An update from Ecomono
Ecomondo inaugurated its 26th edition last week with “record numbers”. For the first time, it took over the entire district after KEY, the spin-off show for renewable energy, was held in March this year.
At Rimini Expo Centre, over 1,500 brands (+10% compared to 2022), occupied all 150,000 square metres of the exhibition centre.
The opening ceremony was attended by Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, Minister for the Environment and Energy Security, Stefano Bonaccini, President of the Emilia-Romagna Region, Anna Montini, Rimini Councillor for Ecological Transition, and Maurizio Renzo Ermeti, President of Italian Exhibition Group, organiser of the event.
During the four days of the exhibition, Ecomondo expected over 30 delegations with about 280 delegates from North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Europe and Eastern Europe.
230 national and international events took place over the four days of the show, 75 of which with a scientific, economic, technical and scenario focus with the cooperation of the Technical Scientific Committee, together with the event’s main institutional and technical partners.
The 13th edition of the States General of the Green Economy, organised by the National Council for the Green Economy, comprising 68 business organisations, in cooperation with the Ministry for the Environment and Energy Security and the Sustainable Development Foundation, is also underway.
The States General of the Green Economy consists of plenary sessions in the morning and five thematic in-depth sessions. In the opening plenary session, the 2023 Report on the state of the green economy in Italy was presented, which investigates the relationship between the costs and economic benefits of the ecological transition and updates the performance of strategic green issues.
In his introductory speech, Maurizio Renzo Ermeti, commented: “The story of Ecomondo began with the double intuition of two exceptional people: Edo Ronchi, who, as Minister of the Environment in 1997, presented the decree that bears his name and changed the paradigm with which the waste issue had always been approached in Italy.
“And Lorenzo Cagnoni, our late president, who, in the same year, inaugurated the “Ricicla” trade show, today’s Ecomondo. In his memory, IEG has decided to establish an award for the companies with the highest rate of innovation at the show: the “Lorenzo Cagnoni” Award for Green Innovators.”
Anna Montini, Rimini Councillor for Ecological Transition, continued: “Ecomondo not only welcomes established companies but also start-ups, which embody a model of innovation that is essential for our progress. This year, the event is further enriched with an area linked to the Blue Economy, a particularly strategic sector for Rimini.
“A candidate to become Capital of Culture for 2026, our city stands out for its investments in urban regeneration, sewage system renewal, and the qualification of the coastal profile along the seafront. All transformations inspired by the environmental themes and culture that Ecomondo radiates in the area.”
Stefano Bonaccini, President of the Emilia-Romagna Region, explained: “Emilia-Romagna has exceeded 73% separate waste collection, but we must invest even more against land consumption.
“We are cooperating enormously with Minister Pichetto Fratin: I have been appointed commissioner for the construction of a regasification plant and I guarantee that it will be ready within two years. This is a transition, the future is renewable energy: that is why the largest wind farm in Italy will be built in Ravenna.”
Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, Minister for the Environment and Energy Security, concluded: “Climate change is a big challenge that our country is facing by aiming to cut emissions by 55% within 2030. An arduous task because of what is happening globally, but one that must be undertaken for the new generations.
“These are goals that we must achieve through a new model of consumption and production, which involves many sectors and which sees the government and the production sectors committed to finding an equilibrium between the cost-effectiveness of the intervention and a balance with society. Our challenge is decarbonisation.
“Starting from the automotive sector, on which we must work to achieve emission neutrality, and going on to construction, on which we must intervene with tax concessions and credits, but also with a national strategy for more efficient buildings, and then the third field, which is modern agriculture.
“A further challenge is plastics, in which Emilia-Romagna is at the fore. Italy leads Europe in recycling and has demonstrated its ability to turn waste into a new raw material. The challenge of the future will be to recover critical minerals from waste.
“One example above all: 70% of Italian steel is produced from scrap. That is why this exhibition is important for accompanying the transition through the transformation that can be achieved with technology.”
Tata Steel celebrates Recycle Week by joining the UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative
Tata Steel, one of the world’s largest steel producers and one of the UK’s leading steel re-processors, has become the latest organisation to join the UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative and is celebrating as part of national Recycle Week, 16 – 22 October.
Tata Steel says steel aerosols are easily captured for recycling through existing UK recycling schemes – kerbside, magnetic extraction, and after waste incineration. They make a valuable contribution to UK steel recycling rates, but consumers’ appreciation of their recycling credentials is low compared to other household metal containers such as food cans, Tata Steel says.
“We all use metal aerosols around the house, and they are widely used by businesses such as hairdressers and tradespeople. Yet there is a definite gap in consumers’ knowledge of the recycling potential of metal aerosol cans and separating them for recycling at home is not yet as instinctive as it is for most other forms of packaging,” explained Nicola Jones, Manager for Steel Packaging Recycling.
“Tata Steel is joining the UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative to help narrow that knowledge gap and help increase metal recycling rates still further.”
Launched by Alupro in Autumn 2022, Tata Steel says the campaign’s key priorities are closely aligned to its own recycling education activities which include encouraging and measuring recycling performance, ensuring consistency of public messaging around metal packaging recycling, and driving targeted consumer education of good home recycling practice.
Other members of the UK Aerosols Recycling Initiative include British Aerosols Manufacturers’ Association and steel packaging manufacturers, Trivium Packaging.
The project also aims to encourage metal aerosol recyclability and viability in a post- extended producer responsibility (EPR) and deposit return scheme landscape.
Tata Steel says it is seeing greater interest in steel for aerosols. Historically, steel aerosol cans are welded; now though, Tata Steel’s high-quality steel grades and can-making knowledge have made a non-welded aerosol can possible in a variety of shapes and sizes.
The Protact® two-piece aerosol can, made by DS Containers in a combined DRD and D&I can-making process, for example, combines value and product integrity giving brands an opportunity to create a premium pack with great consumer appeal, Tata Steel says.
Weld free, and with a polymer corrosion protection, Protact offers many possibilities for high quality decoration and facilitates a lean production process for aerosol can makers. Two-piece tinplate aerosols made by a D&I process are already on the market.
Tata Steel is also seeing considerable new interest in shaped aerosols which offer exceptional consumer appeal and the company has special high elongation steels that enable the production of these.
Nicola Jones concludes: “Our contribution to a non-welded offer, interest in steel products which offer greater shaping opportunities, plus steel’s exemplary recycling credentials, make now the perfect time to join this recycling initiative.
“Our end goal is to maximise steel collection and recycling, and the UK Aerosol Recycling Initiative will make a significant contribution to this.”
New fleet on the horizon for Teignbridge District Council
A new fleet is due to arrive at Teignbridge District Council in Spring 2024, as part of the council’s ongoing contract hire agreement with fleet and workshop management company Specialist Fleet Services Ltd (SFS).
The 56-vehicle fleet includes 12 Refuse Collection Vehicles, 20 Romaquip Kerb-Sort recycling vehicles, as well as a sweeper for street cleansing and vans to facilitate other council services such as car parks and enforcement.
SFS, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, has been a vehicle partner with Teignbridge since 2002. The current 7-year fleet replacement and maintenance contract was agreed upon in 2014 and was extended for an additional three years to enable the council to review its strategy for the decarbonisation of its fleet and workshops.
Chris Braines, Waste and Cleansing Manager, Teignbridge District Council, commented: “The new fleet will include the latest lower emissions technologies and assist us in providing the most efficient service we can, whilst improving our sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint.
“We have a long-standing and successful partnership with SFS who continue to provide a very professional service and a high standard of expertise.”
SFS’s other customers include Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council and North Northamptonshire Council. It says its fleet and plant asset list totals over 1800 items and the company maintains 800-850 refuse collection vehicles (RCVs), 200 of which belong to its vehicle hire division CTS Hire.
Bob Sweetland, Managing Director, SFS, said: “With this latest fleet replacement, we have provided more than 250 vehicles to Teignbridge District Council over the past 20+ years. We look forward to delivering the new fleet and to continuing our partnership with the council.”
Shadow Minister told about “crucial” role of waste wood biomass by WRA
The Shadow Minister for Energy Security, Dr Alan Whitehead, was told about the important role that waste wood plays in delivering renewable biomass power during a meeting organised by the Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA).
Dr Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test, was shown around the waste wood operation at Eco Sustainable Solutions’ Eco Park in Dorset on Tuesday 3 October, before hearing from the WRA about the wider waste wood industry.
At the Eco Park, Eco says it processes 65,000 tonnes of waste wood a year into BioFuel, some of which powers its in-house Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant which provides renewable heat and electricity for the site. Eco also processes several other organic waste streams at the 32-acre site, ranging from green waste to street sweepings.
After the tour, the WRA’s Chair Richard Coulson and Executive Director Julia Turner provided an overview of the UK waste wood market and outlined the many benefits the waste wood sector brings.
However, Coulson explained that the UK’s waste wood-powered biomass fleet, which he said provides a vital outlet for lower quality waste wood, was at risk due to uncertainty over long-term support for the sector post ROCs/RHI. He also emphasised the importance of the sector being supported in future biomass policy.
Commenting on the visit, Dr Whitehead said: “Delivering a clean power system by 2030 will be a core mission of the new Labour government if we are privileged enough to win the election. This will mean lower bills, energy security, and jobs and investment across the country.
“I was delighted to visit another sustainable local business and to hear more about the role that waste wood could play in generating renewable energy.”
Richard Coulson, commented: “It was a pleasure to meet Alan and talk to him about our sector. He was particularly interested to hear about the proportion of biomass energy produced from waste wood and how our sector can be best supported by future government policy.
“At what is a critical time for our industry he was very receptive to our messages and how we are making the best use of our domestic waste resource to contribute to wider environmental goals. We would like to thank Alan for taking the time to meet with us.”
Epic Media Group announces GRS Fleet Graphics as successor
EPIC Media Group announces GRS Fleet Graphics as the successor to continue the business’s “growth trajectory” by providing greater operational capacity and nationwide coverage through pooled resources.
Vehicle graphics firm EPIC Media Group was established in 2003 and in that time it says it has helped more than 200 companies and local authorities to brand their fleet. EPIC founders, the Murtons, will remain with the business during the transition.
Southampton-based, leasing fleet graphics specialist, GRS Fleet Graphics, part of the Tosca Capital Group, was established in 1991 to supply and fit high-impact self-adhesive fleet vehicle graphics nationwide.
Tosca Capital Group’s founder and CEO, Hadrien Salin, commented: “We are delighted that Kevin and Lynda Murton have chosen GRS Fleet Graphics and Tosca Capital as their long-term business successors for EPIC Media Group.
“We share core values and business ethos with an unrelenting focus on delivering for our valued clients. EPIC joins GRS Fleet Graphics with a distinguished history and we are excited to support it as it continues to enhance its already enviable reputation within the market.”
GRS Fleet Graphics’ Managing Director, Martin Tyrrell, said: “EPIC Media Group is an ideal acquisition for GRS Fleet Graphics. We are complimentary in many ways and both strengthen each other. Ultimately, this will provide our clients with an enhanced level of operational capacity whilst maintaining our high service levels.”
Opinion: Making strides towards a sustainable future
Ben Williams from Bucher Municipal explains how adopting innovative technology can revolutionise the environmental impact of UK winter fleets.
Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword or a goal for the future, fleet managers need to act now by adopting sustainable winter fleet solutions. The right steps forward will not only reduce the environmental impact of your fleet but will also optimise the overall performance and lead to significant long-term cost reduction.
Carbon and fuel saving is a concern across the globe with the public becoming increasingly aware of lowering their carbon footprint and the expectation is for companies and government to lead by example. With pressure on local authorities to reduce their environmental impact as they navigate the journey to net zero, it is the job of equipment manufacturers to clean up their act and provide solutions that go above and beyond expectations.
The environmental impact of winter maintenance often gets a bad press with salt volumes, noise pollution and heavy HGV equipment causing damage to the environment around us. But the good news is that manufacturers are taking significant steps forward to counter this through innovative technology, production and equipment solutions. Here, we will guide you through some of the market-leading options that will help reduce the environmental impact of your winter fleet.
At Bucher Municipal, it is our global mission to not only develop innovative equipment and technology to help fleet managers reach their carbon goals, but we are also investing in factories that set the standard in reducing the environmental impact of winter equipment manufacturing.
Our state-of-the-art Dorking production facility in the Surrey Hills meets strict environmental guidelines to protect the natural beauty of its surroundings. The site has recently had more solar panels installed and has been designed fully in line with our global sustainability strategy, with all vehicles and operations running off HVO.
Increasing efficiency at production forms part of Bucher Municipal’s industry-leading environmental policies; the company has set out on a global mission to revolutionise winter fleet management with sustainability at the centre. Their latest innovation, Bucher Assist, is a two-way satellite monitoring service, which following extensive trials in Italy, is ready for UK testing this coming winter.
Bucher Assist can be installed across winter fleets and has proven dramatic reductions in operating costs, management costs, operator workloads (increasing their safety) and a significant reduction in the environmental impact which goes further than you may think.
Bucher Assist is the next stage in route programming and automated salt spreading, offering two-way communication between the spreader and fleet/winter manager. By enabling fleet managers to plan routes and treatment levels in real-time, Bucher Assist means only the necessary quantity of salt is used according to the real conditions of the road, obtaining the maximum results with the least infrastructural and environmental impact. Trials have shown that Bucher Assist reduces salt spread by up to 50%, leading to a dramatic reduction in environmental impact.
Lessening the salt spread according to real conditions poses big questions for winter fleet managers which could enable them to make cost savings against their overall fleet size, and diesel reductions and help to navigate driver shortages.
Perhaps more significantly, Bucher Assist makes spreading more accurate and precise which lessens the environmental impact both for the green environment and the built environment. Road salt applications, together with nitrogen from vehicle exhausts, have been shown to significantly alter the species composition and abundance of ground flora in woodland alongside roads in Germany (Bernhardt et al. 2004).
Reducing salt spread by 50% will go a long way to reduce the plant damage caused by over salting. It will also help to protect infrastructure as lower levels of salt reduce corrosion and deterioration of roads and bridges.
Bucher Municipal’s equipment production and technology are making big strides to help UK fleet managers reach their environmental goals but what about the winter equipment itself? Bucher Municipal certainly don’t disappoint, with the world’s first 100% electric highways salt spreader, the UniQa He joining the company’s impressive winter equipment line-up.
This super-fast charging spreader can deliver up to 25 tonnes of salt and can either be mounted permanently or as a swap body to any chassis type. It boasts a 100% recyclable disposable battery, 75% energy saving and no auxiliary engine noise making it the perfect spreader for urban environments.
Winter fleet managers are fully aware of the limitations to electrification, especially when it comes to larger vehicles – the likes of which, if they even have the means to go electric, would require enormous batteries to function. As a result, UK councils are looking for alternative options to help them meet their environmental targets such as through innovative technology.
Opinion: How waste fits into net zero
If we want to achieve net zero, we have to talk about waste more, says UK cleantech ISN Global.
National governments cannot contemplate achieving their net zero targets without also properly addressing how they manage the waste their countries create, including how to encourage people and businesses to reuse and recycle more and throw away less.
That’s according to Chris Williams, founder and CEO of UK cleantech ISB Global, who in a new blog post makes the case for why effective and sustainable waste management has to be an essential part of the global push for net zero.
“Those of us who are genuinely concerned about the impacts of climate change and the future of the planet understand that we can’t think about reaching net zero without making waste a key part of the conversation,” said Williams.
“Waste is a huge producer of planet-warming methane gas. In an August 2022 study, satellite data from four major cities – Delhi and Mumbai in India, Lahore in Pakistan, and Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina – showed that emissions from landfills were up to 2.6 times higher than earlier estimates.
“The scientists who authored the study estimated that at least 25% of today’s climate warming is driven by methane generated by human activity. And a significant proportion of that percentage is down to how we manage waste.”
Williams went on, “We know the world has a problem with waste. But the problem isn’t just about how much waste we create – it’s about what we do with it. When waste is left in landfill, it creates methane gas. Methane is the most potent greenhouse gas and is more than 80 times more powerful than CO2 over a 20-year period. A significant amount of the methane released into our atmosphere comes from landfill.
“There is no good way to get rid of much of the waste we create. Countries that incinerate waste rather than send it to landfill release less methane gas into the atmosphere – but incineration releases other potentially harmful emissions instead. The only sustainable answer is to reduce how much we use: reuse what we can: and recycle wherever possible. Throwing something away must be the last resort.”
“At the moment, the amount of waste we generate shows no sign of tailing off,” said Williams. “According to the World Bank, in 2020, the world was estimated to generate 2.24 billion tonnes of solid waste, which works out to 0.79 kilograms per person per day. However, with rapid population growth along with growing urbanization, the amount of waste generated annually is expected to increase by 73% from 2020 levels to 3.88 billion tonnes in 2050.
“In the push for net zero, it’s easy to see why exciting and innovative new technologies receive the lion’s share of attention. Electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel and solar panels all have a critical role to play in decarbonising our economy, reducing our use of fossil fuels and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. But these technologies themselves produce waste as well.
“We have to think about what happens to the hardware and systems they’re replacing: and also how to reuse, recycle, or dispose of new technologies once they themselves reach the end of their service life. That’s why every new and existing process or technology that arrives on the market should include its own disposal as part of its production and operating cycle.”
“Thankfully, this approach is already underway. As an example: a June 2023 report by RMI, an independent non-profit organisation working to accelerate the clean energy transition, focused on the need for a circular battery economy to help manufacturers mitigate the issues associated with EV battery production, and ensure that waste from the industry is kept to a minimum.
The RMI report calls for effective policy-making that covers every aspect of an EV battery’s service life, including:
- Supply chain traceability
- Material transport and storage
- Improving manufacturing and production with intent to reuse and recycle
- Increasing battery recycling
- Upgrading old batteries for reuse
The report states that “the extraction and reuse of battery materials in another product, including another battery, has the potential to reduce the demand for raw minerals by up to 64% by 2050. Recycled battery scrap – the residual materials discarded during battery production – alone can serve as critical input material, reducing the need for virgin critical minerals such as cobalt and nickel.”
Williams concluded, “Failing to properly manage and minimise waste harms the environment. It pollutes the air, the soil and water supplies, which in turn has serious knock-on effects on our immediate and long-term health and wellbeing. Managing waste often takes a back seat because governments and businesses regard it as an expensive afterthought.
“But far from being a sunk cost, practical, effective waste management and recycling is in fact an investment. By not taking waste management more seriously, we significantly undermine our chances of reaching net zero and damage the planet’s ongoing ability to sustain us as well.”