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Swedish recovered wood waste: Linking regulation and contamination
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.
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, Statistics. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2008 (English)In: Waste Management, ISSN 0956-053X, E-ISSN 1879-2456, Vol. 28, no 3, 638-648 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, large amounts of wood waste are generated annually from construction and demolition activities, but also from other discarded products such as packaging and furniture. A large share of this waste is today recovered and used for heat production. However, previous research has found that recovered wood waste (RWW) contains hazardous substances, which has significant implications for the environmental performance of recycling. Improved sorting is often suggested as a proper strategy to decrease such implications. In this study, we aim to analyse the impacts of waste regulation on the contamination of RWW. The occurrence of industrial preservative-treated wood, which contains several hazardous substances, was used as an indicator for contamination. First the management of RWW during 1995–2004 was studied through interviews with involved actors. We then determined the occurrence of industrial preservative-treated wood in RWW for that time period for each supplier (actor). From the results, it can be concluded that a substantially less contaminated RWW today relies on extensive source separation. The good news is that some actors, despite several obstacles for such upstream efforts, have already today proved capable of achieving relatively efficient separation. In most cases, however, the existing waste regulation has not succeeded in establishing strong enough incentives for less contaminated waste in general, nor for extensive source separation in particular. One important factor for this outcome is that the current market forces encourage involved actors to practice weak quality requirements and to rely on end-of-pipe solutions, rather than put pressure for improvements on upstream actors. Another important reason is that there is a lack of communication and oversight of existing waste regulations. Without such steering mechanisms, the inherent pressure from regulations becomes neutralized.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 28, no 3, 638-648 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14073DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2007.03.010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-14073DiVA: diva2:22572
Available from: 2006-10-09 Created: 2006-10-09 Last updated: 2010-09-15
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

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Krook, JoakimMårtensson, AndersEklund, MatsLibiseller, Claudia

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