SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT aligns its waste services activities with the momentum of the circular economy, in the purpose of managing the product life cycle from cradle-to-cradle.
Our customers increasingly expect innovative solutions for managing and recovering their waste, which combine financial and environmental performance, while promoting the re-use of recycled materials, the return of organic matter to the soil, and power generation. Depending on the subsidiary, the solutions chosen are different since they are designed with industrial customers and local authorities in order to meet their own requirements. However, all the solutions provide a response to the increasing scarcity of resources, and they contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy. The activities relating to waste recovery, which are backed by sizeable research and innovation programs, are expanding very rapidly. As a result, the content of our core activities has been transformed and often leads to the implementation of new interfaces with regional operators (connections with heat networks, for instance).
The 2016 goal is to achieve a ratio of 2 metric tons of waste allocated for recovery for every 1 metric ton allocated to landfills in Europe.
This is a new indicator, which is broader and more ambitious than the indicator selected in the previous Sustainable Development Roadmap since it does not only include the recovery of materials but also waste-to-energy recovery. The ratio was 1.42 in 2013.
This ratio shows the increase in the recovery ratio for waste materials and organic waste (one point increase in 2013, including in the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Norway in the paper, cardboard, textiles, and glass recycling segment) and the increasing role played by waste-to-energy recovery in the waste treatment process, while the proportion of waste allocated to landfills fell by about 5%.
In the area of waste recovery, increasingly sophisticated sorting centers help to improve the quality of the secondary raw materials produced. For instance, SITA News is using cutting-edge infrared systems in order to automatically identify the weight, size, and composition of waste flows. Waste-toenergy recovery units are also becoming more effective, and they now supply power and heat to the surrounding residential blocks or to local companies. The other solution for optimizing the recovery of waste, regardless of whether it is hazardous or non-hazardous, is to substitute it for fossil fuels, which emit large quantities ofCO2. The production of these fuels involves crushing solid waste, in order to re-use it later in co-incineration plants, especially cement plants. The output from these plants has remained stable, although it is expected to expand thanks to the launch of genuine SRF (solid recovered fuel) production channels, specifically in the United Kingdom.
Lastly, SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT has embarked on eco-design initiatives in partnership with its industrial customers. At SITA News, these customers can try out packaging prototypes or identifying the cost of the waste generated at each production stage. Meanwhile, in the case of consumers, SITA France is proposing a “financial sorting incentive” offer together with around 30 pioneering local authorities.
The consortium headed by SITA UK has been awarded a public-private partnership contract to design, finance, build, and operate a waste-to-energy recovery plant for the West London Waste Authority. The facility will be operational in 2016, and the contract covers a period of 25 years. This partnership aims to recover 96% of 300,000 metric tons of waste in London that had previously been sent to landfills. It is anticipated that CO2 emissions will be reduced by approximately 2 million metric tons over the term of the contract. The 34 MW plant will generate enough power to supply 50,000 households, and a network of local companies is expected to be added over the longer term.
Only 20% of the 25 million metric tons of plastic waste produced in Europe every year is recycled. This major environmental challenge also holds a reserve of unused resources. The Group has signed a preliminary agreement with Carbios, an innovative young company that specializes in cutting-edge green chemistry technologies. The aim is to implement decomposition processes for plastic waste, in order to recover its basic component, i.e. polymer, with a quality identical to that produced by oil. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT will make its SITA France subsidiary’s plastic waste reserves available to Carbios, which will then be able to test its bioprocesses and confirm their effectiveness, with a view to recovering waste.
SITA France and Passenaud Recyclage, a company based in Le Mans, inaugurated an eco-hub dedicated to new waste recovery technologies in September 2013. The first facility at the Valor Pôle 72 eco-hub is a new-generation 5,000 m² waste-sorting center with an overall capacity of 123,000 tons per year. The purpose of this facility is to recover the waste generated by Le Mans’ 313,000 inhabitants using the most modern technology, such as ballistic, optical sorting, overband separators, an eddy-current separator, etc. The treatment of the waste issuing from these selective collections will be used to produce secondary raw materials used in recycling sectors. Valor Pôle 72 is part of the reconversion of a former DuPont de Nemours industrial area, and it employs people who are being reintegrated into the workforce. Ultimately, the eco-hub will house other facilities specializing in waste recovery.
Partner of Légumes de France for the Energy Project led in conjunction with the French Ministry for Agriculture and ADEME (French Energy and Environment Management Agency), SITA has developed an innovative technology, Cogénération Haute Performance® (CHP+® − high-efficiency cogeneration). CHP+® consists in optimizing the energy efficiency of cogeneration plants to export the maximum amount of available heat, notably to heat greenhouses whose energy bills represent up to more than a third of the cost of growing flowers and vegetables. Four projects are currently being developed in France, Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, totaling an annual renewable energy supply of more than 200 GWh and avoiding over 60,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions. One of these projects, sponsored by Econotre, a subsidiary of SITA France, in partnership with the city of Bessières (HauteGaronne) and other private stakeholders, will heat more than 100,000 m2 of greenhouses from mid-2013, which will produce 4,000 metric tons of vegetables per year.
SITA has established itself as a preferred partner of major industrial groups and aims to assist them in their wastemanagement operations both in and outside France. As such, since 2008 SITA has developed an industrial partnership with French automaker Renault in order to create a recycling channel capable of recovering 95% of a vehicle’s parts. The company, INDRA Automobile Recycling, is a joint venture of Renault and SITA and today offers a comprehensive service based on the recovery of end-of-life vehicles. This includes vehicle collection at 320 intake sites, vehicle dismantling at 7 sites, and the sale of refurbished parts via 400 outlets.