In Germany the transportation of municipal solid waste to the landfills and its further recycling without due preconditioning has been prohibited since 2005. Why do we need waste treatment, what are the civilized approaches to waste management and which successful waste treatment technologies would suit best to implement in Ukraine, - explains Andrey Grouschinskiy, the Head of Board of “Kyivspetstrans” company.
- There is no technology in the world to turn the waste (not similar to recyclables) into a resource or a raw material. Well, petroleum, as opposed to waste – it’s raw material. With petroleum, you spend the money to produce it, to buy and operate special equipment to get light and heavy fractions at the end (gas, diesel, oil etc.). These products cost more than the raw material, their production costs more as well. But waste is not similar to petroleum. It’s a totally another story with waste.
Waste has no value – all ripe for picking. However, to make something of it you’ll spend more money than any final post-treatment product would bring you.
Q: Why treating waste then?
А: The civilized approaches to waste management result in zero ecological risks in future - which is worth any money in the world.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) treatment is not similar to extracting/producing some highly marketable items. It’s rather transforming the potential source of environmental emergency and damage into inert remains.
Post treatment, the waste becomes safe for people health and the ecology. You burry MSW as it is – you always have to deal with some kind of risk.
Hence, the waste treatment process naturally has to be chargeable. But one of the tasks it solves is ensuring the environmental safety and annihilating adverse effects on people health.
Q: Which technologies available in the world could be implemented in Ukraine?
А: There is a whole lot of technologies. Particularly, the bio-mechanical technology that presumes waste segregation (organic vs. non-organic) and further waste burning under different technologies.
As of yet we are using the past centuries’ recycling technology: collect and transport, unload, bulldoze. This cycle does not include any MSW treatment which has long been practiced in Europe.
European countries have adhered to waste segregation and introduced waste treatment facilities refusing to ‘burry’ the non-segregated waste. Under the international standards non-organic waste shall be segregated from organic and further sub-graded as (non)flammable – all that prior to finally sealing and disposing of any waste.
Fractions suitable for further treatment as recyclables – PET bottle, non-ferrous metal, paper/cardboard – are being segregated for further use.
Organic waste can be transformed to biogas that can be used to generate electric energy. Using biogas allows to decrease contaminating CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.
Solid flammable waste is being shredded to produce/create alternative fuel potentially used at the heating energy facilities similar to “Energy” plant. The plant’s performance ratio will increase as well since the plant would be buying the pre-treated waste, no organic fractions messed into. And only the non-organic non-flammable waste is being disposed of. An important feature to note is that with this MSW treatment technology almost no leachate (a result of the organic waste degradation) is being formed.
Q: So many approaches indeed. How do we choose the ecologically safe solution?
A: Whether we keep disposing of our waste the way we used to do it (leaving the door open to people health risks and ecology risks) or we treat it in a way the civilized world does? The answer to this principal question is obvious: we need to harmonize our waste recycling system with international standards.
I reported at the shareholders’ meeting of “Kyivspetstrans” company on 23 July and proposed to create the modern waste treatment facility. They supported my initiative and we addressed the KCMA (Kyiv City Municipal Administration) with the relevant letter proposing to consider the option to build the municipal solid waste treatment facility.
Q: How long does it take to construct such a waste treatment facility and put it into operation?
A: It takes half a year to design the project, another year to complete the construction works and produce the special purpose equipment. Generally – the total of 2 years to start operation.
Q: For how long the MSW landfill No.5 be active?
A: Any landfill is a complicated technological unit. You can’t just shut it down. After the new waste stops coming in, you still need to to somehow keep dealing with the waste already at the landfill. Under the existing technology we have to recultivate the landfill’s first and second plots, co-drain all the lakes with leachate contents, decrease the leachate penetration to the landfill soils. You can’t just leave it all as it is. Completing those measures shall take not less than 2 years provided the necessary financing is available.
The matter of top importance is to start the waste treatment as soon as possible.
Q: Where shall the waste treatment facility be located?
A: The location shall be determined based on the technical requirements applicable to the new facility. The land designation shall also be duly regarded. It’s too early to discuss the location now. The most important is to contract the companies experienced in building and operating similar projects since that would be a highly technological facility.
The MSW landfill No.5 that hosts about 450 thsnd tons of waste annually has to be recultivated and shut down. The capacities of the new municipal solid waste treatment facility should equal (or exceed) 450 thsnd tons per year.