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Encouraging raw materials savings and alternative forms of energy

Article published on 16.05.12

Hersin-Coupigny, SITA Nord – Non-hazardous waste storage facility, phase 4/1

They keep raw materials from being exploited. They encourage the development of alternative forms of energy and help turn waste into a new raw material. Recycling and turning waste into energy are essential cogs in the circular economy and core activities of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT and its subsidiaries, and play an active role in the emergence of a green economy. Allow us to explain.


Ten million tonnes. This is the amount of waste that we produce on the planet each day. Every year, we dispose of between 2.5 to 4 billion tonnes of waste. This amount is set to increase by 40% between 2008 and 2020. So we not only need to reduce our waste at source, but also to recycle it and to turn it into energy. Recycling reduces the volume of waste and thus the pollution that it brings. Turning waste into energy preserves natural resources: recycled materials are used instead of those that would have had to be mined


Maximising recycling

Turning industrial waste into secondary raw materials is thus at the heart of the challenges of the circular economy and green growth. Renault has partnered with SITA France to accelerate the recycling of its end-of-life vehicles. The goal is ambitious: to recycle 95% of the mass of each decommissioned vehicle by 2015. To achieve it, the rate of reuse of secondary materials will be increased, and new procedures will be developed to recover new materials contained in end-of-life vehicles. Another solution: transforming waste into alternative energy sources to fossil forms of energy.


Treating waste to produce electricity and heat

Exterior view of plant – Waste incineration plant, SITA ReEnergy, Roosendaal, Netherlands

At every level, waste treatment stimulates innovation and gives rise to major environmental firsts. In the Netherlands, the ReEnergy plant, built thanks to the expertise of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, produces electricity and heat by treating the waste of more than 1.9 million inhabitants. It generates 256,000 MWh of electricity per year, the equivalent of the electricity consumed by 70,000 households, and it supplies heat to greenhouses located nearby, saving close to 3.5 million m³ of natural gas per year. In Strasbourg, the VALOREST organic waste separator separates food packaging from organic material, which is transformed into substrate for methanisation or composting. 95% of the organic waste unpacked is recycled.


Saving materials thanks to composting

Dehydrated sludge

With the development of composting, the agricultural sector can also share in the development of this “low-carbon” economy. The FERTISEINE site of TERRALYS, in Haute-Normandie, manufactures standardised compost out of materials of agricultural interest resulting from water treatment, green waste and wood waste. The procedure utilised – mechanical oxygenation – limits the risk of an olfactory nuisance for neighbours.


Improving the energy efficiency of technical facilities

Another pathway to savings on materials consists of improving the energy efficiency of technical facilities, a major challenge for SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT and its customers. Jeddha Water Co, in Saudi Arabia, thus saw the energy efficiency of its water management system double in three years. The energy consumed to treat 1,000 cubic metres was cut in half, going from 0.158 to 0.080MWh.

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Updated on 09.10.14