Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) conducted an investigation into the cost-effectiveness of treating mixed waste through biological processes compared to traditional incineration methods.

Mixed waste refers to a combination of different types of waste, including both organic and non-organic materials. Historically, mixed waste has been incinerated as a means of disposal. However, incineration is often costly and can lead to negative environmental impacts.

In contrast, biological treatment of mixed waste involves the use of microorganisms to break down the organic portion of the waste, resulting in the production of biogas and compost. This method is considered to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly than incineration.

The cost of biological treatment is on par with that of incineration

ZWE’s research shows that by separating the organic portion of the waste before treatment, the cost of biological treatment was comparable to that of incineration.

Additionally, the study found that the biogas produced during biological treatment could be used to generate electricity, further reducing the overall cost of treatment.

Overall, the study suggests that biological treatment of mixed waste is a viable and cost-effective alternative to incineration, provided that proper waste separation is carried out.

Last month, CEO at renewable energy manufacturer Stellar3, Dan Nienhauser, discussed how chemical recycling can help to create a sustainable future for the packaging industry.