This year’s Recuwatt wants to go further and address Spain’s current challenges to comply with European objectives
Carles Salesa, Director of the Consorcio de Residuos del Maresme, one of the entities which is organising the Recuwatt 2016 Congress, together with the Agencia de Residuos de Catalunya, the Fundación Fórum Ambiental and the Consorcio de Residuos del Vallés Oriental, has explained the details and importance of this event, described as a must-attend biannual meeting for the waste sector and an international reference point for energy recovery from the non-recyclable fraction.
This year’s congress, the fourth edition, will be held at the Mataró Tecnocampus (Catalonia), on the 26th, 27th y 28th of October. Salesa is especially proud of the number of participants in 2014, with representation from 19 countries, and is confident that this year’s edition will equal or surpass that achievement.
COMMUNITY OBJECTIVES THAT MUST BE COMPLIED WITH
While the central theme of the event will continue to be energy recovery, the congress will also, from a more global perspective, address the current challenges with respect to waste management that Spain faces as a member of the European Union; challenges that must be met in the short or medium term. The Consortium Director stresses that “In addition to energy recovery, we will talk about the strategies to follow in order to reach the European objectives on recycling, which are a real challenge for local authorities.” He is referring to the necessary reduction, during this year, of the biodegradable material which enters landfill, with respect to 1995, as well as an increase, on the horizon in 2020, to a 50% reuse and recycling rate for all urban waste.
According to Salesa, the current situation in Spain, in general, is not good. “It is an extremely decentralized country. In each region there are different models and infrastructures. While in some cases, waste is almost completely managed following the hierarchy established by Europe, in others, effective waste management continues to be an urgent concern.”
The Director of the Consortium points out that energy recovery is still a minority activity in Spain, with only 10-11% of generated municipal waste receiving such treatment. In our country only 30% of waste is recycled and an awful lot of waste is still sent to landfill – according to the latest numbers from Eurostat, around 55%.
Carles Salesa claims that reaching a rate of 50% recycling is complicated for local and autonomous authorities, and not just due to the current figures, which he says are worrying, but also because the tendency in recent years is unfavourable. “We have reached a kind of standstill in the selective collection of waste, and therefore in recycling, and with regard to landfill, no alternatives are being offered.” Here he refers to the new package from the Circular Economy which establishes that only 10% of municipal waste can go to landfill in 2030.
The director of the Consortium notes that: ”When examining the figures as well as the tendencies, it is clear that we have to act in a different way to be able to reach the European objectives.” And he underlines the urgent need to favor recycling and reduce landfill to an absolute minimum. He concludes that: “Energy recovery constitutes one of the fundamental ways forward to achieve this.”