"What is in your bin?" -- An international comparative study

Dr Kohei Watanabe

Friday, 4 July 2003; 7:00-9:00pm

Lecture Room 4, Engineering Department, Trumpington St.

It is essential to have a good grasp of the facts and figures in order to tackle environmental problems. In waste management it has often been noted that the information currently available is inadequate.
The focus of the presentation will be on the composition of household waste while the presenter in his PhD study also looks at data on the amount of waste. The need for more detailed waste composition data increases as more advanced policy measures are pursued. In order to formulate packaging regulations, recycling schemes, and waste minimisation initiatives, not only the material characteristics, but also the social context of the waste, becomes important. For instance, is it goods or is it packaging? Where was the packaging being added? For this purpose, a sorting method with more than 100 categories was devised, and experimental analyses were carried out in Cambridge (UK), Freiburg (Germany), and Aarhus (Denmark), as well as various cities in Japan. Policy insights can be obtained from comparing the situations in various cities in different countries under diverse conditions and waste management systems.
The presenter welcomes active interdisciplinary discussion with international audience and wishes to gain new insights and inspirations on the role of research in achieving sustainable waste management.