The VALOR project is a partnership between Dublin City University and the waste management industry that aims to investigate higher value options for the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) and formulate strategies to minimise its disposal to landfill. We aim to fill the knowledge gaps related with the environmental uncertainty of using bio-stabilized residual waste and digestates, from OFMSW, and validate the use of these materials as added value products.
VALOR targets difficult waste streams generated from the mechanical treatment of municipal solid waste. The OFMSW is generated by the mechanical processing of residual waste (e.g general waste, black bin waste) and once it is subject to composting treatment it produces bio-stabilised residual waste (BSRW).
The potential recovery of municipal residual waste organic fraction will be investigated by:
- Conduct diagnostic tests to assess the most practical higher value options such as a soil amendment and production of biofuels.
- Evaluate potential contaminants in the waste streams, with particular emphasis in plastic contamination;
- Assess risks and benefits of the end use recovery processes and validation of the most suitable ones;
This project is funded under the Environmental Protection Agency Research Programme 2014-2020 and by the Southern Waste Region. The EPA Research Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
The VALOR project will:
- explore the generation of high value products from organic waste streams, contributing to a reduction in the disposal of biodegradable waste to landfill;
- investigate the production of biofuels (biomethane, bioethanol and biodiesel) from organic mixed waste streams, positively impacting sustainable energy production and the circular economy;
- validate the use of municipal waste compost as soil improver in soil remediation/restoration;
- contribute to the achievement of European/National landfill reduction targets;
- inform national waste management policy and end of waste criteria;
- General waste composition is known to be highly heterogenic. The mechanical process to which general waste is subjected is very dynamic contributing to further challenges in the characterizations of the OFMSW waste stream. Waste heterogeneity can greatly impact potential recovery options, limiting its chain value;
- Lack of specific European guidelines for organic residues from residual waste leads to the existence of in-country regulations that differ between European countries;
- Policy and social resistance towards the recovery of waste streams generated from municipal solid waste, linked to human and animal health and environmental risks;
- Existence of uncertainties of potential soil & water contamination by heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants and exogenous contaminants.
Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
Enrich Environmental Ltd, Co. Meath, Ireland