D-waste is here - Join us

Dear friends and colleagues

I am really happy to inform you that something I was dreaming and planning for almost two years, something that I have shared with a lot of you as an idea, it has finally been realized.

D-waste is here and you can see it at www.d-waste.com. D-waste is a global initiative that aims to make waste management easily available, with just one click, to everyone.  D-waste is an effort to upgrade waste management in the global agenda and increase the awareness about it. This is why our moto is “Waste Management for everyone” (please read the relevant report).

 And when we say everyone, we mean it. This is why D-waste will sponsor eight (8) scientists from developing countries to attend the ISWA 2012 World Solid Waste Congress. You have just to fulfill the application available in the web-site– the beneficiaries will be announced until the end of June.

D-waste is a call for action in order to create a global interactive network of waste management experts that will circulate know-how in all different formats. It is a dream, to create a massive collaboration through the Web which will be capable to overlap the barriers for sound waste management, especially to the countries that suffer more.

Visit the web-site and you will understand more about D-waste.

You can download reports and presentations (some for free, others for a price). You can have applications for your mobile phones (currently for the Android market but very soon for the i-phone market too). You can play with our inforgraphics (remember you need double click). You can ask for specific services, including project support, mentoring and helpdesk.

But most importantly you can Ask or Publish whatever you require or whatever you have to offer. And if you like the idea and the concept, please Join us, as an expert, as an author or as a blogger, we are looking for partners worldwide.

I am waiting for your feedback - I am sure that we have a lot to share - and soon, D-waste will have some surprises…For free and for everyone.

Join us at this new but promising adventure - after all D-waste is a very interesting experiment.

It is an experiment that aims to prove that the meaning of sustainability must be reconsidered, for both the world and the enterprises. Let’s D-waste…  


Let's speak about Waste To Energy...

Since I joined ISWA, almost 13 years ago, one of the best things that ISWA offered me is the opportunity to meet some guys like the one who is interviewed today, Mr. Hakan Rylander, CEO of the SYSAV Company Group. I would say that SYSAV is a role model company in WtE so I consider a visit to its web-site (www.sysav.se) as a very intersting one.

Hakan is my good friend and one of the guys that I really admire - sometimes I wish to become like him when I grow up and become more mature. For the time being I appreciate both his straight forward way as well as the fact that he is the type of "better do it than say it". As for his know-how, he is one of the most experienced WtE engineers I know, involved in all different phases and aspects of a WtE facility. 

 Besides being ISWA's president between 1996-98, Hakan has held many other key-positions e.g. Chairman of the ISWA WtE Working Group, Swedish Representative in the Nordic Association of Waste ManagementChairman of the Scania Society of EngineersCurrently Hakan is also running the R&D Committee of Avfall Sverige. So here comes his interview, I am sure you will enjoy it. Hakan, thanks a lot for your thoughtful answers...

 “Hakan, you are working for 40 years in the waste management industry and you have passed from several crucial positions, including your ISWA presidency few years ago. So I would say that for me and   my readers this a perfect opportunity to utilize your broad experience and address some key-issues that are discussed worldwide. So let's start with your operational experiences running one of the best incinerators in Europe. What were the most difficult problems you faced?

I have actually been running two large waste-to-energy plants, one in Gothenburg between 1993-96 and now the large one here at Sysav in Malmö.  Both plants are working in an excellent way, where we in both cases focused on a “conservative” concept, with a well established and proven technology, with steam figures of 400 degrees centigrade and 40 bars to minimize the risk for corrosion. Let us focus on the Sysav-plant, which I know the best today. When building the two new furnaces we put a lot of effort and time on the specification of requirements to be fulfilled by the suppliers, with a high accessibility, a high reliability and a plant easy to maintain. We also looked for the best and reliable flue gas cleaning system to be able to meet with all emission directives on a European and National level with a very good and safe margin in order to avoid all anxiety from the public and the neighbours of the plant. And of course, to an acceptable and low price. The big challenge was to "marry" the three big suppliers of boiler, flue gas cleaning and turboset so the deliveries fitted in time to each other and so we could handle the strong wind of southern Sweden when doing the high-raised installations.I think we managed very well in our efforts.

We have permission to incinerate 550 000 tons annually and during the last years we have been incinerating around 549 000 tons annually, we don´t cool off any heat at all. All produced energy is utilized as heat and electricity. The maintenance works as planned, taking place in the summer time when there is a low demand for heat. The emissions are far below the permitted levels. The big challenge when constructing and buying the new furnaces was to get an efficient, reliable plant to an acceptable price and we managed. Our gate fee is very competitive.

We didn´t have any problems with the public opinion when building the two last furnaces. The big problems came up already in 1973 when building the first two furnaces. There had never been any waste-to-energy plants in the Malmö-region before that and the plans and the building of a waste incineration plant caused a lot of objections and discussions from the public, NGOs and neighbours. Finally, Sysav got the permission and after that we have not had any problems. That is due to the very good results we have achieved in producing and delivering heat to the district heating system of Malmö and the very low emissions from the plant. When asking for permission for the two new furnaces we had an excellent reference in the two old ones. We have also all the time been very open in our information about the operation and the results we have achieved. We also invite people to visit our plant to see what actually happens and take place in a waste-to-energy plant.

To be successful when working with the public opinion I am completely convinced that you have to have an early, very honest and open dialogue with them. Don´t try to “hide” anything. Invite them to participate in the process and keep them informed. Present good references.

So what is the role of an incinerator in an integrated waste management system? Is it in competition with recycling or no?

Sysav WtE Plant
The answer is very easy to be given. There is no competition at all between recycling of materials and waste-to-energy, on the contrary the two methods complement each other.
The waste problem can´t be solved by using one method, you have to use them all – reuse, recycling, biological treatment, waste-to-energy and landfilling – in accordance with the EU Hierarchy.
Within Sysav we are working with all these methods. Last year we received 903 000 tons of different kinds of waste, 98% were recycled as materials and energy, only 2% was landfilled (22 000 tons). Less than 1% of the household waste was landfilled. We have by working in this way prolonging the remaining life time of our landfills with about 30 years. I have very strongly during the years believed that this is the correct way of dealing with waste as long as it exists, and I think the Sysav-results proof that it is a successful way.

Is incineration applicable to developing countries? Which are the conditions for a success?

Incineration should not be the first option in developing countries. It must start with a well managed landfill with methane gas recovery, material recycling with source separation and biological treatment of food waste with production of biogas and a bio-fertilizer. Such a concept would be the best for the environment and for the climate. With the present technolgy within waste incineration a lot of heat has to be cooled off in developing countries. You can of course produce electricity with higher effiecency in comparison with recovering heat as well as electricity as we do in the Nordic countries, but still a lot of heat is cooled away. The situation will improve significantly if you have a neighbouring industry or any other big activity/business with a demand for steam or heat.

Technically speaking, what can we expect from the technology in terms of improvements?

The big technical challenges with the present technology are today three and where we will improve:

- to reduce and minimize the amount of bottom ash. After the waste-to-energy process there still is about 20% of bottom ash as a residue. That means that there still is too much of unburnable waste coming to the waste-to-energy plants. We have to significantly reduce that amount to be more efficient in recovering energy and minimize the environmental problems of the residues.

- to develop a safe and environmentally correct way of final handling of the flue gas cleaning residues and to recover as much as technical and economically possible of the metal content in these residues and in the bottom ash

- to increase the electrical efficiency in the waste-to-energy plants. With high prices for electricity the power production should increase. Based upon some successful cases from some new European waste-to-energy plants. I would not hesitate to increase the steam figures above 400 degrees and 40 bars when building a new plant.

Last but not least, in a recent discussion I heard, probably for the 100th time in last two years, that incineration is dead and that gasification and plasma pyrolysis will soon substitute all incineration plants. What is the current status of those technologies? Are they applicable for Mixed MSW? Are there commercial applications and operational experiences? After all,  is it something we can trust?
6.      A lot of people say they are promising and they are more environmental friendly than incineration...

Sysav WtE Plant 
Well, I guess I have heard the same thing at least as many times as you Antonis. 

I remember when I joined the business in the 1970-ies that there was a big belief that gasification, pyrolysis and the plasma technology would be the “salvation” of the waste problem. A number of companies introduced gasification and pyrolysis technologies, just slightly different from each other. All the different methods had worked in a very good way when testing them in a small scale, feeding the reactors with a small, very well prepared amount of waste each time. The problems came when scaling up the technology. 

A number of plants were built in Europe and a number of efforts were done to successfully scale up the technology. However, it didn´t work anywhere unless you had a very very homogenous input of fuel to the reactors. Waste is not a homogenous fuel. It has so far turned out to be too heterogenous to be able to treat in a gasification or pyrolysis process, irrespective of how you pre-treat the waste. It is absolutely not applicable for mixed MSW with today's technology. Another very negative factor is that the energy balance very often has turned out to be negative.

It would, from an environmentally point of view, be an excellent method if it worked, with low emissions and with a very small and environmentally safe residue, but unfortunately the situation today and the experiences are the same today as almost 40 years ago, even if there have been and still are efforts to introduce gasification and pyrolysis on the market.

When planning for the two new furnaces in the Sysav-plant there were proposals and some efforts that we should change from conventional grate incineration to gasification. I said absolutely “No”, but to be fair to those who believed that gasification was the best technology we decided to carry out a study and a comparison between the two technologies. The answer was very clear: gasification would result in a negative energy balance. I am happy to say that we made the right decision, our results and experiences from the grate technology gives the answer.

I absolutely don´t want to be negative, it would be fantastic if the gasification and pyrolysis technology will develop in such a way that you can use it for MSW , with a clear positive energy balance and working in a safe way for those working at the plant.

I remember when I as a young person in the waste business, full of belief in new methods and technologies, in the middle 1970-ies participated in a very good conference in Antwerp about waste management. There was a whole session about gasification and pyrolysis and I was full of enthusiasm, expecting a lot from the different presentations. On the way in to the conference room I walked beside an older gentleman and colleague from Germany. I told him about my expectations and he looked very friendly upon me telling me that he had started to work with R&D within waste management already in 1922 at the Batelle Institute in Frankfurt, and the task was to gasify/pyrolyse waste in a better way than could be done in a waste incineration plant. He told me that they without any success had been trying to do so and that he still had very little faith gasification/pyrolysis could be developed and turn out to be a successful technology for waste. 

I was of course very disappointed to hear this, but still believed it was the technology for the future handling of waste. The bad experiences coming up very soon after that conference and all the failures and unsuccessful efforts since then has made me very skeptical.

Unfortunately, I believe there is a long way still to go, but we shouldn´t give up our efforts."


Coming back from Haiti

Sometimes photos say as much as thousands words. Here are some photos form Port Au Prince, the capital of Haiti. I uploaded not the worst as I saw in Port Au Prince and not the best of course.
As IDB colleagues told me, a lot of the disaster waste has been removed and the situation in collection of waste and cleaning - beautification of the city has been recently improved.
However, despite recent imrpovements, the situation remains very risky for the public health and it seems that there is no easy way out, due to several political, insitutional and of course  economic - financial barriers.

 The conditions I met in Port Au Prince, an urban complex of more or less 2,5 million people, are probably better that the rest of the country, while some other cities like Cap-Haitien and Gonaives are facing much more serious waste collection and disposal problems.

Scavenging, as it is obvious at the photos, is an activtity for thousands people in Port of Prince, not only around the landfill but also in many small and bigger waste disposal points within and around the city.

 However, plastic bottles are almost 100% recycled, due to a local industrial firm which has developed a relevant technology.

The same is true for the plastics and metal pieces that are found within the debris waste. It is supposed that within next 6-10 months all the debris waste will have been removed, although the standards for their current disposal are not always suitable. Soon I will have more information about it.
Last but not least, it seems that the main problem related waste management is a cohesive strategic approach that will unify all the involved parties (goverments, donors, banks, NGOs etc.). Although IDB has started a valuable project to rearrange waste collection, provide institutional development and radically imporved waste disposal with a new sanitary landfill, several local conflicts and controversial strategies create at least barriers and serious delays.

Next days I will write more details about the Troutier dumpsite and the informal sector there. Until then, I ask everyone to think more about it. Can we do something for Haiti? Can we support a waste management change? And how this could be done? 


Going to Haiti

On my way to Haiti, changing one airplane after another, I was obliged to stop thinking my usual activities and focus to a usually forgotten reality.

According Wikipedia, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimate of US$6.56 billion in 2009, Haiti is routinely regarded as one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere. Based on estimates by the World Bank in 2005, the percentage of people living below the US$1 per day poverty line in Haiti is 54%, and the percentage of people living below US$2 per day is at 78%!

Trying to understand the situation in the country, I discovered that it has the world’s lowest electricity coverage, just a little bit above 12%! And the high Infant Mortality Rate of 64 deaths per 1000 live births is a result of the poor healthcare system, and the lack of a well-planned education system is the cause of low literacy rates (45%) in the country.
And regarding waste management, the situation is maybe even worst. The current waste management system includes collection of maximum 35% of waste generated. The rest is left in the streets where it is usually burned.
In Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital and major urban centre, the inefficiency of the solid waste management system represents a critical risk to public health. The current solid waste management system has never been fully integrated into the metropolitan public services system; instead, it is characterized by a high level of institutional instability, poor governance, limited human and financial capacity, and improper solid waste-disposal practices by urban communities. Moreover, the 7.3 earthquake that shook the capital city on January 12 of 2010 and destroyed over a quarter million homes and businesses has further compromised an already strained formal and informal waste management sector. And of course it left more or less 20.000.000 tons of debris waste that are still waiting to be managed.
Well, going to Haiti, just before my airplane will be landing, I realize once more that what is called Poverty Trap is very real and very strong and it concerns more or less 50% of the planet’s population.
I am also feeling deeply in my heart that the Poverty Trap and the Environmental Degradation (what a nice scientific phrase we use to describe the daily misery of living within any kind of waste, without access to clean water and elementary sanitation rules) will never be separated. As long as the Trap exists, it is further reinforced by Environmental Degradation and vice-versa.
But there is something more. Does anyone from the western world thinks or speaks about the situation in Haiti today? Does any NGO campaign for it? Or the countries trapped at the Poverty Trap simply do not provide business opportunities, not even for NGOs, so there is no reason to campaign about them?
I am thinking much more but I will write them after some days, as soon as I will have finished my trip to Haiti and I will have a much better idea about it.
Until then, please do not forget that if we leave Haiti alone, it will never be able to escape the Trap.  


ORBIT Conference 2012: Global assessment for organic resources and waste management

Texte alternatif 3 

This is a contibution by Anne Trémier, a colleague I met during the Summer School on Biological and Thermal Treatment of Municipal Solid Waste, in Napoli, Italy, 2-6 May 2011 (see http://www.iat.unina.it/summerschool/home.html). Anne is a researcher at IRSTEA (see http://www.irstea.fr/en/home-page ) and one of the organizers of the upcoming ORBIT 2012 Conference which is dedicated to "Global assessment for organic resources and waste management: Assessment of technologies for optimal organics management processes and enlightened environmental policies". 

I am sure it will be one more succesful ORBIT conference and I will be there to join ORBIT's efforts. Here is what Anne wrote:

"During the last years, a big strength has been put on organic resources recovery in order to achieve our aspiration towards a "Recycling Society" and climate stabilisation. Energy, nutrients and organic matter needs have thus driven sustainable management of resources and wastes and promoted new technological developments. In this context, biological processing of organic wastes and the use of natural resources to recover nutrients as phosphorus, to produce soil improvers and to supply energy is of great interest. 

However rules on the management of organic resources waste are fragmented and the current legislation in Europe might be not sufficient to achieve the stated objectives of its effective management. Moreover there is an open question on the tools that can be used to assess the efficiency of organic resources and waste management systems and lead to the adequate processes selection. Especially the increasing use of Life Cycle Assessment tools has to be carefully addressed with a special focus on the considered indicators and the local applicability of the results.
Following the ORBIT conferences tradition, ORBIT2012 will deal with all aspects of organic resources and waste management with a special focus on the assessment of technologies with environmental, social and economical point of view. A large place will be given to climate change, waste management assessment and decision tools. Traditional themes as energy recovery (Biofuels, biogas, hydrogen production), biological treatments (composting and anaerobic digestion) and also mechanical biological treatment still remain central issues that have to be discussed in order to improve technologies and product quality, especially for land application. 
More local management systems such as home and community composting will also be discussed as they may represent solutions that have to be considered in an integrated organic waste management plan. Special emphasis will also be laid on EU policies and strategies for sustainable organic waste management. The conference will present high quality and innovative research in all the aforementioned topics and will include oral presentations (about 180), poster presentations (about 50) and a specific workshop: “From Waste to Product – Sustainable Management of Organic Resources in Europe » .
We will be pleased to welcome you to the next ORBIT in June 12th – 15th 2012 in Rennes, France ( www.orbit2012.fr )". 


Jet fuels derived from waste resources: a new alternative!

This is an interview with my colleague and good friend Jeff Cooper, ISWA's president. I know Jeff for many years and I always like his scientific approach to resources and waste management as well as his broad understanding of the different waste management aspects.

His involvement in a project where waste resources are going to be trasnformed to jet fuel really triggered me  and I thought that interviewing him about that project would make us certainly wiser. So here comes his interview, I hope you will enjoy it as I did.

 Jeff, I think you are the only one I know involved in airplane biofuel production utilizing waste resources. It sounds exciting and I would like you to give us an idea about it. Let us know about the project you already work on.

Antonis, you are right, in that there very few people from the waste sector dealing with the issue of the development of jet fuel from residual waste sources, ie after the most immediately recyclable items in the municipal, and the C&I waste streams have been extracted.

In 2009 after two years of preliminary discussions the USA-based company Solena Group/Solena Fuels offered to join forces with British Airways (BA) in order to evaluate the possibility of developing a plant to produce liquid bio-jet fuels for BA from a range of feedstock sources ( www.solenagroup.com ).

The plant to be developed in Tilbury, Essex is a 500-560,000 tpa biomass processing facility – ideally using high carbon materials - in order to convert them into liquid bio-jet fuel. This would allow BA to substitute a small proportion of its fossil fuels used for its aircraft with a renewable and more sustainable energy source.

The plant proposed would use a combination of new technology, a plasma arc gasification unit and an old established chemical processing system, the Fischer-Tropsch process.  The syngas (synthetic gas), or Bio-SynGas in this case, generated by the plasma arc would be converted to a liquid fuel.  A further advantage of this bio-jet fuel is that it has better combustion properties and lower pollution potential than its fossil fuel alternative when it is used in jet engines.

The plasma arc system has been proposed for several years as a potential alternative energy recovery option for waste processing.  Until recently with lack of support and limited success its development and use has not been regarded as viable.  As with other alternative systems, such as several microwave, sterilisation and autoclave-based plants developed in the UK and overseas, there has been huge scepticism, especially regarding the energy balance of the whole process. 

The main question for the plasma arc process was, could the total input of energy to reach the high temperatures required by a plasma arc, around 4,000-5,000oC, be generated internally by processing waste, let alone generate a surplus of energy?  If a surplus were to be generated could it be used as heat, electricity or, in the case of the Solena/BA project, manufacture a liquid bio-jet fuel? 

The advantage of plasma technology over more conventional gasification technologies is that 20-50% more of the carbon-based waste materials are broken down to ensure gasification of even the most intransigent carbon components. The gasification process releases a range of gaseous products but mainly carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

The Fischer-Tropsch process on the other hand is a long-standing technology originally developed by two German scientists in the 1920s.  Subsequently this process was used by the Germans during WWII to convert some of their coal resources to liquid fuels. The technology was further developed by SASOL, the South African energy company, which ensured that South Africa could utilise its vast soft coal resources for conversion to liquid fuels to withstand international oil embargoes in the 1970s and 1980s.   Even now the SASOL plant is in full production and produces jet fuel that is used by aircraft at Johannesburg airport.

In 2009 Solena started construction of their first commercial scale bio-fuel plant for liquid bio-fuel at Gilroy, California.  This plant is similar in size but the technology is different to the plant being proposed for the UK.  No plasma technology is involved and the fuel generated will be utilised by road vehicles.

The advantage of the Solena plasma arc process is that it uses a metallic catalyst in order to spread the heat impact of the plasma arcs used in the gasification units to a greater processing area and thus convert more of the carbon based wastes to gases.  Solena claims that only 5% of the energy content of the waste is required to gasify the waste in its latest processing system, thus leaving the energy surplus for a wide range of processes.  The types of feedstock which can be processed can include a wide range of wastes left after initial recycling of municipal, commercial and industrial waste streams, such as contaminated paper and plastics, multi-layered and other plastics which cannot be recycled, tyre chips, food waste, crop and forestry residues. 

The proposed Solena plasma arc system provides several productive outputs from the process: heat, electricity as well as the syngas, which can then be utilised to produce a liquid bio-fuel source.  The 500,000 tpa plant can provide sufficient energy to process waste into renewable liquid bio-fuel energy resources but also yields 20MW of electrical power, in addition to that required to operate the plant, plus surplus heat energy that could be used for industrial process heat or perhaps district heating. 

At full production the process should yield 1170 barrels a day of BioJetFuel and 630 blls day of bio-naphtha, which can also be used as a constituent of liquid fuel or as a chemical source.   Even the small amounts of final residue from the process can be readily utilised as a construction product because the high temperature used in the plasma arc system yields an inert glass-like solid material, which also has the advantage of locking in within the vitrified matrix any non-organic contaminants in the waste. 

For BA this project provides a substantial opportunity to reduce its carbon footprint.  Fuel usage generates 99% of its carbon footprint, a total of 17,583.853 tonnes CO2eq in 2008 from all BA’s operations, and therefore its main environmental impact. Unless BA were to address the future sources of its fuel consumption then anything else would be largely irrelevant. 

What is the concept behind it? I mean why British Airways is interested to invest in such a project and from the other side, why such a project is important for the waste management industry?

For BA (British Airways) – now part of the International Airlines Group (AIG) they needed to show positive support for to the IATA commitment to have 50% of renewable fuel sources for the airline sector by 2050.  At Board level therefore BA has therefore guaranteed to ensure that they will purchase the fuel for a lengthy period into the future for a minimum price.  This is something that the US military have not done despite President Obama’s commitment to the same target for their fuels but within a shorter timescale of 2015, “we’ve always worked on annual contracts and will continue to do so”.

For the waste management industry worldwide this project demonstrates that there is a further option within the portfolio of products that we can be producing in the future – we already have various EfW options but this is a product stream which has little other alternative except in specialist short/medium haul applications.    

Speaking about the technologies, I wonder if we are speaking for proven and commercial technologies? I would also like to know what types of waste are suitable and if such a technological approach could provide solutions in a city scale?

 The plasma arc system has been proposed for several years as a potential alternative energy recovery option for waste processing.  Until recently, with lack of support and limited success its development and use has not been regarded as viable.  As with other alternative systems, such as several microwave, sterilisation and autoclave-based plants developed in the UK and overseas, there has been huge scepticism, especially regarding the energy balance of the whole process. 

The main question for the plasma arc process was, could the total input of energy to reach the high temperatures required by a plasma arc, around 4,000-5,000oC, be generated internally by processing waste, let alone generate a surplus of energy?  If a surplus were to be generated could it be used as heat, electricity or, in the case of the Solena/BA project, manufacture a liquid bio-jet fuel? 

The advantage of plasma technology over more conventional gasification technologies is that 20-50% more of the carbon-based waste materials are broken down to ensure gasification of even the most intransigent carbon components. The gasification process releases a range of gaseous products but mainly carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

The Fischer-Tropsch process on the other hand is a long-standing technology originally developed by two German scientists in the 1920s.  Subsequently this process was used by the Germans during WWII to convert some of their coal resources to liquid fuels. The technology was further developed by SASOL, the South African energy company, which ensured that South Africa could utilise its vast soft coal resources for conversion to liquid fuels to withstand international oil embargoes in the 1970s and 1980s.   Even now the SASOL plant is in full production and produces jet fuel that is used by aircraft at Johannesburg airport.

According your knowledge, when it will be the date when such a solution will become really available? And give us an idea for its costs, related to other options.

This is a difficult question but we envisage the GreenSky project, as the British project is now called, being fully operational in 2015. 
As for the costs again it is difficult because each country will have its own constraints and incentives.  In the UK we have a landfill tax that is currently £56 per tonne but from April this year will be £64 per tonne so the provision of even well processed residual waste should cost the plant nothing – a gate fee would be negotiated against a quality specification from the suppliers as they will be saving huge amounts of money through diverting waste from landfill.  Nevertheless, if there are suitably large quantities of residual waste available the opportunity to establish a bio-jet fuel facility becomes increasingly attractive.    

 Last but not least, I would like to have your personal opinion regarding the future of waste to energy technologies. Can we hope to pyrolysis and gasification or their commercial application is too far? Biofuel production is an alternative or a supplementary solution? And how about H2 production from waste?

My personal opinion I’ve expressed in answer to Q1&2 but I’ve been looking at the whole range of new technologies over the past few years of my 30-year career in waste management.  I am a resource scientist by training and the shift to increasing resource cost extraction of both renewable and non-renewable resources occurred about 12-14 years ago compared to a reducing trend before that, as I’d always proposed when dealing with the issues of resource economics in the 1970s as an academic.  Before that time technological and other developments could provide resources at increasingly lower resource (and possibly environmental) cost.  Now we need more resources into order to extract resources and therefore we are in a spiral of decline which makes the financial crisis look like a party.  However, the two are inextricably linked – but perhaps that is outside the scope of this feature.

As for H2 production and use, this would be possible and indeed is often suggested for a variety of applications, particularly: for storage of the energy, use in fuel cells and within the road transport sector.  I would support these opportunities being exploited but we are looking for a specific liquid fuel substitute for the current kerosene jet fuel used for the past 60 years. However we provide it in the future, the conventional mechanism of distillation from fossil oil extracted from under the earth will decline in the future.    


Are we heading towards a Carbon Bubble?

It seems that there is a growing doubt regarding the efficiency and the results that will be achieved through the Carbon market.

Even worst, recent findings document that there is a potential for a Carbon Bubble which will have tremendous negative effects to carbon trading and subsequently to the efforts for Climate Change abatement.
Here are some of the latest developments, as they are described in the Carbon Tracker report available at the relevant web-site

The Carbon Tracker initiative is a new way of looking at the carbon emissions problem. It is focused on the fossil fuel reserves held by publically listed companies and the way they are valued and assessed by markets. Currently financial markets have an unlimited capacity to treat fossil fuel reserves as assets. As governments move to control carbon emissions, this market failure is creating systemic risks for institutional investors, notably the threat of fossil fuel assets becoming stranded as the shift to a low-carbon economy accelerates.

According a research made by the Potsdam Institute, in order to reduce the chance of exceeding 2°C warming to 20%, the global carbon budget for 2000-2050 is 886 GtCO2. Minus emissions from the first decade of this century, this leaves a budget of 565 GtCO2 for the remaining 40 years to 2050.
But the total carbon potential of the Earth’s known fossil fuel reserves comes to 2795 GtCO2. 65% of this is from coal, with oil providing 22% and gas 13%.

This means that governments and global markets are currently treating as assets, reserves equivalent to nearly 5 times the carbon budget for the next 40 years. The investment consequences of using only 20% of these reserves have not yet been assessed!

The fossil fuel reserves held by the top 100 listed coal companies and the top 100 listed oil and gas companies represent potential emissions of 745 GtCO2. This exceeds the remaining carbon budget of 565 GtCO2 by 180 GtCO2.This means that using just the listed proportion of reserves in the next 40 years is enough to take us beyond 2°C of global warming. On top of this further resources are held by state entities.
 Given only 20% of the total reserves can be used to stay below 2°C, if this is applied uniformly, then only 149 of the 745 GtCO2 held by listed companies can be used unabated. Investors are thus left exposed to the risk of unburnable carbon. If the 2°C target is rigorously applied, then up to 80% of declared reserves owned by the world’s largest listed coal, oil and gas companies and their investors would be subject to impairment as these assets become stranded.

The top 100 coal and top 100 oil & gas companies have a combined value of $7.42 trillion as at February 2011. The countries with the largest greenhouse gas potential in reserves on their stock exchanges are Russia, (253 Gt CO2), the United States, (156.5 Gt CO2) and the United Kingdom, (105.5 Gt CO2). The stock exchanges of London, Sao Paulo, Moscow, Australia and Toronto all have an estimated 20-30% of their market capitalization connected to fossil fuels.

The UK has less than 0.2% of the world’s coal, oil and gas reserves, and accounts for around 1.8% of global consumption of fossil fuels. Yet the CO2 potential of the reserves listed in London alone account for 18.7% of the remaining global carbon budget. The financial carbon footprint of the UK is therefore 100 times its own reserves.

London currently has 105.5 GtCO2 of fossil fuel reserves listed on its exchange which is ten times the UK’s carbon budget for 2011 to 2050, of around 10 GtCO2. Just one of the largest companies listed in London, such as Shell, BP or Xstrata, has enough reserves to use up the UK’s carbon budget to 2050. With approximately one third of the total value of the FTSE 100 being represented by resource and mining companies, London’s role as a global financial centre is at stake if these assets become unburnable en route to a low carbon economy.

The Carbon Tracker report mentions that “In the past decade investors have suffered considerable value destruction following the mispricing exhibited in the dot.com boom and the more recent credit crunch. The carbon bubble could be equally serious for institutional investors – including pension beneficiaries - and the value lost would be permanent”.

The authors believe (and I also share the same opinion) that today’s financial architecture is not fit for purpose to manage the transition to a low-carbon economy and serious reforms are required to key aspects of financial regulation and practice firstly to acknowledge the carbon risks inherent in fossil fuel assets and then take action to reduce these risks on the timeline needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.

They also add that “The regulatory regimes covering the capital markets need realigning to provide transparency for investors on the assumptions behind valuing unburnable carbon. With the global economy following the fortunes of the financial sector, it is essential to create capital markets which are robust enough to deliver an economy which can prevent dangerous climate change. Unless a more long-term approach is required by regulators, the shift in investment required to deliver a low carbon future will not occur.”


After – tsunami waste management: a global problem

We are getting close to March 11, 2012, the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Fukushima, Japan. Unprecedented pictures and videos are definitely still through our eyes and minds whenever we remember the M 9.0 earthquake that hit the coast of Honshu, Japan's most populous island near Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, on March 11, 2011 at 05:46:23 UTC (roughly 231 miles Northeast of Tokyo).

More than 16.000 dead people, hundreds of billion dollars infrastructure damages and a very serious leak of nuclear radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant were the main direct consequences of this catastrophic event.

From a waste management point of view, there is still a huge problem regarding the million tons of waste, mainly debris but including a lot of hazardous waste too, that were created during the tsunami strike. Just to have an idea of the disaster, only in Sendai city there is more than one million tons of waste wiring to be removed and managed during the next 3 years. The cleanup is expected to cost at least $1.3 billion!

Just imagine the overall quantity of debris is expected to be more or less around 25 million tons. As for the overall cost, it is expected to far exceed the $3.2 billion required to dispose of 15 million tons of debris in the Japanese city of Kobe after its 1995 earthquake.

A second problem, with really global dimensions is related to the mass of debris that was washed out to sea as floodwaters receded from the land, and some of that wreckage continues to float around the ocean.
According to a recent report by the Hawaii-based International Pacific Research Center ( IPRC), so far, the debris field has spread in an area that is approaching 4,000km by 2,000km.
It is estimated that more than a million tons of waste are floating and most of it is headed eastwards, moved by the Kuroshio Current, the North Pacific equivalent of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic.
IPRC creates daily updates of the debris movement through Pacific Ocean(see tracking debris).
 Updates are provided by extensive modeling work led by Nikolai Maximenko. According all estimations more than 90% of the tsunami debris that has not sunk will move into the North Pacific "Garbage Patch", a long-lived circulation of floating rubbish trapped by the North Pacific Gyre.
I think that there are three comments, related to waste management that we can make in the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami.
First, although in Japan there is one of the most advanced waste management systems in the world, current systems and technologies were simply inappropriate to manage the astonishing quantities of waste produced by the tsunami.  
Second, please imagine what will be the consequences if the earthquake target was not Japan, but another country with less technologies and resources available, maybe characterized by poverty and low living standards. And definitely, such disasters can be also produced not only by earthquakes but from extreme weather phenomena as well, as it is the aftermath of the New Orleans’ disaster.
Third, the floating tsunami debris is one more alarming signal for the need to manage the ocean garbage problem. If we simply wait for a magic solution that will suddenly appear, the problem will be more and more difficult to be solved and the cost will be really prohibitive.
It seems that we need to do much more in order to create waste management emergency responses to events that create really global impacts! The global waste management community has to start an intensive collaboration in order to create networks and cooperation patterns that will allow the management of debris in such extreme phenomena and not only. The only thing that will be an appropriate response to the gigantic natural forces that create such disasters is the power of the massive collaboration of human beings, through a variety of different channels. Let’s do it…


Asbestos: A verdict with worldwide consequences!

It was February 14th, 2012, when a historic decision was made by an Italian Court in Turin.

After a 12 years legal procedure and investigation, Stephan Schmidheiny (65 years old), owner of the Swiss-Belgian industrial group Eternit (ETEX), which was in turn a major shareholder of the Italian subsidiary of Eternit between 1976 and 1986 and the Belgian Baron Jean-Louis de Cartier de Marchienne (90 years old), who was a director and minority shareholder of Eternit Italy, they were both sentenced to 16 years prison by an Italian court in Turin. 

Of course the verdicts are not effective until final, meaning the defendants have the right to go to a Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court before they must undergo their verdicts.
Schmidheiny and Cartier de Marchienneare considered responsible for the death of 3.000 Italians, including employees, family members and other persons in the vicinity of Eternit’s four factories in Italy. Each of them is entitled to compensations of 95 million € for victims and their families, municipalities and regional authorities, independently of the compensations that the company will be entitled.

The initial investigation started in 1999, after victims’ associations, municipalities involved (Casale Monferatto and Cavagnolo), regional authorities (Piemonte) trade unions and insurers filed a case against the company and its responsible directors.

If you want to find full details of the case, please visit the dedicated blog asbestos in the dock 

I really believe that this is verdict with global consequences.

As far as I know this is the first decision that recognizes so serious and huge consequences of inappropriate solid waste management! It creates new standards about what should be considered safe and environmental sound working environment and about environmental impacts to the neighborhoods.

It also recognizes the importance of the time horizon: inappropriate solid waste management creates serious environmental and health impacts for decades after the completion of waste management activities!

Last but not least, the case is very important because through web – connections and blogs it was globally followed by almost sixty asbestos victims associations. The efforts of the Italian association were fully supported by top experts from different countries, asbestos lawyers shared crucial information on a global scale and the international asbestos community became stronger and more connected. The case will allow asbestos victims worldwide to gain access to evidence that was previously either unknown or simply unavailable.

I think that the waste management community has to celebrate about that decision. And decision – makers, governments, municipalities, operators and companies have to re-think the importance they give (or do not give) to waste management procedures and activities…


Emerging waste management systems: ISWA/APESB conference in Angola, June 25-28, 2012

We are all aware of the importance of waste management in developing countries. Even more, we are all aware of the fact that the countries who need desparately appropriate waste management services and infrastructure in order to provide an elementary level of health and environmental protection are the ones who do not and sometimes can not have them, because they are trapped in the environment - poverty nexus.

But this has already started to change in Africa.

I was very glad to join efforts with my friend Mario Russo (the actual leader of the initiative) and other friends worldwide for the first ISWA event in Africa.

 Lobito, a beautiful city of the Benguela Province of Angola hosts the first International AFRICA Sustainable Waste Management Conference, an event organized by ISWA together with APESB (Association of Portuguese Sanitary and Environmental Engineering) and CPLP (Community of Portuguese Language Countries) with the high sponsorship of the government of Angola. It is the first time that an event in this field is organized by ISWA in Africa. It is an opportunity to share experiences with African technicians and decision makers helping them to search out for appropriated solutions for various and specific cultural, finance and technological contexts.

Angola is one of the most important countries of Africa located on the West coast of Southern Africa. It extends over an area of 1 246 700 Km2.

The economy of Angola is based in oil production. In fact, this sector makes up over 90% of the Country’s exports. Angola is currently the second oil producer of Africa with 1.8 million b/d output, and it is expected that by next year it will overtake Nigeria, with a current output of 2.3 million b/d. Second to oil, diamonds are Angola’s main export product. The country is growing up more than 7% per year and many investments are announced by government in the waste sector, sanitation and construction sector.

Lobito is an important city in the Angolan context, quite calm safe and nice city with about 450.000 inhabitants. Located in the center of the country, is a very touristic city, with wonderful beaches and surroundings. Near the city, about 17 km, Benguela is the capital of the province, also a nice city. Both cities were improved related to accommodations and other touristic infrastructures due to the organization of the CAN 2009 (African Football championship) by Angola and are ready and enthusiastically to receive this important congress.

Join us for this interesting event, definitely you will meet very interesting people and a state - of the - art scientific program. For more details please visit the conference's web-site Africa Sustainable Waste Management Conference


Greek Rescue: are you kidding?

I closed my previous post (Greece’s collapse and the EU Titanic) writing that “As far as Germany, the captain of the Titanic, does not change its behavior, even if Greeks manage to do their best, they will manage to collapse as first class passengers”.

Well, I was wrong. According the discussions between troika and the greek goverment even if Greeks do their best they are going to collapse in extreme poverty. Because here are the terms and conditions offered by Germany (and consequently EU) and IMF (apologies for not listing other actors like the French and the Dutch prime minister – they are simply members of the cast with secondary roles).

The rescue package consists of a new 130 billions € loan, which will replace the almost 80 billions € that will be cut by the “haircut” applied to private sector debt holders. Actually the Greek debt will be much higher as soon as the “Rescue package” will be agreed. Someone could say that’s fine because the new bonds will be with a better interest rate and with longer pay-back period. But this is just the top of the iceberg, because the new bonds will be ruled by the British Law and not (as the current ones) by the Greek law, which means that any haircut will be almost impossible. So Greece will exchange 80 billions € of debt controlled by the Greek Law with 130 billions € of debt controlled by the British Law!

Even so, I could discuss such an investment made by our European partners as a form of support to a struggling economy. But it is really disgusting to notice that during last 40 days, every time the Greek government was close to finalize an agreement with the so called Troika (EU, ECB and IMF representatives), the Troika put new terms and conditions, worst than it has asked 10 days ago.
Such a behavior can be explained in only one way:  it seems that Troika’s order was to test the limits of our society and make an agreement not as a partner but as a financial Dictator.

This has resulted to unbelievable terms and conditions offered and not negotiated. Here are some of them:
  • 20% reduction of the minimum salary, which will drive in a downward spiral all salaries and will make recession much deeper
  • 25% reduction in all pensions, which are already very low in most of the cases
  • Massive and blind dismissals through the public sector which will boost unemployment from 18% to 25%

And the best: 95% of the new 130 billion € bailout will be used just to ensure pay-back of the new and the remaining (after the rescue) loans! Merkozy proposed that a specially supervised bank account should be used in order to ensure that no money of the bailout funds will be used for non-approved activities like pensions, education and healthcare system.

Well, I am not complaining – the blame is put firstly to the ridiculous and completely incapable Greek political system, but also to all of us who finally left our country to become a pariah like this. We have to find the way out of the crisis and we will do it, sooner or later. After all, we have survived during much more difficult periods and we still have huge resources of creativity and imagination. And last year, we managed to have a primary budgetary surplus, for the first time after many years.

Burning German flags
outside the  Greek  Parliament (7/2/2012)
But on the other hand, I do not believe that the only way out of the current Euro crisis is to drive some societies to collapse.  I wonder if the EU officers and politicians do understand that they create long-term anti – EU feelings and feed nationalist movements. I revolt when I understand that Banks are above all, the top-priority of the EU policy. And I understand that the recent humiliations against Greece are a clever way to draw our attention away of the real problem: the banking system that is the real cancer of Europe.

I believe that Greece has no other option than to make an agreement with its EU partners. This agreement will create huge negative long-term impacts to Greek society, but who knows, maybe EU policies will change later. If this will not happen, Germany and its colleagues create the playground to push Greece (and not only) out the Eurozone, in order to secure their economies.

I have to say that they will be proved wrong once again.

Two years ago, they fought against any “haircut” option. Now they are obliged to do it.

One year ago, they were predicting the success of the austerity programs applied to Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Now they admit that they are not enough and new rescue plans are required.

Few months ago, at the end of October 2011, they said (more or less) the crisis is over because they found out a long-term solution regarding Euro debt crisis. Two weeks later the markets sent Euro at the bottom and few weeks later France (and others) lost the AAA rating.

Simply, you can’t stop a fire just closing the door of the room which is on – fire.

As it was written recently (7/2/2012) in Spiegel:

“But it is already clear that this aid package will not save the country. It appears it will only delay a Greek insolvency -- and it will serve to create new hardships for the country's population. It is time for politicians to admit that their carrot and stick strategy has failed. The idea that the country can be freed from its debt quagmire though austerity programs and aid pledges tied to conditions just isn't going to work. It won't even work if private creditors forgive part of the country's debt”.

By the way, the title of the above mentioned article was “It's Time to End the Greek Rescue Farce”.


Greece's collapse and the EU Titanic

The Greek drama is going to its end within next 30 – 50 days. And as it is well known from the ancient Greek drama, no matter if the end will be a happy one, the major messages have already sent and their importance is global.  

Greeks themselves have done a lot of nasty things that resulted in today’s drama. An incapable political system, corruption, nepotism, a useless growth of public sector, tax evasion, and a spirit of “making money with the less or even no effort” have been some of the characteristics of our society for the last 10 years.   But still, most of the society and especially the private sector work a lot, much more than the EU average. As for social benefits, the Greek welfare state simply never happened.

A lot of infrastructure has been delivered using EU funds, but also a lot of money has been spent for “white elephants” that were used just for 15 days during Athens Olympic Games and now they are hanging around as symbols of an incapable state. And decades of billions are spent on a permanent basis for new weapons (aircrafts, submarines, armored vehicles etc.) in order to keep a high level of army readiness against the possibility of a war with Turkey. USA, Germany and France together control around 90% of the Greek army supplies.

Even so, all the previous are not enough to explain the Greek tragedy today. The real problem is much more than a Greek one.

Allow me to start with some stereotypes that create a lot of confusion. Those stereotypes are repeatedly used by international press, in some cases just due to ignorance and in other cases on purpose.

Stereotype 1: Greece will collapse because it does not follow the rules that IMF and EU are insisting to be applied. I know a couple of other countries like Portugal and Ireland that are applying the rules with religious dedication and much more social consensus than Greece. But unfortunately they are very close to collapse too – needless to remind you that Ireland collapsed in 2008 just few months after  a storm of articles that praised its competitive and open economy that was built as the rules said. And I can also add a lot of other European countries that are not so close to collapse but they are not so far too, independently of their compliance with IMF and EU rules.  

Let me put it in another way. Do we know any country around the world where the application of the rules proposed by IMF and EU for my country (25% reduction in private sector salaries, massive privatizations of everything that has value, collapse of the public utilities, and austerity until death etc.) has resulted in good results? I do not think so.

Stereotype 2: Greek governments did not implement the specific measures IMF and EU have proposed and this is why the situation goes worst. In fact, what happened is rather the opposite. Greek governments said yes to everything that was proposed (as everyone knows there was no negotiation at all) and applied all major suggestions: they increased VAT from 11 to 23% (which killed the tourist sector), they cut salaries in public sector by 20%, the average private sector salary reduction is about 25%, they increased the direct and indirect taxes to unbelievable levels, they cut pensions from 20 to 50%! Of course the tax system was not reformed and privatizations were not promoted as IMF and EU wanted. But this was practically impossible with the public sector on strikes and the society in demonstrations.

What was the result of the bold plan that EU and IMF suggested? An 18% unemployment rate and thousands of young people searching to migrate. Also, a 10% reduction of the National Gross Domestic Product. As a result, there is a substantial increase of current-account deficit and the debt as percentages of GDP. As ECONOMIST magazine wrote in its last issue (January 28th ) the proposed plan simply it is not working!

Stereotype 3: I heard someone saying that German tax payers (and not only) have already paid a lot to support Greece. This is much more than a lie. It is an upside – down of the reality.
In fact Greece has taken no money for free during last years from any European or other country. Greece borrows money with 5% interest from Germany and Germany borrows money with 0.5% from the markets. That’s really a good investment, right?

Everything is clearly written in thousands of papers in Internet. Event the European Task Force that has arrived to Athens in order to support Greek reforms is not working for free. Recently, an officer from Brussels informed me that France and Germany will be paid by EU in order to provide their technical support.

Stereotype 4:  It is a debt crisis not a crisis of Euro. This is the favorite of Merkel. Unfortunately, she is one of the very few that understand it that way. Still Germany has all the power to create a media campaign to promote its position, but the reality doesn’t change. Greek debt is just the cherry upon the pie. The pie is Euro problems: lack of EU-wide tools for common fiscal policies, absence of any coordinating mechanism related to tax issues, myopic competitiveness management by Germans and most of all a completely incapable political leadership for the last 10 years. All those have transformed Euro from the most ambitious experiment in Europe to the worst nightmare.

Well, the truth is that Greece is the weakest link of a very weak European chain. And no matter what will be the future of Greece, inside or outside the Euro Zone, the weakness of EU will not change. EU goes like the Titanic towards the iceberg, although the iceberg was visible for more than 3 years now.

But the captain (in this case Germany) shouts that it will leave the boat first unless everyone on board agree and obey to its demands. This is a no way - out situation.

We do not know if there is still time to save the boat, even if we all agree to captain’s rude orders. And the captain knows well (I hope) that out of the boat it has no chance to survive in the global ocean.

Greeks must work hardly to change their own society and make it more competitive and productive. They have to make it business – attractive in order to fight unemployment. They have to transform their political and administrative system; they have to clear out corruption and nepotism; they have to create a fare tax system. They also have to keep education and health-care services alive and provide a minimum social support to the poorer part of the society.  

Bu I really doubt if all of them can be implemented with the current behavior of IMF and EU. As far as Germany, the captain of the Titanic, does not change its behavior, even if Greeks manage to do their best, they will manage to collapse as first class passengers. Not so attractive and inspiring…


Fashionistas push for waste prevention

    Source: fashionindustrynetwork.com
Last 10 years we watch a global shift from end of pipe waste management to waste prevention and reuse concepts. This shift clearly moves us closer to resource management optimization processes rather than the typical waste management activities. It concerns more industrial supply chains than the waste management industry and the usual end of pipe solutions.

But at the same time it provides a new practical view on how we deal with waste. It helps us a lot to understand waste as an indication of inefficient production and consumption patterns. In other terms, it helps us to understand that Waste is a Choice, as my friend Maarten Goorhuis (ISWA STC Vice-Chair and Chair of the ISWA Working Group on Recycling and Waste Minimization) usually says starting his presentations about waste prevention.

A good example of that way of thinking is given by some initiatives in the textile & clothing manufacturing sector. The real importance of them is that they try to combine effectiveness in waste prevention by utilizing personal attitudes and behavioral trends. Let’s see more details.

We all know that rapidly changing fashions increase the production and consumption of textiles and clothing. And definitely, they also increase the amount of end of life clothes that are driven to waste, in one or another way. Despite improvements in the environmental impacts in the manufacture of textile and clothing over the last 25 years, the overall volume of production and consumption of these products has increased. The relocation of manufacturing from Western countries to Asian nations and more efficient production has reduced the cost of clothing and textiles, but this has had the unintended consequence of increasing consumption and counteracting some of the environmental benefits of new manufacturing technologies.

In addition, the fast cycles of fashion and deliberately planning products to have a limited lifespan have shortened the life cycle of textiles and clothing. Garments have become cheaper, the quality reduced and clothes are typically worn for only a short time before disposal. Although reuse and recycling of clothing has also increased, this only partly offsets the increased levels of textile consumption, the proliferation of textile waste, and the environmental and social impacts, (such as where and how fibres are cultivated) associated with higher volumes of textiles and clothing production. 

A recent study (Niinimäki, K., Hassi, L. (2011) Emerging design strategies in sustainable production and consumption of textiles and clothing. Journal of Cleaner Production 19: 1876-1883) provided the suggestion that a more sustainable production and consumption of clothing could be achieved if consumer values are used to rethink design and business strategies. A good example could be an increased personalization of clothing that could increase both consumer attachment to products and their useful lifetime.

The study explored different design strategies that increase the lifespan of textiles and clothing by making the consumer the centre of the innovation processes. It argues that innovative thinking about how consumers experience and value textiles and clothes is needed for more sustainable production and consumption.

For example, the use of a product could be extended if it is designed to be personalized. This would allow consumers to develop an emotional attachment with the garment or textile and can be achieved by mass customization of products using fast digital manufacturing technologies that enable consumers to select from a variety of styles and colors to design their own look. Digital textile printers, embroidery and laser cutting machines can design products tailored to an individual’s specifications.

The manufacture of ‘halfway products’, for example, kits that offer consumers the opportunity to creatively assemble (and repair) the product could also increase attachment and usage, as could clothing designed with detachable parts that can be customized by the consumer.
In addition, designers can co-create products with consumers to increase attachment to the product, for example, through the internet, with consumers making the final design decisions. Services that focus on consumer needs can also be used to extend the lifetime use of textiles and clothing and postpone product replacement. For example, high-quality garments that can be used in renting, leasing, lending or sharing schemes; and services that modify the garments can all be offered. New business opportunities could be found in this switch to a services-orientated economy; manufacturers can offer higher quality garments, increase customer satisfaction and extend the use of the product. 

At least, we hope that this may be a succesful initiative - after all if waste prevention becomes trendy, there will be positive impacts worldwide, especially in the global interconnected cities where fashion plays a crucial role...