VATIS Update Waste Management . Mar-Apr 2009

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Waste Management Mar-Apr 2009

ISSN: 0971-5665

VATIS Update Waste Management is published 4 times a year to keep the readers up to date of most of the relevant and latest technological developments and events in the field of Waste Management. The Update is tailored to policy-makers, industries and technology transfer intermediaries.

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Polluter pay principle to curb waste dumping

In India, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has suggested the polluter pay principle to deter dumping waste in the open, which causes health and environmental hazards. CAG made this recommendation in a recent report Management of Waste in India that noted that authorities (state governments and Pollution Control Boards or PCBs) hardly pinned responsibility or made the polluters pay for dumping waste. CAG reported that action had been taken only in 25 per cent of the sampled states, by the respective PCB/government. CAG studied the action taken in 24 sampled states and state PCBs that covered 56 civic bodies in 20 states and 180 hospitals in 15 states.

CAG also noted the absence of any case of levying penalty or the polluter being held responsible to clean up the environment damage that resulted from the improper disposal of wastes in 46 per cent of the sampled states. While the Ministry of Environment and Forests has been maintaining that rules for the management and handling of hazardous waste did incorporate penalty, a detailed audit of the various rules speaks otherwise. CAG has suggested framing rules governing the safe disposal of construction and demolition waste, used vehicles, packaging waste, mining waste, agricultural waste and e-waste.


Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize goes to environment engineer

Professor Gatze Lettinga from the Netherlands has been awarded this years Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize for his environmentally sustainable solution for the treatment of used water using anaerobic technology. Prof. Lettingas treatment concept, one among the 39 international nominations, enables industrial used water to be purified cost-effectively and produces renewable energy, fertilizers and soil conditioners. Prof. Lettinga has chosen not to patent this invention, the Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket Reactor, so that his water treatment technology is universally available. As a result, his technology has been widely adopted in industrial and municipal uses. Today, the technology is in use in almost 3,000 reactors, or about 80 per cent of all anaerobic used water treatment systems in the world.

Prof. Lettingas anaerobic reactor can pre-treat polluted used water from industries such as breweries, beverage, paper and pulp manufacturing, sugar, starch and alcohol distilleries. The wastewaters from these industries have large quantities of organic contaminants. Some of these contaminants cannot be efficiently removed by conventional aerobic processes, while others are toxic. The anaerobic system is simpler than aerobic system, as it does not use oxygen, generating energy savings of about 30-40 per cent. At the same time, the process also produces methane, which is the principal component in natural gas and can be used as a fuel to generate electricity. Treatment plants using Prof. Lettingas technology are able to offset part of their plants operating costs by generating this renewable power. Fertilizers and soil conditioners are the other by-products.


Recycled polyester initiative in Thailand

Teijin Fibres, Thailand, has launched a new programme for the collection of used polyester items, which are then recycled back into polyester textiles through the companys Eco-Circle system a first for Teijin in Asia outside Japan. Bangkok-based Thai Namsiri Intertex Co. Ltd (TNI), a consolidated subsidiary of Teijin that makes polyester textiles in Thailand, initiated the programme that includes a new recyclable mens jacket made of 100 per cent polyester.

Teijins Eco Circle closed-loop recycling system depolymerizes the used polyester material, which is then re-formed and then extruded into new polyester yarns, which are said to offer the same level of purity and consistency as virgin polyester fibres. Since 2002, more than 100 apparel and sportswear manufacturers worldwide have co-operated with Teijin to develop and manufacture products made from recyclable materials, as well as to collect and recycle these products at the end of their useful lives. TNI reports that it will strengthen its environmentally friendly initiatives in future by using the recycled polyester material to produce new outerwear collections.


China aims to recycle catering waste

Statistics from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the top economic planning agency of China, reveal that the catering industry in the country is producing around 130,000 t/d of waste, totalling an annual level of 50 million tonnes. However, without advanced treatment technologies or a sound management mechanism, most of this waste is not properly treated, posing threats to food safety, ecology and human health.

NDRC is working with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture to chalk out a policy mechanism for recycling catering waste. Mr. He Bingguang, Deputy Director of the Environment and Resources Department at NDRC, has called upon governments at all levels to work on recycling catering waste in line with Chinas Circular Economy Promotion Law, which came into effect on 1 January 2009.


Mobile handset recycling programme in Pakistan

Mobilink, Pakistans market leader in cellular communication services, has launched the countrys first mobile handset recycling programme, aiming to share the benefits of cellular communication with the hearing impaired and the disabled, as well as to minimize the environmental impact of e-waste through recycling. The company has teamed up with Ring Pakistan, a leading multinational specializing in GSM products and after-sales service, to restore functionality using high environmental and social standards. Repairable and partially repairable cell phones and accessories will be shared with the Pakistan Association of the Deaf and the Disabled Welfare Association.

Old and damaged cell phones, batteries, chargers and accessories, irrespective of the model and make, can be donated by simply dropping them in the recycling bins that have been specifically placed for this purpose at select Mobilink centres across Pakistan. The donated cell phones found to be fully unusable will be disposed off in proper manner by Wastebusters, an internationally recognized, fully integrated waste management organization.


Check on urban pollution in Viet Nam

Following the discovery of massive violations of Viet Nams Environmental Protection Law by a Taiwanese-owned company, the Ho Chi Minh City Inspectorate has stated that special attention will be paid to the inspection of companies adherence to environmental protection and socio-economic laws. The city has formed 63 environmental inspection teams to probe illegal activities by enterprises. This year, 283 environmental violations have been uncovered in industrial parks, waste collection, transportation companies and hazardous waste producers.

Under the instruction of the Ho Chi Minh City Peoples Committee, 46 inspection teams have also been established to investigate the misuse of funds by state-owned enterprises. Since the teams founding, they have collected about US$2.17 million in fines. Next year, the City plans to establish an additional 25-30 inspection teams to enforce proper land-use management. They will investigate incidents of phoney property ownership certificates and ensure that state-owned enterprises are using their leased land for the purposes approved by the government. Yet another set of inspection teams will be created to examine local governmental agencies revenues and expenditures, public asset management and the equitization of state-owned enterprises.


e-Gadget makers line up for a green makeover

India is one of the fastest-growing markets for electronic gadgets (e-gadgets) from mobile phones to digital cameras to notebook computers to an array of other products. Eco-friendly disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) is a major concern and, because of better awareness, green practices are right on top of the agenda of technology companies. The Ministry of Environment and Forests came out with guidelines early this year on safe disposal of e-waste. The new guidelines focus on end-producer responsibility, restriction of hazardous substances and best practices of recycling.

Mobile handset makers like Nokia, Samsung and Motorola have initiated take-back programmes at various centres across cities. Motorolas Ecomoto programme offers customers channels to recycle end-of-life products in an environmentally safe and responsible manner. This programme is available at all the nine Motorola centres in the country. Samsung has carried out similar efforts at its various centres. Nokia has installed take-back bins in 650 care centres across India and is extending this to the companys priority dealers in the country.

Even desktop and laptop manufacturers are trying to ensure that they reduce their carbon footprint. For every unit of greenhouse gas that goes into computer production and distribution, Dell will find an equal offset through investing in renewable energy sources or energy efficiency. It is also trying to account for this by requiring major suppliers to identify and report their emissions impact.

The HP Planet Partners Recycling Programme offers to help customers to dispose off used computing equipment in an environmentally responsible manner. This programme is carried out for HP and non-HP computer and printing hardware and original HP inkjet and laser jet print cartridges. In addition, it has a trade-in programme, which offers customers cash payments for their old equipment when new products are purchased. Wipro offers e-waste disposal service to its customers who want to dispose off computers, laptops and servers, in what is called extended producer responsibility.


Philippines eases rule on garbage dumps

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines, has changed its position on open dumps, eight months after issuing an ultimatum to local government units (LGUs) to close them down. Environment Secretary Mr. Lito Atienze hinted that no LGU would be sanctioned in the near future for failing to comply with the law, acknowledging the difficulties that most of them faced in switching from open to controlled dumps. The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, or Republic Act 9003, requires LGUs to convert all open dumps to controlled dumps, which in turn should also be closed five years from the enactment of the law. Furthermore, to help the LGUs, Mr. Atienze will recommend that the subsidy they get from the national government to be adjusted to enable them to observe the law. Mr. Atienze admitted that the main problem being faced by the LGUs was on the financial front, given the high cost of converting dumps.

If the law had been strictly followed, all open dumps should have been closed or converted to controlled dumps by 16 February 2004 and all controlled dumps closed down by 16 February 2006. Records of DENR show that there are still 826 open dumps and 359 controlled dumps nation-wide, including four in Metro Manila.


Bangladesh court halts ship-breaking

The High Court of Bangladesh has directed the Department of Environment to ensure that all ship-breaking yards operating without environmental clearance shut down their operations. The court gave the ruling this March on a public interest litigation filed by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association.

The High Court also directed the government to ensure that no ship with hazardous wastes enter the country without being pre-cleaned at source or outside the territory of Bangladesh. The court observed that none of the ministries had co-operated to ensure conformity to the environmental laws. The order said the government had to ensure that ships were only broken after guaranteeing safe working conditions for the labourers and having in place appropriate disposal arrangements for hazardous wastes and protection of environment.

The court directed the Environment and Forest Ministry to frame rules on ship-breaking in three months, relying on Bangladesh compliance with the Basel Convention, 1989, the Environment Conservation Act, 1995 and the Environment Conservation Rules, 1997. The High Court was also of the opinion that a committee should be formed to ensure implementation of the court orders.

The writ petition was filed in September 2008, challenging the entry of the ship M.T. Enterprise, listed by Greenpeace as toxic, into Bangladesh. The High Court has stated that no Green Peace-listed toxic ships should be imported into the country for breaking purposes unless and until appropriate scrutiny of relevant information on their waste content and cleaning was done by authorities in line with applicable laws and proper infrastructural facility was in place to deal with such ships.



Old rubber comes back in new shape

An Israeli company, Levgum, has reportedly developed a green process for turning used rubber back into its principle components for reuse. According to Levgum CEO, Mr. Ran Zamir, We can deal with any rubber waste: tyres, old conveyer belts, rubber from mattresses, solid tiles, anything. Basically, the company can handle any rubber waste that has been sulphur-cured.
The patented process is based on a chemical-mechanical process that employs off-the-shelf chemicals to transform rubber back into useable forms at room temperature. We are able to do this in a cost-effective way. There is no sewage waste, no leftovers. Mr. Zamir maintains. Rather than building its own plants, Levgum licenses its technology to other companies and industries.


Small shredder for big tasks

Herbold Meckesheim, the Germany-based plastics recycling equipment manufacturer, has introduced a compact, single-shaft shredder to treat bulky hollow bodies. In addition to a conventional horizontal pushing device, the HR 102 shredder sports an additional pneumatically operated pushing device acting from above, which positively affects the material being seized by the rotor. Possible applications include the processing of barrels of up to 220 l capacity; purgings, tops and tails occurring during production; and bulky thermoforming waste, large injection moulding parts (such as bumpers) and loose film waste.

According to Herbold, its shredder is characterized by low-noise operation and, owing to its low-speed functioning, produces few fines and little dust. The power requirement of a shredder is small compared with that of a large granulator since the power needed by the shredder is produced by torque, not by centrifugal mass. Contact: Herbold Meckesheim GmbH, Meckesheim, Germany. Tel: +49 (6226) 932-0; Fax: +49 (6226) 932 495; E-mail:; Website:



Improved sorting of plastic bottles

Total Petrochemicals Research at Feluy, Belgium, is patenting a technology that is reported to improve the ease and accuracy of sorting polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles for recycling. The invention also aims to provide recycled PP and PET resins containing no or little contaminants.

The invention relates to the use of a composition comprising a homo- or a co-polymer of propylene and a tracer additive for the accurate sorting of PP articles in the recycling of PET and PP bottles. The tracer additive is selected to allow easy automatic detection. In addition, it does not interfere with the mechanical properties of the finished articles. The preferred tracer additive is an ultraviolet (UV) tracer that is a fluorescent whitening agent. The fluorescent agents absorb invisible UV radiations in the wavelength range of about 360 nm to 380 nm, converting it to longer wavelength and re-emitting it as a visible blue or violet light. To achieve maximum effectiveness, the fluorescent agent must be fully dissolved and homogeneously distributed in the finished article sufficient compatibility is thus necessary.

The present invention also pertains to a method for sorting transparent plastic bottles that comprises the following steps:

  • Providing transparent bottles prepared from various resins, wherein PP bottles are prepared from a PP composition that includes the UV tracer;

  • Providing an X-ray apparatus comprising a detector for a first separation based upon the presence or absence of chlorine;

  • Manually sorting and removing the polyethylene (PE) bottles based upon transparency;

  • Providing a UV apparatus comprising a UV detector for separating PP bottles that contain the UV tracer; and

  • Recovering separately the PET and PP bottles that are substantially free of contaminants.

All the resins sorted according to the present invention can then be recycled separately. The reclaimed resins retain excellent mechanical properties. PET resins free of contaminants could be, for example, recycled in the field of fibres.


EPS foam compactor

Polystyrene (PS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS, known commonly as Styrofoam) are made from non-renewable petroleum based chemicals. EPS is light, hygienic and widely used to pack food, drinks, and fragile and deformable goods. Usually, EPS products are 98 per cent air and just 2 per cent PS. The collection and transportation of EPS scrap has not been so efficient due to its bulk. In order to reduce the size of EPS scrap before transporting it to recycle and reuse facilities, compaction is needed.

Harden Machinery Co. Ltd., China, offers EPS compactors for reducing the size of EPS foam for facilitating transportation. It is also known as EPS densifier and EPS cold compactor. Compacted EPS block occupies only 2 to 5 per cent of the original space. The machine is commonly used in sea food processing plants, electronics goods factories, appliance stores and supermarkets.

The machine has the following main features and advantages:

  • Achieves a density in the range of 180 kg/m to 250 kg/m;

  • Provided with a pre-crusher for EPS boxes and packaging blocks;

  • Compact and modular design;

  • Customization for options of different feed opening, crusher, and alternative power;

  • Affordable cost for faster return on investment;

  • Suitable for all use, from small shop to big factory; and

  • It works also with dirty or wet material.

The compactor is available in five models, with throughput capacities ranging from 10-20 kg/h to 180-320 kg/h. Contact: Harden Machinery Co. Ltd., #242 Tianhedong Road, Suite 705, Guangzhou 510635, China. Fax: +86 (20) 8756 9190; E-mail:

Source Website:

Zero landfill, closed-loop process for recycling rubber

Florida Tyre Recycling Inc. (FTR), the United States, has unveiled its Closed-Loop Product Lifecycle Solution (CLPLS) designed to recycle, reuse and reclaim 100 per cent of discarded waste tyres. CLPLS takes waste materials (such as tyres or rubber mats), finished product scrap or by-products and recycles them back into useable crumb and powder rubber, which could be used as raw materials in manufacturing process.

The process basically converts used rubber into a useable material for new products with no compromise to the quality or performance of the product. This is a significant change from processes that do not recycle material from cradle to grave. In addition, because of the unique way in which FTR processes tyres, there is zero generation or landfilling of waste or by-products 100 per cent of the tyre is recycled, reclaimed and, ultimately, reused. Contact: Ms. Jacqueline L. Wilson, Florida Tyre Recycling, United States of America. Tel: +1 (772) 4650 477, ext. 26; E-mail:; Or Ms. Kim Miller, Tier One Partners, United States of America. Tel: +1 (781) 3030 222; E-mail:


Solid-state shear pulverization

In the United States, Northwestern University scientists have developed a novel method called solid-state shear pulverization of polymeric materials (S3P process) for converting thermodynamically incompatible polymers to particulates suitable for direct melt processing without added compatibilizing agents. S3P process has been operated with a range of polymer mixtures, including HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE, PP, PS, PET, PVC, polycarbonate, polyphenylene oxide, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and rubber. The resultant polymer blends exhibit improved processability without diminishing physical properties.

The patented S3P process has been operated on pilot- and commercial-scale equipment. Contact: Technology Transfer, Northwestern University, 1800, Sherman Avenue, Suite 504, Evanston, Illinois 60201, United States of America. Tel: +1 (847) 491 3005; Fax: +1 (847) 491 3625; E-mail:



Artificial vision improves recycling

The European Software Institutes Tecnalia Technology Corp., based in Spain, is investigating a new method based on multi-spectral artificial vision systems to enhance the value of electronic scrap, which currently represents 4 per cent of urban waste in Europe. The aim of the project, known as SORMEN, is to develop a technology for the separation of scrap metal from electronic waste based on a system of multi-spectral vision and incorporate it into the process of a recycling plant. This new machine overcomes the limitations of current, basically manual, methods that takes a large amount of manual labour and time, and are unable to separate metals whose characteristics of colour, shape and weight are similar.

Tecnalias technology enables the separation of elements of the same colour such as aluminium, nickel or stainless steel employing the recycling of these materials to the full. It represents a very significant advance over other techniques of separation based on colour vision and is useful for other processes, such as separating lead impurities from copper. In the case of aluminium, for example, the system designed by Tecnalia will enable the recovery of an additional 30-40 per cent of the metal. There are six other partners in the SORMEN project.


Recycling plant for CRT tubes

A fully automated recycling plant for cathode ray tubes (CRTs) has been opened in South Australia. CRT Recycling Australia is reported to be the only company in Australia and New Zealand to recover the lead-containing CRT glass from computer and television screens, diverting it from landfills. The facility will initially process 6,000 t/y of CRT material.

The CRTs will be delivered intact to the plant, where its metal components and phosphor coatings are removed, and the glass is separated into unleaded panel glass and leaded funnel glass. The leaded glass is passed through the cleaning system, which removes all the coatings such as graphite and silicate-conductive coating, iron oxide, aluminium oxide and other substances. The glass can then be reused in the same application.


Mercury-absorbent container linings for broken CFLs

Researchers at Brown University, the United States, have invented absorbent materials to soak up the mercury gas from broken compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). The CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, a neurotoxin that can be released as vapour when a CFL bulb is broken. The gas can pose a minor risk to certain groups, such as infants, small children and pregnant women.

Led by Prof. Robert Hurt, the team has created a prototype mercury-capturing lining that can be attached to the inside of store-bought CFL packaging. The packaging can capture the mercury of a bulb broken in the box. The researchers have also created a specially designed lining for plastic bags that soaks up the mercury left over from the CFLs shards that are thrown away. In controlled experiments, the researchers found that the patented mercury-absorbent packaging mopped up 99 per cent of mercury vapour from a CFL broken in a sealed chamber.

The first prototype is a three-layer cloth attached to the packaging or box containing the CFLs. A nanoselenium-coated layer is placed between the cardboard packaging and a cloth on the inside of the box containing the CFL. The extra layers prevent contact with the nanoselenium layer. If a bulb breaks, the user simply undoes the packaging and lays it on the spot where the break occurred. The absorbent material is effective on different surfaces. The second prototype incorporates the same layering fitted into a sealable plastic bag as a lining to absorb the mercury in the sealed bag.



Autoclave medical waste solution

Autoclave Solutions, South Africa, offers the Medi-Clave approach to onsite medical waste disposal for bio-hazardous waste. This is the most complete method for ensuring acceptable processing of infectious waste materials. Autoclaves come with the options of manual hinged door, mechanical hinged door and sliding door. Sizes range from 100 l to 7,000 l capacity with a choice of single door or double door options, and single door or pass-through door configuration.

Steam autoclaves use dry saturated steam, which is produced either by an internally integrated steam generator or from an external steam source, as the sterilizing medium. A pre-sterilization phase ensures that all air is removed rapidly and adequately. Post-sterilization adopts a deep penetrating vacuum to remove moisture to ensure that every load emerges sterile and dry. Medi-Clave steam autoclaves are manufactured with high-quality parts to conform to the highest reliability and quality standards. Contact: Autoclave Solutions, Portion 36, Melvic, Skurweberg Ext. 488, Pretoria, South Africa. Tel: +27 (12) 3056 288; Fax: +27 (12) 3056 289; Website:


Medical waste and bio-hazard sterilizer

Tuttnauer India Ltd. offers the model 5075HSG-BH autoclave for medical waste and bio-hazardous sterilization. This new, full-featured, mobile, stand-alone, 160 l autoclave is a convergence of size and simplicity. Despite its large volume, the model is as simple and easy to use as a tabletop autoclave. The high-power, built-in steam generator provides the features and reliability of a hospital-grade sterilizer at a much lower cost. The model is designed with a sterilization cycle for medical waste treatment. The waste cycle is an additional sterilization system incorporated into the autoclave to prevent bio-hazardous aerosol generation. During the air removal, heating and sterilization phases, the exhaust, aerosol and condensation undergoes a secondary treatment that sterilizes the waste effluent.

The sterilizer chamber is surrounded by a coiled jacket that increases overall cycle speed and performance by maintaining chamber warmth when in stand-by mode. The coiled jacket also ensures uniform heat distribution to the chamber. The system also provides deep and powerful vacuum and is equipped with a high-volume water-ring, vacuum pump for reliable and complete air removal. Contact: Tuttnauer India Ltd., 7/103, Sapphire Court, Azad Nagar, J.P. Road, Andheri West, Mumbai 400 053, India. Tel: +91 (22) 3297 4416; Fax: +91 (22) 2673 1661; E-mail:


Waste shredding mechanism

Medivac Technology Pty Limited, Australia, has patented a combined waste processing and instrument sterilizing device. A key feature of this system is an improved cutting mechanism, for shredding waste, comprising a rotatable planetary gearbox having a drive shaft and a plurality of planet gears, each of which drives a rotating cutting head characterized in that rotation of the drive shaft rotates the planetary gearbox in one direction and each of the cutting heads in the opposite direction. Both the biomedical waste sterilizer and instrument sterilizer are supplied with steam from a common steam generator.

Operation of the device is governed by a programmable logic device, which supplies data to a log file of the devices activity. In preferred embodiments of the invention, the biomedical waste shredder incorporates a planetary gearbox in which the planet gears drive a cluster of rotating cutters. In certain embodiments of the invention, the cluster rotates in one direction while the individual cutters rotate in the opposite direction. Contact: Medivac Technology Pty Limited, Unit 29, 10 Gladstone Road, Castle Hill, New South Wales 2154, Australia.


Self-contained deodorizing system

Piian Systems, the United States, offers a mini autoclave sprayer system that combines the superior odour destroying technology of Piian odour neutralizer with industrial high-pressure atomizing technology. The result is a remarkable system that is effective in eliminating odours, completely safe and earth-friendly, easy to install and operate and that will provide years of low cost, trouble-free operation. By using a built-in pump and special atomization nozzle, the Piian mini autoclave system injects millions of 50 micron-sized droplets of all-natural Piian autoclave odour neutralizer directly into the autoclave pressure vessel during and after the autoclaving cycle.

The system is specially designed to operate automatically with any commercial autoclave device; it includes a special digital control panel equipped with repeat timer to spray Piian autoclave odour neutralizer into the pressure vessel during operation. During the door opening process, when odours present could be felt most, an additional countdown timer sprays more odour neutralizer into the vessel. Complete automated operation is achieved by connection of simple signal inputs from the autoclave control panel to the mini system control panel. A button is provided for manual dosing of the odour neutralizer. Contact: Piian Systems, 1243 South Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92264, United States of America. Tel: +1 (415) 3211 970; Fax: +1 (415) 2925 410; E-mail:


Medical sterilization equipment for clinics

Sabac Australia designs and manufactures a range of autoclaves and accessories. The pre- and post-autoclave sterilizers use the most sophisticated tabletop technology available. The automatic autoclave sterilizer series include autoclave equipment that offers a high return on investment. This medical sterilization equipment is known for rapid cycles, safety, durability and low maintenance.


The semi-automatic autoclave sterilizer features safety, reliability and quality. The products in this category offer lower running costs and fully are maintenance-free. The features include double locking safety device, door failure protection, heat insulation and automatic shut-off in case of emergency. The chamber volumes of autoclave sterilizers for large hospitals range from 120 l to 1,000 l. Safety features incorporated into these mid-range and large range autoclave sterilizers include double door safety, safety valves, built-in steam generator safety and emergency shutdown.


An innovative way to treat medical waste

Trinova technology, from Canadas Trinova Medical Waste Solutions, effectively processes hazardous medical waste and reduces volume by 80 per cent. The technology uses chlorine dioxide because of the following features:

  • No offensive odours eliminates waste odours;

  • Active kill in both the liquid and gas phases;

  • Powerful and broad-spectrum treatment;

  • High solubility can penetrate barriers other disinfectants cannot;

  • It is the only chemical that eliminates and disinfects Anthrax;

  • Safe to humans, used in industries such as food processing, drinking water, agriculture, sanitation, and medical industry;

  • Environment-friendly can be disposed through a sanitary sewer; and

  • No toxic by-products/emissions.

The safety benefits that Trinova technology offers include:

  • Automatically detects waste for presence of radiation;

  • Sharps completely granulated no longer a risk to hospitals or operators;

  • Effective disinfectant safe and environmentally approved;

  • No harmful by-products or hazardous effluents;

  • All system parameters recorded for convenient waste tracking and ensuring process control; and

  • The system neutralizes and discharges depleted chlorine dioxide into the sanitary sewer.

Contact: Trinova Medical Waste Solutions, 2690 East Cedar Street, Ontario, ON 91761, Canada. Tel: +1 (909) 226 0195; Fax: +1 (909) 972 1655; E-mail:



Method to eliminate pharma products from wastewater

An international team of scientists, including researchers from the University of Barcelona, Spain, have developed an ultrasound treatment process to remove ibuprofen from waters polluted with this drug. The new method could be used in water purification plants to avoid the emission of pharmaceutical pollutants into rivers, lakes, seas and other surface waters.

Researchers at the laboratories of the Federal Polytechnic School in Lausanne, Switzerland, developed a method for eliminating pharmaceutical products from water. To test this process, a study chose ibuprofen, as it is one of the drugs that appear with the highest frequency in wastewaters due to its high consumption as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug. The process involved subjecting water polluted with ibuprofen to ultrasonic waves produced by a piezoelectric generator, which converts electrical energy into mechanical energy and is located at the bottom of the reaction tank. The test demonstrated total elimination of the drug.

During the application of ultrasonic waves to the wastewater, a physico-chemical reaction known as sonolysis is generated, in which water is disassociated in highly oxidant radicals such as hydroxyl. This radical facilitates the oxidation and breaking down of ibuprofen into other low-molecular mass compounds.


Forward osmosis to recycle dyeing wastewater

Catalyx Inc., the United States, has successfully pilot tested its patent-pending two-way osmosis (TWO) system for recycling difficult-to-treat carpet dyeing wastewater with, high biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and high chemical oxygen demand (COD). The TWO system utilizes a unique membrane to employ the forward osmosis (a pressure-free water transport mechanism also used by plant roots) combined with the more common reverse osmosis. It treats the wastewater streams without using chemicals, enabling the concentrated wastewater that is rich in organics to be incinerated in a boiler or anaerobically digested to produce biogas.

Catalyx has successfully tested the TWO system for other applications, including concentration of ion exchange waste by 50 per cent at a treatment plant for wastewater from coal bed methane production, for recycling tannery wastewater and for concentrating animal farm wash water and landfill leachate water to enhance biogas production. The core forward osmosis technology of the TWO system is especially valuable for offshore facilities and ships. It has been successfully applied to reduce bilge water volume from ships, using sea water as the draw solution and no power input. Similarly, Catalyx believes it would be very successful in enhancing treatment efficiency of process and sewage wastewater on offshore oil rigs.



Nano breakthrough in wastewater management

Dunwell Enviro-Tech, a Hong Kong-based company, has engineered a recyclable nanoparticle that can not only attract metal ions and organic molecules, but can also release the contaminant as well as be reused. The company believes the product, developed with the co-operation of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, is set to revolutionize wastewater management.

The technology could also be used in plating and mining operations, in which large quantities of water are used and released back into the environment. The nanoparticles can remove the polluting metals as well as improve the water quality. Mr. Daniel M. Cheng, Managing Director of Dunwell, says that the technology allows water treatment and recovery of precious metals at the same time. The function of this type of nano is to act as a sort of transport vehicle that grabs the precious metals, releases them and goes back to work. They are almost like microscopic trucks, he adds.


Monitoring the health of bacteria

In the United States, researchers at the Bindley Bioscience Centre have developed a technique based on sensors to constantly monitor the health of bacteria that are critical to wastewater treatment facilities. The team has also verified a theory that copper is vital to the proper functioning of a key enzyme in the bacteria.

The new method can sense minute changes in the chemistry related to bacterial health, and yield results immediately, unlike the conventional technologies that require laboratory analyses taking at least a day. This immediacy could make it possible to detect when bacteria are about to stop processing waste and correct the problem before toxins are released into waterways. Furthermore, this technique is a departure from conventional methods because established techniques require that bacterial biofilms be damaged or destroyed in order to be tested.

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Bacteria-powered recovery of toxic metals

Selenium is a potent environmental contaminant produced by oil refineries and chemical plants. In Japan, researchers from Osaka University and Shibaura Institute of Technology have developed a new way to use a strain of bacteria to recover selenium in wastewater. The new approach uses a bioreactor in which toxic selenium is converted into a non-toxic form in about 50 h. Once the recovery process is completed, the resulting waste sludge is burnable ash instead of water-laden sludge, which is costly to remove and dispose off. The process even permits the recovery of selenium. The team has developed a pilot plant reactor in co-operation with Shinko Chemical. The pilot plant has two bioreactor vessels, and is able to process 400 l of sludge at a time and about 760,000 l in a year.


Cationic polymers as a replacement for metal salts

Researchers at Pakistans Institute of Environmental Engineering and Research have undertaken studies to evaluate the efficiency of cationic polymers as a suitable replacement for metal salts in the treatment of tannery wastewater. Eleven cationic polymers of varying molecular weights (MW) and charge densities (CD) were examined using jar test apparatus. Three cationic polymers one with MW of 4 million Dalton and CD of 55 per cent, second with MW of 6 million Dalton and CD of 40 per cent, and the third with MW of 8 million Dalton and CD of 40 per cent were found suitable for tannery wastewater treatment at an optimum dose of 20 mg/l for each.

The percentage removals with these three cationic polymers for turbidity, total suspended solids (TSS), total chemical oxygen demand (TCOD) and chromium was in the range of 91-95 per cent, 69-83 per cent, 25-29 per cent and 96-97 per cent, respectively, with regard to plain settled wastewater. The cost of the most suitable cationic polymer C-496 at its optimum dosage is US$0.09/m3 of wastewater, and sludge production is 35 ml/l. Results have demonstrated that treatment of tannery wastewater with cationic polymers is a viable and economical option when compared with metal salts. Contact: Institute of Environmental Engineering and Research, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. E-mail:


Bamboo cleans up phenols

Researchers at the Shandong Academy of Sciences, China, report to have employed bamboo to clean up phenols. Bamboo carbon has a ten-fold greater surface area than wood charcoal and a four-fold better absorption rate. It is prepared by pyrolysing culms that are at least five years old at temperatures above 800C for more than 21 days. The product is stable to organic solvents, acids and bases, and is relatively inexpensive compared with polymeric adsorbents such as polystyrene divinyl benzene.

Researchers tested the ability of bamboo carbon to remove a set of common industrial polluting phenols from water. The packing of a commercial SPE cartridge was stripped and replaced by bamboo carbon fibres with an average length of 3-15 m with a stated composition of 81.21 per cent carbon, 2.52 per cent hydrogen and 16.27 per cent other components. The new cartridge was pre-conditioned with acetone and water before use. The cartridge performance was tested on standard aqueous solutions of eight phenols (phenol, m-cresol, 2- and 4-nitrophenol, 4,6-dinitro-o-cresol, 4-chloro-3-methylphenol, 2,4-dichlorophenol and 2,4,6-trichlorophenol), the extracted solutions being analysed by HPLC-UV with detection at 280 nm. Results showed that all of the samples were clean, with phenol content below the detection limits. The recoveries of the spiked solutions were 76-114 per cent and the r.s.d. values were 0.4-6.3 per cent, which the researchers declared were adequate for most situations.

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ONGC and TERI join hands to clean oil spills

The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India, have formed a joint venture known as ONGC-TERI Biotech Ltd. (OBTL) for large-scale application of a microbial product for cleaning up oil spills in farmers fields and around oil installations as well as for the treatment of oily sludge hazardous hydrocarbon waste. ONGC will use Oilzapper, microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) and prevention of paraffin deposition technologies in its various installations, assets, basins and plants and other such technologies to be developed by OTBL in future.

Oilzapper a microbial product to eliminate oil spill and manage oily sludge is great significance to bioremediation in the worldwide effort to tackle oil spills, oily sludge, and hazardous hydrocarbon waste generated by oil refineries. This product is being used by almost all the oil companies in India and Middle East countries. With the application of Oilzapper, more than 50,000 ha of cropland contaminated with crude oil spills have been reclaimed and more than 100,000 t of oily sludge and drill cuttings successfully treated. The technology has won many national and international awards.

MEOR employs a set of microbes, which are effective in enhanced oil recovery from stripper oil wells, that have been developed by TERI and the Institute of Reservoir Studies of ONGC. These microbes mobilize crude oil trapped in pores in oil reservoirs. ONGC gained more than 96,000 barrels of additional crude oil by injecting selected microbes into selected oil wells.


Bioremediation mat and method of manufacture and use

Amcol International Corporation, the United States, has patented bioremediation geo-composite articles, and their method of manufacture, for treating (digesting) soil or water contaminants. The bioremediating geo-composite mat includes a woven or non-woven geotextile, having a thickness of about 6-200 mm.

In the preferred embodiment, outer layers of the geo-composite article have a porosity sufficient to receive a powdered or granular material that reacts with, absorbs or neutralizes the contaminant. The material is incorporated across the entire major surface of the geo-composite article for better contact of the bacteria with contaminants held by the granular or powdered material. In the most preferred embodiment, liquid-permeable cover sheets are adhered to the upper and lower surfaces of the bacteria-containing geotextile article to prevent the powdered or granular material from escaping from the geotextile during transportation and installation. Contact: Amcol International Corporation, One, North Arlington, 1500, West Shure Drive, Arlington Heights, IL 60004, United States of America.



Colour-coded bacteria help detect oil spills and leaks

Prof. Jan Van der Meer at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, reports that as bacteria have simple single-celled bodies, it is relatively easy to equip them with a sensor and a brightly coloured reporter protein that shows up under a microscope. This could provide alert on different substances leaking into the soil or sea water from oil spills, agricultural chemicals or other pollutants.

The new technique has already been successfully tested in a research expedition at sea, when it was demonstrated that the bacteria could measure different chemicals seeping from oil into the water, showing up as the blue light of bioluminescence in a simple light recording device. This could help trace back the age of a spill and thereby enable researchers to judge the immediate danger. Technical research in this field is heading towards miniaturized sensors that can incorporate many different bacteria types, each of which responds to a different chemical. These miniaturized sensors could be used for rapid screening of samples with unknown compositions, such as water samples, but air could also be checked for desired quality.


Biodegradation of phenol by aerobic granulation process

Researchers at Aligarh Muslim University, India, report the successful biodegradation of phenol by aerobic granulation technology. High organic load and fluctuation in terms of total phenols is fed into a sequential batch reactor (SBR) of higher height and diameter ratio (H/D 20) and operated at 4 hour cycle basis with a volumetric exchange ratio of 50 per cent resulting in a constant hydraulic retention time of 8 hours. Successful cultivation of aerobic granules was achieved.

Aerobic granulation system withstands the inhibitory effect as well as fluctuation of organic load and a better efficiency as compared with traditional activated sludge process. Maximum phenol concentration of 650 mg/l is treated efficiently in 4 h which is equal to an organic load of 3.9 kg/m/d. After granulation, the effluent phenol and COD concentrations were 3 mg/l and 41 mg/l, respectively. Phenol removal efficiency and COD removal efficiency of 94 per cent and 95 per cent, respectively were achieved. Effluent OD600 stabilizes at 0.15 which corresponds to minimum loss of biomass, which is the main advantage of an SBR. Contact: Environmental Research Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, India. E-mail:

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Accelerated bio-decomposition of petro-hydrocarbons

Stiftung Alfred-Wegener-Institut fur Polar- und Meeresforschung, Germany, has patented a bioremediation method for accelerated biological decomposition of petroleum hydrocarbons in sea and ice-covered polar regions, as well as the bacteria and enzyme mixtures as agents for carrying out the said method. The Institute has selected suitable bacterial strains, reproduced them through culturing and maintained them in a laboratory at -3C. Eleven preferred bacterial strains have been described and filed with the German Collection of Micro-organisms and Cell Cultures Ltd. (DSMZ).


On site cometabolic bioremediation of tricholoroethene

Researchers in the United States have evaluated the efficacy of a technology called PHOSter for treating groundwater contaminated with trichloroethene (TCE) at Edwards Air Force Base. The technology consists of injecting a gaseous mixture of air, methane and nutrients into groundwater to stimulate the growth of methanotrophs, a naturally occurring microbial group that is capable of catalysing the aerobic degradation of chlorinated solvents into non-toxic products.

Injection operations were performed at one well for three months. Six monitoring wells were employed for groundwater and wellhead vapour monitoring and for groundwater and microbial sampling. In the five monitoring wells located within 44 ft of the injection well, the following results were noted: dissolved oxygen concentrations increased to a range between 6 mg/l and 8 mg/l, the biomass of target microbial groups increased by 1-5 orders of magnitude, and TCE concentrations decreased by an average of 92 per cent and to below the California primary maximum contaminant level (5 g/l) in the well closest to the injection well.


Oil spill remediation

Japan Energy Corp., Japan, reports that a remediation agent containing a biosurfactant was prepared by spray-drying the sterilized culture broth of Gordonia sp. strain JE-1058, and the agent was designated as JE1058BS. On subjection to the baffled flask test developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, JE1058BS showed a strong potential to be applied as an oil spill dispersant even in the absence of a solvent. It also proved to be an effective bioremediation agent for the remediation of oil spills at sea.

The addition of JE1058BS to sea water stimulated the degradation of weathered crude oil (ANS 521) via the activity of the indigenous marine bacteria. Its addition also stimulated the removal of crude oil from the surface of contaminated sea sand. These results indicate that biosurfactant-containing JE1058BS has a strong potential to be applied as a remediation agent for the clean-up of oil spills at sea and on shorelines. Contact: Bio Research Centre, Japan Energy Corporation, 3-17-35 Niizo-minami, Toda-shi, Saitama 335-0027, Japan. E-mail:

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Bioremediation of pesticides in soil and groundwater

Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) such as DDT, Toxaphene and Dieldrin are very persistent in the environment and can pose a threat to human health and other living organisms. The multinational Adventus Group has developed bioremediation amendments to treat OCPs in soil and groundwater. DARAMEND from Adventus treats recalcitrant compounds such as OCPs.

As OCPs bind strongly to the soil matrix, contamination is limited to the upper few feet of soil, which permits use of readily available equipment for in situ application of the DARAMEND amendments. These amendments support treatment of a number of other organic and inorganic compounds and can thus be used for mixed impacts. The combination of chemical dehalogenation and enzymatic dehalogenation offers a robust treatment approach when bacteria are provided with a suitable carbon source. This chemico-biological treatment method has been successfully applied to soil and groundwater environments.

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Selective catalytic reduction technology

In the United States, Detroit Diesel has demonstrated its production-intent version of Daimlers widely acclaimed BlueTec technology. The fuel-efficient DD13, DD15 and soon-to-debut DD16 family of engines were engineered from the ground up to be integrated with Detroit Diesels new BlueTec, which was developed to meet the specific needs and conditions of the trucking industry in North America. The BlueTecs emissions control system requires little changes to Detroit Diesels base engines.

Like other 2010 selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems, Detroit Diesels BlueTec technology will require diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), a solution of two-thirds pure water and one-third automotive-grade urea, to efficiently treat exhaust gases. DEF reacts with nitrogen oxide (NOx) in an SCR catalyst, reducing the NOx released into the air into nitrogen and water.

The new BlueTec incorporates emissions technology already present on todays vehicles, like the exhaust gas recirculation, diesel oxidation catalyst and diesel particulate filter. SCR systems designed to meet the 2010 emissions standards will also require the truck operator to keep the vehicle filled with DEF and the addition of a few new components. The new SCR components include: the tank, doser and gauge for DEF; SCR catalyst; and after-treatment control module. Contact: Ms. Amy Sills, Detroit Diesel, United States of America. Tel: +1 (503) 7458 535; E-mail:; Or Ms. Maria McCullough, Detroit Diesel, United States of America. Tel: +1 (803) 5783 161; E-mail:


Diesel particulate filter for stationary diesel engines

The California Air Resources Board (CARB), the United States, has verified Johnson Mattheys new CRT (+) diesel particulate filter (DPF) as a Level 3 Plus system capable of reducing particulate matter (PM) by 85 per cent or greater and not increasing emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) beyond the 2009 limit of 20 per cent of baseline NO2 emissions. CRT(+) DPF, which is said to have the lowest regenerating temperature of any DPF technology, also reduces hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by more than 90 per cent.

CARB has conditionally verified the CRT(+) DPF for use in stationary prime generators. The CRT(+) DPF uses a patented process to oxidize soot in the presence of NO2 at a lower temperature than with oxygen. This low temperature is compatible with typical diesel exhaust temperatures, so no supplemental heat is required. This latest generation of the CRT remains a passive device while minimizing NO2 slip.



Scrubbers for greenhouse gas 

Researchers at the University of Calgary, Canada, have developed a carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas scrubber that is nearly ready for global production. The scrubber draws in regular atmospheric air, which includes the reported growing concentrations of CO2. After safely removing the carbon component, it then releases pure oxygen back into the environment.

The new process is very straight-forward. It is a type of continuous chemical bath for the air. A dissolved liquid of sodium hydroxide (lye) and water is sprayed at high intensity across an air flow (5 l/s). Lye is a very strong chemical base typically used in the manufacture of paper and soaps. Yet, it is this strong base that extracts the carbon. A steady, continuous steam of very small droplets shows the most promising conversion efficiency. But, those small droplets have proved difficult for the team to achieve in a sustainable way. The longest period of continuous operation has only been about 8 hours on the prototype scrubber.

In laboratory tests, the scrubber tower was able to reduce concentrations in continuous air flows from 375 ppm to 150 ppm using the spray of 5 l/s. This equates to a unit efficiency of 60 per cent and a theoretical maximum capture rate of 15 t of CO2/m2/y, if used continuously. The team has shown that 150 units distributed worldwide would effectively reduce manmade CO2 emissions to around one-fifth of their current levels.


Wastewater/fuel oil emulsion reduces pollution

Researchers at the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), Taiwan China, have successfully proved a new technology that uses wastewater emulsified fuel oil to reduce pollutants and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in flue gas emissions, and to save energy as well. NCKU researchers employed wastewater to make an emulsified oil (wastewater content 20 per cent with 0.1 per cent surfactant) to evaluate the extent of reductions in both criteria pollutants and PAHs compared with heavy oil fuel and water emulsified oil. The results showed that the wastewater emulsified fuel oil could significantly reduce particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide compared with heavy fuel oil and similar to those from water/oil emulsified fuel. The reductions of total PAH flue gas emissions are 38 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively, for wastewater and water-emulsified fuel, and 63 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively, for total toxic equivalence (BaPeq). In addition to reducing flue gas pollutant emissions, this technique also facilitates safe disposal of industrial wastewater and saves about 13 per cent of energy in boiler operation, making wastewater emulsified fuel oil highly suitable for use in boilers.


Cummins has full confidence in its SCR

In the United States, in spite of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerns that the copper zeolite it intends to employ in its 2010 engines could produce carcinogenic dioxins, Cummins has full confidence that after further testing EPA will see that copper zeolite is a safe and effective solution for meeting 2010 emissions regulations.

The main reason for Cummins confidence is that its selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system will not produce dioxins stems from the molecular structure of its copper zeolite catalyst, explained Mr. Steve Charlton, Cummins Vice President, Heavy-duty Engineering. The molecular structure of the zeolite cages the copper in very small tunnels that allow the passage of ammonia from the urea and nitrogen oxides but not of large hydrocarbons. Those hydrocarbon molecules are simply too big to fit into those tunnels, meaning the chances they can come into contact with the copper to produce a reaction are extremely small, Mr. Charlton said. Research by Cummins also indicates copper zeolite may have a slight advantage over iron zeolite in terms of longevity, offering better thermal stability and reduced degradation over time.

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Technology to fight industrial pollution and global warming

In the United States, Nectar Design has developed a method for combating industrial pollution and global warming that takes advantage of a product designed by the Nature herself the tree. The CO2 Scraper is a large-scale construction for holding 200 to 400 large-size trees that will absorb potentially dangerous pollutants and convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into breathable oxygen. Designed to be placed close to factories or other major sources of pollution, the CO2 Scraper is a relatively simple concrete construction in which trees will be supplied with water and nutrients via a windmill-powered pump system. Primarily energy self-sustaining (the only outside power required would be electricity for an elevator to be used by maintenance crew), the Scraper will be carbon positive it will absorb CO2 and increase the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere.

The structure will also provide a significant amount of shade, while also cooling the air during the hot summer months via transpiration by the trees. It will be relatively inexpensive to build roughly equivalent in cost to building industrial smokestacks. Contact: Nectar Design, 1332 Gladys Avenue, Long Beach, California 90804 United States of America. Tel: +1 (562) 856 8500; E-mail:; Website:


Scrubber for coal exhaust

A new technology that could dramatically reduce the amount of pollutants emitted from coal-burning power plants is near commissioning at Colorado Springs, the United States. A medium-scale test of the Neumann Systems Group air purification device has been completed recently at the Drake Power Plant and a large-scale test has been scheduled. Results of tests thus far show the filter can remove up to 99.9 per cent of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, and between 40-60 per cent of carbon dioxide from the coal exhaust. The system works by passing the scrubber exhaust through a liquid solution that traps and removes the contaminants. The cleaned exhaust is then sent out the exhaust stack.



Sol-Gel Methods for Materials Processing: Focusing on Materials for Pollution Control, Water Purification and Soil Remediation

The book offers a wide and updated overview of the most advanced sol-gel methods for materials processing and at the same time presents several case studies concerning possible solutions for environmental issues. In this volume, several contributions from invited speakers and participants at the NATO advanced research workshop on Sol-gel approaches to materials for pollution control, water purification and soil remediation, held in Kiev, Ukraine, in October 2007, are reported. General articles on sol-gel from the invited speakers and focused research articles allow getting inside sol-gel applications on this very important field.

Contact: Springer Asia Limited, Unit 1703, Tower I, Enterprise Square, 9 Sheung Yuet Road, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2723 9698; Fax: +852 2724 2366; E-mail:

Feedstock Recycling and Pyrolysis of Waste Plastics: Converting Waste Plastics into Diesel and Other Fuels

This book provides an overview of the science and technology of pyrolysis of waste plastics. It describes the types of plastics that are suitable for pyrolysis recycling, the mechanism of pyrolytic degradation of various plastics, characterization of the pyrolysis products and details of commercially mature pyrolysis technologies. It also covers co-pyrolysis technology, including waste plastic/waste oil, waste plastics/coal and waste plastics/rubber.

Recently, pyrolysis technology has matured to the point where commercial plants are available. Pyrolysis recycling of mixed waste plastics into generator and transportation fuels is seen as the answer for recovering value from unwashed, mixed plastics and achieving their desired diversion from landfill.

Contact: Customer Service Department, John Wiley and Sons (Asia) Pte. Ltd., 2, Clementi Loop #02-01 LogisHub@Clementi, Singapore 129809. Tel: +65 64 63 2400; Fax: +65 6463 4604; E-mail:


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