The wide world of recycling

The wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

The proliferation of incinerators in northern Europe could be undermining recycling goals, part of Kurdistan is slated to get a big boost to its recycling infrastructure and demand for Western wares in Africa is driving clothing reuse.

A new report commissioned by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives has found that the capacity of incinerators in some parts of Europe has outstripped available garbage, and the entire situation could prevent countries in the continent from meeting recycling targets.

According to the report, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K. have the capacity to burn more non-recyclable waste than they are currently capable of, and, as a consequence, waste is being shipped across national borders to feed the incinerators.

Although 22 percent of the EU's waste is sent to incinerators, the industry is still seeking to increase capacity. The report raises concerns that doing so could undermine the EU's prioritization of waste prevention, reuse and recycling. Countries that are behind in achieving recycling targets might fall further behind as a result of increased demand for feedstock for incinerators, according to the report.

"If the European Commission is to maintain its commitment to limit incineration to non-recyclables by 2020, the strategy should be to close incinerators and not to build new ones," said Joan Marc Simon, coordinator of GAIA in Europe, in a prepared statement. "The objectives of the Resource Efficiency Roadmap and recycling targets won't be achieved unless the European Commission tightly controls the European incineration capacity."

In Iraq's Kurdistan Region, a new 23 billion Iraqi dinar (about $20 million) recycling project is slated to be built on 70 acres of land where it will recycle materials from a number of towns and villages, reports Rudaw. According to the article, the unnamed company has already begun to import trucks from Japan and is hiring hundreds of workers. The recycling will be done by an Egyptian company. The recycled material will be used to make fertilizer, paper, glass and other materials.

You know that bag of old clothing you dropped off at a charity? There's a fairly good chance that it made its way to sub-Saharan Africa, reports The Christian Science Monitor. According to the paper, textile reuse is ballooning into a billion dollar industry, with many used wares in high demand in places like Africa.

Charities, such as Oxfam, are stepping up efforts to collect used clothing in hopes of maximizing revenue for the non-governmental organization while reducing waste. The article also cites numbers showing that 1,589 tons of used clothing worth $1.3 million were shipped from the U.S. to Uganda between January and October of last year alone.

However, the paper also reports that the imports are undercutting domestic textile industries.

SEC Banner

To return to the Resource Recycling newsletter, click here.