

Plus the fact that technology advances so quickly and our spoilt society always want to upgrade to the latest and (arguably) greatest gizmo.

But we will pay a high price for this.

Posted by: Charles May 6 2018, 11:11 AM
The amount of rubbish produced by each household every week is amazing.

I can remember a time when one smallish metal bin sufficed for each household. Food scraps and were composted, plastic products were rare and little was thrown away in case it could be repaired.

Posted by: Bear May 9 2018, 04:15 PM
From the 700,000 tonnes of recycle that is produced by Tasmanians each year about a 1/3 of it goes to landfill - items like dirty nappies is all it takes to reject a truck load of recyclables, for those who do the right thing (wash out bottles etc) the time and effort is wasted just because of a few lazy sods who treat their recycle bins as a 'rubbish'bins.

Indonesian ecobricks: A new approach in its plastics 'war'

6 hours ago

Indonesia has a problem with plastic. Like many developing countries, its rivers and canals are clogged with dense masses of bottles, bags and other plastic packaging.
The army was even called in to help clean-up.
The boss of an Indonesian food factory is fighting back in his own way, with "Ecobricks".

This creative solution encourages people to stuff 'soft' plastic into bottles, which can then be used as stools, chairs, and even walls.

Record levels of plastic discovered in Arctic sea ice.

25 Apr 2018

Samples taken from five locations found concentrations of more than 12,000 microplastic particles per litre of sea ice.

Scientists have found a record amount of plastic trapped in Arctic sea ice, raising concern about the impact on marine life and human health.

Up to 12,000 pieces of microplastic particles were found per litre of sea ice in core samples taken from five regions on trips to the Arctic Ocean – as many as three times higher than levels in previous studies.

From sea to plate: how plastic got into our fish.

Eight million tonnes of waste plastic ends up in the sea each year. Fish eat it - and then we do. How bad is it for us?

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Waste plastics near Dakar … by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Wed 15 Feb 2017

It’s enough to make you cry over your moules frites. Scientists at Ghent University in Belgium recently calculated that shellfish lovers are eating up to 11,000 plastic fragments in their seafood each year. We absorb fewer than 1%, but they will still accumulate in the body over time. The findings affect all Europeans, but, as the most voracious consumers of mussels, the Belgians were deemed to be most exposed. Britons should sympathise – last August, the results of a study by Plymouth University caused a stir when it was reported that plastic was found in a third of UK-caught fish, including cod, haddock, mackerel and shellfish. Now, UK supermarkets are being lobbied to create plastic-free aisles by the campaign group A Plastic Planet, as a feature-length documentary, A Plastic Ocean, is released in Britain this week.

We are finally paying attention to the pollution that has plagued our seas for years – the government is considering a refundable deposit on plastic bottles, and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson recently switched from plastic to paper stems on its cotton buds. Evidently, there’s nothing like serving plastic up on a dinner plate to focus the mind.

Posted by: charka May 9 2018, 04:23 PM
Could we donate it as aid the get everything else not nailed down

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