Environmental issues are more important than ever before, and it stands to reason that the processing and disposal of waste is a huge part of the debate. We’re regularly asked about new developments in the industry so we thought we’d just write a round-up. So, what is new in waste management?

Firstly there’s the announcement of 2016’s Energy from Waste conference (24-25 February, Royal College of Surgeons in London). The programme and speakers are still to be confirmed, but the date is set for two days of unrivalled networking, senior-level debate and long term strategising for the industry.

Elsewhere in the energy sector, the first round of Contract for Difference subsidies for renewable energy provision has concluded, with opinions divided over whether or not the process is the right fit for waste-fuelled generation projects. Since responsibility for waste lies with one government department (Defra) and responsibility for energy with another (DECC), it’s possible that energy from waste projects aren’t being acknowledged as providing a management service as well as an energy source.

Red tape and regulations

July saw the start of a governmental review of red tape in the waste management industry, which calls on businesses and individuals to describe the impact of regulations and enforcement procedures.

The goal is to eliminate barriers to growth in the industry, and to save British businesses a projected 10 billion. CIWM’s opinion poll, carried out alongside the review, showed that 64% of respondents believed enough was enough, and that regulations should be maintained. As it happens, the waste managers of the UK have been praised by the new DEFRA Minister for resource management, who acknowledges the progress we’ve made in meeting the current regulations and expectations.

Piling up:
The amount of waste we’re producing continues to rise.

Some regulations will have to be maintained, simply because the amount of waste we’re generating continues to rise. Waste needs to be managed at every level, from the national down to the domestic, and we need solutions that relieve the pressure on state bodies, which are burdened enough by illegal exports and new kinds of refuse.

The biological solution

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is one such solution – it’s the process which generates biogas from decomposing waste through the digestive processes of bacteria. The UK now has a whole nuclear power station?s worth of biogas generators, with two new biogas plants on the way in Bridgend and St. Albans.

The arguments for AD are many and varied, from the practical (the UK produces 90 million tonnes of animal slurry and manure a year, and we might as well use it for something) to the financial (the operational efficiency of using waste for power, the resale value of byproducts, the avoidance of fines and the government financial incentives).

Of course, the waste industry has been using bacteria to eliminate human waste for quite some time, with the bio-disc solution often deployed for household or small commercial properties.

Bio-disc units work by circulating air and bacteria through waste to eliminate pollutants: they’re basically a sewage treatment station small enough to fit in a domestic garden, serving four to four hundred people rather than fourteen thousand or so. They’re an off-the-grid solution for sites not connected to the public sewage system.

The local front

There’s good news from Wales, where domestic waste has been reduced by 14% in the last year, thanks to local government initiatives and ring-fenced public funding. On a similar note, Welsh Water is installing telemetry systems across Cardigan Bay to monitor rainfall (which tends to overload the public sewer system and cause the occasional eruption of diluted sewage) and outflow near bathing sites.

Rain, rain, go away:
Rainfall in Wales is now being monitored to avoid sewage issues.

We’ve already written about the benefits of telemetry for waste management, but it bears saying again. It’s far better to survey your situation remotely than to trudge from point to point or site to site, manually checking every last thing that needs to be measured.

The capacity for 24/7 monitoring is also useful – so useful, in fact, that it’s practically the standard in new sewage pumping stations. At the end of the day, it’s far better if your systems can warn you of impending crisis, instead of your first hint being the distinctive whiff of a backed-up drain or an overflowing tank that have already started doing damage.

Day to day

If you’ve been inspired to look at how you deal with domestic or business waste, your first step should be to seek specialist advice. We offer a consultation and installation service for telemetry systems and bio-disc treatment plants – check out our range and contact us today.