The Global

Waste Crisis

Here are some hard truths about Global Waste:

  • 2 Billion tons of waste were generated around the world in 2017.

  • Within the next 30 years, global waste will increase to 3.4 billion tons.

  • Landfill waste accounted for 5% of all global emissions in 2016.

  • 33% of all waste produced globally has no environmental controls to regulate its effect on the environment.

  • Every hour 900 tons of plastics enter the planet’s oceans. 

This leads to the final hard reality: There is currently no sustainable and long term solution to deal with our growing global waste crisis.

Sources: World Bank, World Economic Forum

The Problem with Tires

What happens when tires wear out and are replaced? This is a question many people don’t think to ask but it presents a very serious problem.

  • 1 billion End of Life Tires (ELT) are produced annually and will continue to increase as economies grow around the world.

  • 31% of all ELT were land filled in 2017.

  • Many End of Life Tires are shipped to countries with massive tire graveyards, some of which can be seen from space.

  • Tire landfills are serious environmental hazards as they can catch fire easily and are difficult to contain due to the high oil content in tires.

  • Tires are expensive to process and convert to new materials and the recovery rate is largely driven by regulatory fees imposed by governments.

  • Tire landfills are also mosquito breeding grounds because tires collect and retain water.

Current Waste Management Practices

There are currently 3 systems utilized in the waste management industry:

Landfills are the dominant waste management practice and where the majority of the world’s waste resides. Landfills present a host of problems including:

  • Ground water contamination
  • Release of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from organic materials
  • Air quality pollution
  • Creating conditions for disease
  • Space constraints as the number of available acres in some countries diminishes

Mass Burn or forced incineration plants make up the majority of waste to energy plants around the world. Trash is dumped into a receiving pit and moved into an oxygen rich environment where it is burned to power a steam generator and create electricity. Mass Burn plants are Environmentally Harmful, Expensive to Maintain, and produce Noxious Fumes.

Arc Plasma is a waste management technology that initially showed some promise in the field. Trash is super-heated to approximately 5,000°F eliminating most harmful byproducts normally associated with Mass Burn. However, this is akin to using a sledgehammer to nail a tack and requires almost all the energy produced from the process to operate. The high temperatures also cause equipment breakdowns, creating massive maintenance problems. As a result, Arc Plasma plants export almost no energy to the grid, are expensive to operate, and are economic failures.

The Energy Crisis

As global emissions rise to unsustainable levels it is important to note the current energy generation landscape.

  • The world’s energy demand is expected to increase 30% in 20 years, the equivalent of adding another China and India.

  • Currently, 25% of global carbon dioxide emissions come from energy generation.

  • Wind and Solar technologies are fast becoming cost effective options, however they are variable generation technologies.

  • Renewable and base load energy technologies are necessary to combat climate change while preserving energy stability.

Source: International Energy Agency All rights reserved.