The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) and Bioenergy Australia have unveiled the first in a series of energy from waste (EfW) fact sheets, aimed at helping community, the media, and politicians navigate an emerging but complex waste management area.
Launched at Arup in Sydney on July 31, the fact sheet which focusses on thermal treatment, will play a key role in the education piece and seeks to counter misinformation around EfW as interest and momentum builds on the role and benefits of EfW in an integrated waste management system.
Chair of the WMRR NSW EfW Working Group chair, Miles Mason, said waste management and resource recovery has become more interesting in the eyes of the public.
“There is a growing dialogue around waste issues and media coverage is increasing. However, there is also a lot of misinformation out there. So, this fact sheet answers some of the common questions that often stems from concern due to a lack of easy-to-understand information, such as does EfW smell? Is it safe? Does it reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and how does EfW fit in a circular economy?
“This document is a good starting point in the conversation,” Mason said.
WMRR NSW EfW Working Group vice chair, Shaun Rainford, said there is a lot of confusion in this space because there is a varying level of understanding of the terms, concepts, suitable waste types, costs, and more.
“There are different definitions and policies across jurisdictions, adding to the complexity of EfW. As the peak body of the waste management and resource recovery industry, it is WMRR’s role to assist in the education and communication piece and provide factual elements to the conversation,” Rainford said.
The fact sheet answers the 10 most common questions and provides information to show why and how EfW facilities continue to operate safely around the world.
WMRR CEO, Gayle Sloan, said WMRR and Bioenergy Australia fully support the fundamental principles of waste management and resource recovery and this fact sheet is a balanced document that discusses EfW within the waste management hierarchy, where it has a clear role above disposal.
“It is a useful document to have as jurisdictions around Australia develop EfW policies, and as all stakeholders – governments, industry, community and more – consider the changing face of waste management and resource recovery,” Sloan said.