Environmental Impacts and Proactive - Page 5

Environmental Impacts and Proactive


In spite of the basically environment-oriented objective of waste disposal, various problem factors may arise which may be impossible or difficult to overcome:

a)Technically/economically unavoidable emissions (residual emissions), from the waste disposal installations which have an overall impact on air, soil, and water, on people and on ecosystems

b) Adverse consequences of unsuitable use of composting and other forms of recycling on the ecological infrastructure of the region in question

c) Unforeseen increase in volume of waste from private households

d) Unforeseen increase in volume of waste from commercial and industrial establishments

Summary Assessment of Environmental Relevance

For any waste disposal project, in the interests of minimizing the environmental impact, the following basic rules apply:

· Waste avoidance, i.e. preventing it being created in the first place, particularly in the field of industrial production, takes precedence over recycling.

· Recycling takes precedence over other forms of disposal.

· Waste or residues which cannot be recycled are to be disposed of properly, i.e. in line with environmental requirements.

Ecologically and economically favorable solutions can be achieved anywhere by applying these principles, provided they are adapted to the local conditions in a technically appropriate way.

To sum up, the following may be said with regard to the environmental relevance of waste disposal projects:

The plants of such a project must be planned, built and operated in accordance with the generally accepted rules or the state of the art, e.g. in the case of air purification plants (see § 5 BImSchG - German Federal Emission Control Act) or wastewater treatment plants, for the purpose of eliminating hazardous substances for example (see § 7a WHG - Federal Water Act ). Special measures are always necessary in the case of waste incinerators and landfill sites, especially where the distance from residential buildings is relatively small or a large area of land is occupied. The main reasons for this in the case of incinerators are the pollution potential of the flue gas emissions and in the case of landfill sites the long-term groundwater pollution potential of the deposited waste.

If not intended for special waste and if there is no possibility of special waste being introduced, the other installations in waste disposal projects, such as intermediate stores, transfer stations, composting works, physical/chemical treatment plants etc. are rated as comparatively less environmentally polluting, as their effects are usually less long-lasting, less numerous and less far-reaching, especially if particular attention has been paid to noise reduction and odour-abatement at the planning stage.