"Turning Waste into Ideas" - ISWA/APESB World Congress 2009,

Every year ISWA’s Congresses constitute a highlight occasion for waste experts and professionals around the world. This year the Annual ISWA Congress will take place in Lisbon with the coorganisation of the Portuguese Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering (APESB). The Congress will take place between 12th to 15th October 2009, in Lisbon, at the Cultural Centre of Belém.

The beautiful and famous city, who has to offer great examples of innovation and progress through its historical paths, offers an excellent chance for inspiration and assessment, regarding current and future policies and technologies in waste management.

Besides the classic scientific sessions, the Congress activities will also include an Ibero-american symposium. The four days event will also host technical presentations, polished debates, facility tours, and social events.

For more information visit the conference site: http://www.iswa2009.org/homepage.aspx


How waste management industry can be involved with production and consumption patterns?

This is a contribution from Erik De Baedts, NVRD director. Thanks a lot Erik for this really inspiring post, I hope there will be some good replies. I am sure that the current discussion regarding green market and green development are inspiring you.

"In The Netherlands the economic crisis is -among other things- seen as an opportunity to give an impetus to more sustainable development. A financial impulse should be subject to conditions regarding sustainability.

To what extent can the waste industry itself give an impulse to sustainable ways of production and consumption?

Waste management companies, beit from a public or a private background, know which materials can be reused and which cannot. So in product chains they can get in touch with producers to indicate which materials to use and which not.

An example: at this point we see tea bags being introduced in plastics. Organic and non-organic materials together in the waste bin. Unnecessarily difficult and costly to manage. Not in any way a sustainable innovation at all.This is just an example from the daily household. However, in textiles, clothing, but also in electronics, and in many sectors, continuously choices about materials and design are being made throughout the industry.

So far, the waste management industry finds itself at the end of the pipelines in all these product chains. It just manages the outcome of choices earlier made by others. Does the waste industry see the opportunity to play a more active role?In fact, can ideas be turned into concrete trajectories? Are there opportunities to promote that waste management companies upscale their activities to become logistic and production companies that are providers of secondary resource?

Of course the use of secondary resources over primary resources is more beneficial to the natural resources we leave to our children and grandchildren. Waste management and recycling industry can be an important partner in such a perspective.

What conditions for production and consumption should be set at government level to promote such a development? Can projects be set in motion that show the dynamics and social responsibility that mark the waste industry?

I look forward to your ideas and inputs."

Global View of Waste Management is also available through Facebook

Yesterday I created a Facebook Group regarding the Global View of Waste Management blog. You can join it at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=72894372340&ref=mf#

The intention is to inspire a discussion regarding the most important waste management issues with a global interest and view and to find more contributors. Within the first day 32 friends have joined and Erik De Baedts, a good friend from Netherlands Solid Waste Association, has put a triggering issue for discussion:

To what extent can the waste industry itself give an impulse to sustainable ways of production and consumption?

See the whole idea of Erik in the next post.

Thanks a lot Erik for your contribution and welcome. I will be glad to host more triggering questions


Recycling and personal behaviour

As the movement towards recycling societies seems to be global, there is a need for a better understanding of success and failures factors for recycling activities. Big differences between recycling programs within a country, even within a city, highlight the importance of local conditions and appropriate design of recycling activities. But going further it is necessary to discuss about recycling and personal behavior.

The aim of the invited lecture that I am going to present in the Recycling Conference 5-7 May in Sao Paulo (for more information look at http://www.feirasnacipa.com.br/beacon/) is to outline the major issues and questions that are related with the failure and success of recycling programs in the framework of personal behavior. By that way, the waste management community would better design and take- care the recycling activities in order to make them more efficient and more oriented to results.

Firstly, major psychological barriers will be presented in the framework of behavioral psychology. Is there any kind of barrier to our brain for long-term results? Is there any structural problem to our personality that renders a more general recycling behavior?

The evolutionary emerging structure of human personality will be described and its impacts to decision-making. The importance of human temporal and spatial scale will be discussed as well. The importance of present-focus brain will be highlighted.

Then the difference between recycling in developed and developing countries will be emphasized in order to outline the different motivations that do exist to recycling. Those differences provide a useful tool to understand the “moral” against the “survival” recycling and drive to helpful remarks regarding informal sector recycling. The more recycling results that seem to be produced in low- income countries will be discussed and comments will be made regarding the income-related issues. The conclusions are:

1. Informal recycling is low cost and has poor working conditions, but in spite of this it is both efficient and effective, and recovers a lot of materials.
2. Formal recycling initiatives have a tendency to be high cost, inefficient, isolated, and to recover very small quantities of material.
3. Municipalities beginning with recycling would often be better advised to build on the activities of the existing private recycling sector – both informal and formal -- rather than to reinvent formal recycling themselves.

Finally, the already proposed frame of situational conditions – social and environmental values - personal attitudes will be discussed as a mean to understand the actual personal recycling performance.

Major finding regarding social- demographic characteristics and their link to recycling will be summarized. The link between life-style and recycling performance will be assessed through literature review and the effect of neighborhood will be presented. Specific social research outcomes will be presented and comments will be made regarding the correlations between different approaches and views to individual’s recycling performance. Why full recyclers are mainly retired and relatively rich? Why non recyclers are mainly “young without children – families with children – middle aged without children”? What is the role of architecture?
Property plays a role as well and type of flat (with or without terrace, space limit)

Conclusions will be addressed and special emphasis is going to be given to recycling barriers and problems that must be overlapped. The major conclusions are:

• The human personality provides a barrier for recycling due to species characteristic understanding of temporal scale. Our brain is too much present – focus in order to understand and act according long-term impacts. Information campaigns are not enough for change

• Recycling success is a different story in developed and developing countries. In developed countries it is linked with moral values and responsibility, where in developing countries it is usually linked with survival and daily income. Thus, recycling in developing countries should be faced as a major challenge for global achievements

• Recycling behavior is framed by situational conditions, social- environmental values and personal attitudes. The later determines the intention to recycle while the first the possibility to actually contribute

• Recycling activities should be carefully designed according local conditions and situation, taking into account social-demographic characteristics, architecture, finding the starting point and creating clusters

• For all those reasons there is not a global solution for successful recycling. Instead there is an ocean of bad or inappropriate solutions with some islands of successful ones


Brazilian Conference: SWM towards a (re)cyclical system, 5-7 of May Sao Paolo

Nowadays the waste management sector is facing several changes and challenges at a global level. The exchange of experiences and information is a task for everybody.
Because of that, ABRELPE, ISWA National Member in Brazil will hold an ISWA Beacon Conference in Sao Paulo, next may, with the theme “Waste Management towards a (re)cyclical system”.

With this theme, the Conference propose a discussion regarding the paths and solutions for a new waste management system, based on the implementation of an efficient cyclical system to return and recover recyclables, raw materials and energy.

The Conference program will show the most updated subjects on waste management issues towards the development of this sector at a local, regional and global levels.

More information at http://www.feirasnacipa.com.br/beacon/.