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Evaluating waste management strategies: A case of metal-contaminated waste wood
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technique and Management . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technique and Management . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technique and Management . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2007 (English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658, Vol. 52, no 1, 103-118 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden recovered waste wood (RWW) is used for heat production, which reduces the share of waste that is landfilled and recovers the energy content of the waste. However, this waste contains contaminated materials that pollute RWW with heavy metals, causing downstream environmental problems. The main objective of this study was to analyse how different upstream-oriented strategies to manage RWW, influence the arising of environmental pressures downstream the waste management system. Today, the contaminated materials in RWW are handled together with the main waste flow. This upstream approach was compared with a separation strategy that removes contaminants from the main waste flow thereby handling these materials separately downstream the waste management system. An extended substance flow analysis (SFA) methodology that also includes resource issues was applied for the analysis. The results show that the upstream separation strategy exhibits potential environmental benefits. However, to accurately prevent environmental pollution also in a long time perspective, upstream separation strategies must be combined with downstream measures aimed to immobilise the contaminants in by-products. Otherwise, such separation strategies, as the current handling of RWW, may cause temporal and spatial shifting of problems. To enable immobilising measures, however, upstream separation strategies are important since they decrease the volume problem.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 52, no 1, 103-118 p.
Keyword [en]
Waste management strategies, Heavy metals, Problem shifting, Substance flow analysis
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14071DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2007.03.002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-14071DiVA: diva2:22570
Available from: 2006-10-09 Created: 2006-10-09 Last updated: 2017-12-13
In thesis
1. Concentrate or dilute contaminants?: Strategies for Swedish wood waste
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Concentrate or dilute contaminants?: Strategies for Swedish wood waste
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to assess the environmental consequences of management strategies for wood waste in Sweden. There is a special focus on separation strategies and in what way such measures influence environmental aspects such as the presence of heavy metals in the waste. Actors’ incentives and capacity to influence wood waste management are analysed, emphasising the importance of driving forces such as governmental regulation and market interactions.

The results show that, in comparison to present dilution practice, separation of contaminants would lead to decreased heavy metal emissions during combustion of wood waste while still recovering a similar energy yield from the waste. Such measures would also increase possibilities for resource-saving reuse of the generated ash. For most metals, however, long-term pollution concerns related to accumulations in landfills and unintentional co-recycling are difficult to address, regardless of separation strategy. An exception is industrial preservative-treated wood waste that according to regulation is to be separately handled as hazardous, for which separation measures also would address such future concerns. This indicates that governments could play an important role in environmental policy by, for instance, stimulating separate handling of certain discarded products.

Actors in the energy sector involved in fuel and heat production have quite restricted capacities for separation of contaminants in wood waste. Instead, achieving substantially less contaminated wood waste seems to require actors in the waste and construction sectors to develop source separation measures. The fact that such measures often involve actors lacking professional standards for waste management constitutes a fundamental obstacle to efficient separation. Perhaps even more hampering is that source separation at present leads to increased waste disposal costs for actors in the construction sector. Such economic outcomes of source separation are unfavourable, since these actors consider wood waste as a disposal problem for which the costs should be minimised. Despite these obstacles, however, the results show that some actors have proved capable of achieving relatively efficient separation.

At present, only a minor share of industrial preservative–treated wood waste is separately handled as hazardous. For actors in the energy, waste and construction sectors, the incentives for such measures appear low even though introduced regulations potentially could have created such incentives. It appears as if a lack of steering mechanisms such as communication and supervision have neutralised the inherent pressure from regulation in many cases. Quality requirements, on the other hand, can be concluded to be of outmost importance for motivating separation measures. Unfortunately, market forces encourage actors in the energy sector to practice inconsistent enforcement of quality requirements. As a consequence, actors in the waste and construction sectors do not experience any strong pressure for separation of contaminants from their customers. In fact, such an inconsistent enforcement of quality requirements seems to have counteracted legal pressures for separation, due to present customer-oriented business management.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingens mål är att utifrån ett miljöperspektiv analysera strategier för hantering av träavfall i Sverige. Fokus är på strategier för separering och hur såna åtgärder påverkar miljöaspekter relaterade till förekomst av tungmetaller i avfallet. Vidare studeras aktörers incitament och kapacitet att påverka hanteringen med tonvikt på betydelsen av drivkrafter såsom lagstiftning och kundkrav.

I jämförelse med dagens hantering där föroreningar ofta späds ut, visar resultaten på att utökad separering skulle leda till minskade emissioner av tungmetaller vid förbränning av träavfall samtidigt som samma mängd energi utvinns. Vidare skulle såna åtgärder öka möjligheterna att återanvända de askor som bildas vid förbränningen. Oavsett om föroreningar separeras eller späds ut är det dock svårt att minska risken för framtida emissioner av tungmetaller till miljön från deponerade och/eller återvunna askor. Ett undantag är impregnerat trä, som enligt rådande lagstiftning ska hanteras som farligt avfall, för vilket separeringsåtgärder även förbättrar möjligheterna att kontrollera framtida föroreningsproblem.

Rådande lagstiftning har stark påverkan på miljökonsekvenserna av separeringsåtgärder. Myndigheter kan således spela en viktig roll i att nå ett kretsloppsanpassat samhälle, till exempel, genom att stimulera separat hantering av uttjänta produkter såsom impregnerat trä. Andra faktorer som påverkar miljökonsekvenserna av att införa separeringsåtgärder i hanteringen av träavfall är ett väl utbyggt fjärrvärmesystem och tillgång på sofistikerade anläggningar där förorenat material kan energiutvinnas.

Resultaten visar på att aktörer i energisektorn, som förädlar träavfall till ett biobränsle och använder detta till fjärrvärmeproduktion, har begränsade möjligheter att få bort föroreningar. Att åstadkomma en effektiv separering av förorenat material bygger istället på att aktörer i avfalls- och byggsektorn utvecklar metoder för källsortering. Det faktum att många av dessa aktörer inte har tillräcklig kunskap för att åstadkomma en effektiv sortering utgör ett fundamentalt hinder för såna åtgärder. Vidare leder ofta källsortering av träavfall till ökade avfallskostnader för aktörer i byggsektorn. Detta är problematiskt eftersom dessa aktörer i huvudsak ser träavfall som ett kvittblivningsproblem för vilket kostnaderna ska minimeras. Trots dessa hinder visar resultaten på att det redan idag finns aktörer som åstadkommit en relativt effektiv separering av förorenat träavfall.

I dagsläget sorteras endast en liten andel av impregnerat trä ut och hanteras som farligt avfall. De studerade aktörerna i energi-, avfalls- och byggsektorn har svaga incitament för utökad separering trots att styrmedel införts som potentiellt kunnat stimulera såna åtgärder. I många fall har brist på kommunikation och tillsyn lett till att den avsedda effekten med lagstiftningen uteblivit. Kundkrav har, å andra sidan, stor betydelse för aktörers intressen av att utveckla metoder för separering. I nuläget uppmuntrar dock marknadskrafter ofta aktörer i energisektorn att inte fullt ut följa upp sina kvalitetskrav. Följaktligen upplever inte aktörerna i avfalls- och byggsektorn några större påtryckningar från sina kunder att förbättra sin sortering av träavfall. Beroende på att många aktörer tenderar att fokusera på kundkrav leder en bristfällig uppföljning av dessa till att de drivkrafter för separering som avsågs med lagstiftningen motverkas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för konstruktions- och produktionsteknik, 2006
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1047
Keyword
Management strategies, environmental aspects, heavy metals, separation, regulation, market interactions, actors, avfall, miljö, sortering, föroreningar, tungmetaller, impregnerat trä, styrmedel, kundkrav, lagstiftning
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-7563 (URN)91-85643-84-X (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-10-20, A2, Hus A, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-10-09 Created: 2006-10-09 Last updated: 2009-03-04
2. Contamination in Swedich waste wood - environmental implications, sources and waste management strategies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contamination in Swedich waste wood - environmental implications, sources and waste management strategies
2004 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Today, bulk materials, e.g. wood, plastic, steel, and concrete, are contaminated by hazardous substances such as heavy metals, causing environmental and resource problems during waste management. This thesis aims to contribute with knowledge about the relationships between small substance flows and large bulk material flows, thereby enabling the development of strategies that decrease such environmental problems during waste handling. For this purpose, Swedish recovered waste wood (R WW) and its contaminants were studied in detail. Due to their high toxicity, nondegradability, and frequent use in urban areas, the heavy metals zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), nickel (Ni), and mercury (Hg) were selected for study.

This thesis is mainly based on three studies. To start with, elemental fuel analyses of RWW were reviewed to accomplish a broad assessment of the elemental content in the waste and to define the general extent of contamination. Secondly, the sources for this contamination were tracked and identified by analysing the inflow of the studied substances via different products during the middle of the 20th century. Finally, different upstream strategies to handle R WW, here categorised as separation measures taken before the RWW enters the combustion plant, were compared and evaluated, determining how they would influence the environmental impact generated downstream in the current waste management system in Sweden.

It is concluded that current RWW has been substantially contaminated by all of the studied heavy metals during its lifetime in the technosphere. Furthermore, RWW of Swedish and European origin (Swedish combustion plants import RWW fuel from Europe) differ in their elemental composition. Swedish RWW contains more arsenic, zinc, chromium, copper, and nickel, whereas European waste displays higher concentrations of lead, cadmium, and mercury. For Swedish RWW, the main origin of this contamination is limited to a few sources, of which surface-treated and industrial preservative-treated wood constitute the most important ones. From a total metal flow perspective, it seems that the metal flows related to RWW are small compared to other metal flows in Sweden, except in the case of arsenic. Arsenic in RWW is of the same magnitude as other substantial flows in Sweden, such as a contaminant in coal.

Today, the management of RWW is mainly downstream-oriented, focusing on measures at combustion plants, such as dilution of contaminants and installing gas cleaning. In contrast to this downstream focus, the results from this thesis emphasise the importance of upstream separation strategies, which exhibit several environmental benefits compared to the current management. However, from a long-term perspective, all strategies suggested for improving the handling of RWW more or less shift pollution problems to the future. Hence, to accurately prevent environmental pollution, upstream strategies must be combined with measures taken further downstream in the current waste management system, permanently immobilising the hazardous substances. Again, upstream separation strategies are argued to be important since they decrease the volume problem, thereby enhancing implementation of such downstream immobilising strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2004. 42 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1068
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-29736 (URN)15135 (Local ID)91-7373-881-6 (ISBN)15135 (Archive number)15135 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2013-11-27

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Krook, JoakimMårtensson, AndersEklund, Mats

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