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Traceability, optimization and new tools/services to improve efficiency.

International Environmental Scan

An International Environmental Scan Innovations and New Applications is a project within the strategic innovation programme Smart Built Environment. The purpose of the project was to conduct an environmental scan that describes innovation initiatives in built environment digitalisation from other countries. Ann-Kristin Belkert, Actinate AB, conducted the project with the help of her network of contacts. Download the report in swedish or english (the appendixes are not translated).

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EDP design and development

Who is managing the Environmental Product Declarations and who is verifiying them

In Sweden, the EPD operator is the EPD International, which is a subsidiary of IVL - Swedish Environmental Research Institute. They also have overall responsibility for the administration and operation of the International EPD System. You, as an EPD owner or EPD developer, need to compile the EPD documentation according to the general PCR (EN15804:2012+A2:2019) or an associated sub-PCRs for specific products, Before being registered and published at the International EPD System EPD Portal, the EPDs need to be verified by an approved independent verifier. Verifiers in Sweden include both accredited certification body, such as Bureau Veritas Certification Sverige AB, and approved individual verifiers. A list of available verifiers in Sweden is available on the EPD portal. For more information visit the EPD portal.

EPD portal - https://portal.environdec.com/

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Management and regulation of filling masses in Sweden

Cirkulär masshantering i bygg- och anläggningsbranschen

Vi har skrivit en rapport om hur masshanteringen i Sverige kan bli mer cirkulär. Finansierad av SBUF. Läs mer här

SAMMANFATTNING
Människan förflyttar mer landmassa på jordytan än summan av alla andra naturliga processer. Upp till 40% av de globala utsläppen av växthusgaser, som koldioxid och metan, kan kopplas till bygg- och anläggningssektorn. Utsläpp av växthusgaser och förbrukningen av resurser inom
byggbranschen måste minska kraftigt. Att ställa om från linjära till cirkulära flöden identifieras av såväl europeiska lagstiftare, som flera organisationer och grupperingar i branschen, som en nödvändighet för att uppnå målet om en hållbar utveckling.

Cirkulär masshantering innebär att massor som tidigare bara har deponerats istället återanvänds inom projektet eller i ett närliggande projekt med behov av utfyllnadsmassor. Det finns flera utmaningar med att nå en cirkulär masshantering såsom befintliga hinder inom följande områden: ekonomi, kunskap, administration samt rutiner och kultur.

Aktörer i hela värdekedjan i bygg- och anläggningssektorn har initierat och medverkar i olika projekt som pågår parallellt, med samma syfte att överbygga ett eller flera hinder och uppnå en ökad cirkulering av massor. Syftet med föreliggande projekt är att skapa förutsättningar genom kunskapsspridning för en mer cirkulär hantering av lätt förorenade massor inom bygg- och anläggningsprojekt samt marksaneringsprojekt. Detta för att nå målet med att minska användningen av jungfruligt jord- och bergmaterial samt minska mängden deponerade schaktmassor från entreprenader, vilket i sin tur kan generera minskat transportarbete.

Arbetet har inkluderat litteraturstudier om allmänna utgångspunkter för hållbar utveckling, miljö- och avfallslagstiftning och förorenade massor samt dess koppling till resursanvändning, Utöver detta har två projekt där masshantering av förorenade massor i olika stor omfattning varit en relevant aspekt studerats tillsammans med två stycken projekt som studerats ur ett erfarenhetsperspektiv. Workshops med referensgruppen samt andra inbjudna aktörer har hållits inom projektet och gett bra infallsvinklar kring hinder för återvinning och återanvändning samt hur olika typer av materialslag kan användas inom olika anläggningskonstruktioner.

Bland aktörerna saknas en ansvarsfördelning för hantering av massor, samordning inom och längs värdekedjan. Det gäller för såväl lokal, regional som nationell nivå i samhällsplaneringen. Relaterat till detta är tidsbrist och bristande planering vanliga anledningar till att massor inte återanvänds under byggnationen. Aspekten om att återvinna och återanvända massor behöver lyftas tidigt i alla delsteg i byggprocessen, från planprocess, genom förfrågningsunderlag till projektering och utförande, samt att tillåta en iterativ process som främjar cirkularitet.

Förhinder kopplade till samordning inom och längs värdekedjan bedöms främst olika tekniska lösningar ge resultat för kommunikation och/eller dokumentation av masshantering. För att praktiskt få till samordningen krävs att planer för hållbar materialförsörjning tas fram på regional nivå. Här är till exempel återvinningsplatser belägna mellan byggplatserna, där massorna kan koordineras och lagras, viktiga. Projekt inom forskningsprogram bedöms viktiga dels för att bryta ny kunskap inom området samt att sprida kunskapen till fler. Dessutom kan 3 olika metoder för hållbarhetsbedömning visa på vinsterna för samhället (inklusive ekonomi) och miljön och därmed bidra till att åka återanvändningsgraden.

I studien identifieras att olika sorters analoga och digitala system används av olika aktörer vid informationshantering av massor. Det blir därför problematiskt att få en överblick av massorna då flertalet aktörer är inblandade. Införandet av digitala verktyg kräver att processer och beteenden inom organisationer ändras i stor utsträckning. Samtidigt finns här en affärsmöjlighet där de organisationer som kan utnyttja detta mest effektivt kan få en konkurrensfördel, det vill säga ekonomiska incitament, Det finns potential för kostnadsbesparingar med återanvändning av massor, till exempel i minskat transportbehov samt på grund av potentiellt framtida skatter på jungfruliga naturresurser. Det är viktigt att digitala verktyg fungerar som en handelsplattform för massor eftersom det skapar en tillgång och efterfrågan som ger ett marknadspris.

Det är avgörande att ha kunskap om hur hantering av föroreningar sker i praktiken. Olika sorters föroreningar har olika egenskaper och markförhållanden påverkar spridningsrisken av dessa. Genom systematisk och väl avvägd provtagning kan man få en bra uppfattning om föroreningssituationen. Med platsspecifika riskbedömningar ökar förutsättningarna för att återanvända massor på plats.

Svensk byggindustri har inte förrän de senaste åren börjat intressera sig för återvinning vilket lett till otillräckliga investeringar, på grund av avsaknad av ekonomiska incitament och affärsmodeller. Eftersom det inte finns något storskaligt utvecklat system för återvinning av massor inom branschen blir det i enskilda projekt dyrt att utreda möjligheterna att återanvända massor. Dessutom är det linjära alternativet billigare och har lägre risker i och med låg kostnad för jungfruligt material, transporter och deponi.

Entreprenadformen samt hur upphandlingsdokumenten är skrivna är av stor vikt för hur entreprenören kan påverka återanvändning av massor. I till exempel utförandeentreprenader finns det ofta inte ekonomiska incitament för att optimera miljönyttor såsom återanvändning av massor. Entreprenören förväntas istället välja det som ger lägst pris. Det bör därför övervägas att utforma upphandlingarna så att entreprenören ges möjlighet att komma med förslag till förbättringar och gärna bli premierad för sådana vinster som dessa förbättringar ger avseende ekonomi och/eller miljönytta. Det kan utformas som bonussystem där entreprenören får en viss bonus om man kan förbättra till exempel återanvändning av massor med en viss mängd.

Det krävs förtydliganden i lagstiftningen så förutsättningarna att återanvända massor blir enklare och tydligare. Idag är tillståndsprocesserna långa och osäkra vilket skapar risker i projekt. Ur ett europeiskt perspektiv kan man se att det finns flera olika styrmedel som bidrar till att öka återvinningsgraden, till exempel förbud att deponera material. Även frivilliga åtagande från branschen i länder som Tyskland och Storbritannien m.fl. bidrar till en hög andel återvinning. EU-kommissionens rapport 2018 om implementeringen av avfallsdirektivet visade att 16 medlemsstater hade ersatt tillståndsplikten med allmänna regler för vissa verksamheter. Implementeringar har dock inte skett i samma utsträckning i alla medlemsländerna. I Naturvårdsverkets regeringsuppdrag kommer eventuellt avfallsslag som undantas från anmälnings- och tillståndsplikt vid återanvändning för anläggningsändamål att föreslås. I bästa fall leder detta till möjligheter för en större återanvändning

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How to recycle concrete aggregate and the environmental benefits.

How to measure the environmental risks when using different materials

How we sell and buy recycled and virgin materials

How to measure, evaluate and reuse sulfidic rock och soil material.

How to create a new fall-friendly and impact absorbing asphalt.

Handling and ownership of household-like waste from companies

2020-11-24 The Finnish approach to municipal solid waste from other sources than households

This report 2020-11-24 The Finnish approach to municipal solid waste from other sources than households is written on behalf of the Swedish investigation about municipal waste from companies - M2020:05 Utredningen om verksamheters kommunala avfall.

The author of the report Raimo Lilja is responsible for the content and conclusions of the report. Raimo Lilja is Dr. Sc. (Technology) in Environmental technology from Institution Helsinki University of Technology, member of the Waste Management Association of Finland, member of the Finnish Association for Environmental Law and has worked in the following countries during his last 10 years: Myanmar, Laos PDR, Vietnam, Nepal, Egypt, South Africa, and Finland.

Conclusions on pros and cons of companies handling their own waste
Companies handling their own waste is the default principle in Finland. As each company has the responsibility to arrange the waste management of their production waste, including hazardous waste, it is difficult to justify, why they should not be able to manage their MSW. The free choice of a service provider is the basic principle in a market economy and exemptions from this must be based on heavy arguments related to ensuring important public goods, such as public health or sustainable development.

Obliging companies to use the municipal system for MSW and private services for all other wastes is a source of administrative burden and may cause extra cost for them. This applies to bigger companies and companies that generate also other waste than MSW. Differences between municipal regulations may cause extra burden for companies that operate in several regions of the country. Private WM services tend to be more flexible in tailoring their services according to the individual needs of companies.

Companies that generate only MSW are usually content with the municipal service. For companies that operate in rural areas or areas with difficult transport connections municipal service may be the only option available for reasonable cost. This can be seen from the popularity of using the secondary responsibility of municipalities to accept MSW from companies. It seems that the costs or details of these services are not significant to them. The reliability, continuity and simplicity of the service seems most important to them. Appeal cases have usually been raised by the private sector waste companies, not the waste producers.

The private sector waste companies and their association have been aggressively against the municipal monopoly. The municipal monopoly in MSW transport has been shown to be economically beneficial for waste producers, especially households. This is because the procurement of transports for a certain area is more cost efficient than the situation where each waste producer procures the service individually. For private service producers the situation with free choice of transporter is more lucrative. In some areas, such as smaller cities, the free competition can lead to domination by one big service provider. Municipalities taking over the control of the transport of waste has been a subject of multiple struggles in the appeal and supreme court.

The regulation of MSW transport is the weak point in Finnish legislation. It would be logical to have municipal monopoly of household waste transport by law. Now it is up to the choice of each municipality and this situation is prone to be framed as a political struggle for free competition. In practice municipal monopoly in waste transport is not against private enterprise because the municipalities procure 100 % of the transport services from the private sector.

One aspect of administrative burden arises from the predictability of waste policy. In Finland changes in the municipal monopoly have been enacted in 1993, 2007, 2011, 2018 and new changes are in process. This piecemeal transition has burdened all stakeholders and caused the tensions between the private and municipal sector to rise repeatedly.

This study reveals that the changes in the municipal monopoly has juridical repercussions in other aspects of waste management regulation. The waste management services that are essential services to the society should be clearly defined and the responsibility of the municipality to provide these services should be balanced with the long-term rights to control these flows. Monopoly should be balanced with an adequate quality of service including the high level of environmental and resource efficiency goals. Municipal capacity for exceptional situations and the provision of secondary services to vulnerable waste producers should be ensured. The environmental requirements should be on the same level for public and private actors. So far, the municipal waste companies have been more regulated than the private sector actors. Even the waste tax on landfills was in the beginning only applied to municipal landfills, not private ones.

The strength of the Finnish system has been in efficient organization of the municipal MSW service into strong regional municipal waste companies. They have together accumulated enough economic capacity and waste flow to realize investments, first in regional landfills, then into composting and anaerobic digestion plants and finally, into long-term agreements with energy producers for establishing waste incineration plants.

All this would not have been possible by individual private sector waste companies, because they usually cannot control waste flows big enough to enable investments of such magnitude. The release of private and public sector MSW from the municipal monopoly has not changed this picture much. Capacity for material recycling of MSW has been slow to emerge. Energy recovery competes with recycling depending on market prices. Stricter policy instruments are expected to promote circular economy also in the private sector.

The EPR system for packaging waste has changed the picture by inviting treatment tenders for big quantities of packaging waste from services. The regulation of packaging waste management from households is in the pipeline and can provide tools to prevent the fragmentation of MSW management.

Fair competition between public and private WM companies is a relevant objective, except for essential services that are difficult to ensure without public service structures and long-term arrangements. But reducing the coverage of the waste flows that are under the municipal monopoly can risk their ability to invest in the waste management infrastructure.

Promoting private enterprise or promoting the administrative burden (deregulation) of companies by restricting public services can conflict with environmental goals if implemented in an unbalanced way.

Municipal monopoly is not in conflict with promoting innovation. The municipal companies in Finland have been successful in offering technology platforms and large, steady waste flows for private sector waste management innovation.

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Measuring sustainability and climate impact

Measuring sustainability by life cycle approach

At RISE three main pillars of sustainability such as economic, environmental and social are assessed by using Life Cycle Cost (LCC), Life cycle Assessment (LCA) and Social LCA respectively.

In addition to environmental, economic and social indicators estimated in different projects, Material Circularity Indicator (MCI), representing the extent of circularity of reused/recycled materials in a product is estimated.

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How to safely build and maintain constructions of bottom ash materials.

By-products, end-of-waste, and national guidelines for recycling.

Comments and news about Swedish court cases

Possibilities of using public procurement for increased sustainability

Digital replicas of physical things

Visualization benefits of design in infrastructure projects

Planning, steering and calculating regional material flows.

Combatting and eliminating organized crimes within the waste industry

Tools and services for vibration risk assessment

Protect and prevent stormwater impact

Outdoor lighting design in public places

Sludge recycling in farmland applications

Statistics for virgin and recycled material

AI assisted project management for 3D modelling

Remediation of discharge water from constructions sites

Constrcution of horse pasture and paddock

Recycling of phosphorus soil sediments

New posts

  • I think the need for including negative values for some waste assets within accounting is self-evident. Every business needs to include its future costs within its accounting. I hope some with more accounting knowledge could provide a more detailed overview of the principles for this. But I do not think accounting is a solution, since bad actors do not do accounting.

    In addition to what we know are future costs for treatment we should also consider the possibility that some of our usually valuable products actually may be hidden costs. In recent years one of the larger construction companies in the Stockholm area discovered that 500 000 tonnes of rock material contained too high levels of sulfur turning a valuable asset to a large future debt.

    My conclusion is that we as providers of aggregates and recyclers of waste material might all benefit from a higher level of public traceability. Traceability (some sort of required registration for every transport) for waste materials but maybe also for products will cause a very small nuance to our business. But maybe could traceability weed out the criminals trying to game the waste industry by collecting the fee without ever planning to recycle the material?

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  • Background
    When waste management business evolved from the need to dispose waste in a more controlled way the solution that ruled for several decades was landfilling. When you landfill (or as later, incinirate) you finalize the "value chain" of that material. This is a service you as a waste management company provide, and your cost of producing that service coincides with your income; no need to periodize anything.

    In latter years, mainly due to regulations that prohibit landfilling, you need to pre-treat waste before landfilling, inciniration or use as "material recovery". By this you delay some of the expenditures you will have to dispose the waste.

    To manage this in the account waste management companies started to balance some of the income as a future cost connected to your stock. This stock could be compared to a raw material stock; a material that will undergo a production process in order to become a final product (or in this case, a "finalized" waste).
    The profit, however, is still accounted for when you receive your waste!

    What if we apply industrial accounting to recycling?
    When you produce products you also balance your raw material stock, BUT you do it not based on the future cost of producing your product, you do it based on the value you obtained it to, since this (normally) is the lowest value the material will have.

    When you then process your material you add value to it, and in the end you will have a product in stock valued to its earned value. And when you then sell your product you hopefully can account for some profit (price - earned value).
    The profit occurs when have disposed (sold) your material! Compare this to the waste management principle!

    If we look at recycling procedure as a production process we find that it differ in some key aspects;

    Profit occurs when you obtain your raw material

    The obtained material is valued based on future value, not lowest value

    Which are the effects of this accounting principles? lets think about that:

    If you already have accounted for your profit, you will have less incentatives and less hurry to proceed with your production process; a risk that waste will be stored without action untill it becomes a sanitary and environmentally issue.

    The focus will be to have as low cost as possible, instead of increase in value (focus on the starting poiny instead of end point)

    If you want to sell your processed material it will be valued to high, since you already have accounted for your profit. This may lead to that recycled materials are regarded as more expensive than virgin alternatives.

    In fact, in industrial accounting, it is not allowed to account for a higher value then the obtained value when you store your raw material. When you think about it it makes sense; Why should you be able to account for a profit just by purchasing your raw material!?
    HOWEVER, that is the case in waste management, and this, according to me, is one huge reason that we see an increasing activity from criminal actors, or actors with short term financial interest, that see an oppertunity to make profit; They collect a lot of waste and makes a good profit, and instead of process the waste that they have collected they put their business into bankruptcy; focus on the starting point, neglecting the end point.

    Conclusion
    Any actor that receives waste with the purpose to recycle should consider to change their accounting principles to an Industrial accounting model, in order to focus more on the end point and value adding activities.

    And, in order to eliminate the incentatives that attract criminal elements the industrial accounting principles schould be norm even in waste mangement; No profit until you have disposed/sold the material you have collected!

    Why is this not obvious? One explanation is probably that the value of a waste offen is negative. This makes most accounting systems confused; a raw material supply is an asset; it has a positive value! This "truth" that an inventory has a positive value has led to use of other mechanisms when balancing waste stocks, and as a consequence we have not applied the same standards.

    Do you agree? Please comment or ask if anyone have questions, and pleas feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this topic further.

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