Waste Management Plan for England claims that increased waste prevention and recycling can help to reduce air pollution emissions
Increasing waste prevention and recycling has the potential to mitigate air pollution from waste management activities, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has claimed.
And, Defra adds this is particularly the case for food waste, as research suggests that a significant proportion of ‘avoidable’ food waste generated in England relates to goods manufactured within the country.
The statement was made in the government’s Waste Management Plan for England, published by Defra yesterday (December 13).
The document outlines current plans and policies in place for dealing with England’s waste and has been produced to meet requirements under Article 28 of the EU’s revised Waste Framework Directive.
In a ‘Post Adoption Statement’, accompanying the Plan, Defra stated: “There is likely to be some potential for mitigating the air pollution impacts of waste management through an increase in recycling and waste prevention. In many cases it is difficult to determine the local benefits associated with waste prevention initiatives as these will be dependent in part upon the location of primary manufacture of the product concerned.
“In the case of food waste prevention, however, evidence from WRAP suggests that a significant proportion of avoidable food waste relates to goods manufactured in England, suggesting local benefits are likely to result from increased food waste prevention. An increase in organic waste recycling is similarly likely to reduce local air pollution impacts.â€?
Meanwhile, for ‘dry recyclate’, which includes materials such as paper, metal, plastic and glass, typically collected from households, the benefits to air quality will depend on the location of the facilities where the product was manufactured and recycled – as the bulk of this material is both created and recycled overseas.
Defra adds that further reductions in emissions can be influenced by the type of abatement equipment installed at a facility – especially at energy from waste facilities where selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) is used to reduce NOx emissions.
This process involves injecting either ammonia or urea into the facility’s boiler to react with the nitrogen oxides formed in the combustion process. The resulting product is nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water.