RECYCLING@HOME (LIFE 11 ENV/GR/000950)
Development and demonstration of an ecological, innovative system for in house waste recycling.
The overall objective of the project is to promote the sustainable management of municipal solid waste (MSW) as well as of natural resources by fostering recycling and reuse at home with an innovative, prototype system for the separate collection and volume minimization of recyclable household waste, namely metal, plastic and paper and the production of clean recovered materials of high quality that can be reintroduced in the market. A pilot recycling unit is designed, constructed and optimized through its operation and can achieve maximum compression ratio and minimum energy consumption. The optimized recycling unit will be demonstrated in 100 households of the municipalities of Maroussi and Mandra-Eidyllia in the prefecture of Attica. The proposed technology is expected to minimize storage, transportation and disposal of recyclable waste thus reducing GHG emissions and avoiding the environmental risks related to unsustainable waste management practices. The recycling unit will be flexible and user-friendly and will be able to be integrated to municipal waste management schemes of Greece as well as of other countries in Europe.
Environmental problem targeted: Increasing GHG emissions through inefficient and unsustainable management of recyclable municipal solid waste. Recycling of useful materials such as paper, glass, plastic and metal contributes to fewer resources being extracted, less energy used and less waste generated.
Hypothesis to be demonstrated by the project: to provide a technically feasible solution for separation of recyclables at household level, while achieving long storage period capacity through the use of compression process. The high compression ratio will reduce drastically the transportation needs and thus will lead to significant cost savings.
Technical Solution: The Recycling@Home system has been designed in a way to be:
- user friendly: the whole operation is controlled through an automated lever;
- easily integrated at the house environment: it is a compact device with a volume of less than 50 liters and a maximum height of 60cm, meaning that it can fit to a typical kitchen or living room area;
- effective in terms of compression: it is equipped with a powerful hydraulic compression system that it can create compression ratios up to 20.
- To provide an innovative recycling approach aiming at the separate collection of recyclable waste at source [target: 85% of household recyclable waste generated or 29,560 kg] and reduction of recyclable waste volume at source [target: >3:1]
- To design, develop, test, optimize, evaluate and demonstrate an innovative home-recycling system for the separation and volume minimization of household recyclable waste at source. The prototype home recycling system will be characterized by flexibility, compactness, operational ease and minimum energy requirements [target: ~1kWh/d]
- To introduce high level of technical innovation related to the concept of separation combined with volume minimization of household recyclable waste
- To significantly reduce at source the quantity of household recyclable waste going to final disposal while achieving minimization of waste transportation needs
- To produce recovered materials (after the separation-volume minimization process) of high quality and commercial value by developing and demonstrating an innovative, prototype recycling system during the implementation of the project [target: ~90% w/w of treated recyclable waste]
- To upgrade waste into commodity by developing material recovery schemes providing environmentally promising and sound practices and to link the produced recovered materials directly to the target markets. The Recycling@Home products will meet End-of-Waste criteria in order to be used as input to recycled material production [target: ~90% w/w of treated recyclable waste]. During the design stage of the Recycling@Home unit both the End-of-Waste criteria and the specifications set by the domestic market shall be taken into account in order for the Recycling@Home products to be fully absorbed into the market. This objective is expected to be achieved after the completion of the project
- To demonstrate the prototype home recycling system in 100 households in two municipalities of the Attica region
- To provide insight on how the prototype household recycler can be implemented in full scale (in municipal level) and simultaneously to reinforce its implementation in Greece and in other European countries after the completion of the program with the evaluation of its economic and technical viability
- The full-scale implementation of the innovative household recycling system will significantly result in: i) the reduction of greenhouse emissions [target: - 5,400 kg CO2e] since the quantity of recyclable waste disposed to landfills will be reduced [target: 14,780 kg], ii) the reduction of waste transports [target: 33% of mileages covered for the transportation of recyclable waste in the two municipalities] and subsequently the reduction of fossil fuel consumption [target: 33% of fossil fuels consumed for the transportation of recyclable waste in the two municipalities] and of the garbage truck emissions (since the frequency of waste collection will be minimized), iii) the reduction in energy consumption in manufacture as well as reduction in relevant GHG emissions [target: - 11,057 kg CO2e] since manufacturing goods from recycled materials typically requires less energy than producing goods from virgin materials. Hence, the implementation of Recycling@Home will contribute to the mitigation of climate changes
- To promote the recycling sector in order to reintroduce waste into the economic cycle in the form of quality products, while at the same time minimizing the negative environmental impact of doing so
- To move up the waste management hierarchy, away from disposal to landfills and more towards recycling and recovery
- To improve management and avoid overexploitation of natural resources by promoting reuse and recycling and applying the concept of life-cycle thinking
- To achieve the goals set by the National & Regional Solid Waste Planning, the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC, the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directives, the Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC, the Sixth Environment Action Program, the Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP), the EU Sustainable Development Strategy and the European Climate Change Programme
- To evaluate the environmental and socio-economic impact of the prototype home recycling system
- To provide information to local authorities that will assist in introducing successful and cost-effective recyclable waste separation and treatment schemes in their municipalities and also to the householders in order to increase their participation and their environmental awareness
- To provide information to relevant stakeholders and target groups that will assist in introducing a successful and cost-effective option for the separation of recyclable waste at source
- To provide information on technologies available for diverting recyclable municipal waste away from landfills
- To raise awareness of relevant authorities and the general public
- To disseminate the project progress and findings through the project website, events, conferences, leaflets, organized demonstration activities, didactic-educational events, training sessions.
Results and environmental benefits: Significant reduction in transportation costs (reduction to one third); (b) separation of different recyclable waste streams at household level (5 waste streams separated at source), providing better opportunities for recovery of the products and thus minimization of the needs for extraction of virgin raw materials; (c) divert valuable materials from the landfills.
Expected longer term results:
- Contribution to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation: Towards Zero Waste. The European Union is increasingly turning into Zero Waste policies and Circular Economies. In order to do so, the European Union will need to turn to: (a) increased eco-design of products so as to facilitate recycling at the very stage of producing a product and (b) high level recycling through source separation of waste streams. In order to achieve the latter, suitable technologies must be developed that will be effective both in technical and economic terms. Recycling@Home comprises a very good example on how to separate easily and effectively recyclable waste at household level, while reducing drastically transportation costs through compression of the separately collected waste.
- Future Market Strategy and Economic Feasibility: the first application of Recycling@Home systems is best suited to Municipalities with high transportation costs such as islands and distant areas (e.g. mountainous areas). Exploiting such niche markets will allow economies of scale which in turn will allow penetration of this innovative technology to other markets also.