Software to rate waste tech eco-impacts

A system designed to help councils examine the environmental impact of different waste technologies has been launched by the Environment Agency.

The software, called the Waste and Resources Assessment Tool for the Environment (WRATE), is a tool that lets waste managers model the effect of different methods of managing their waste – from collection to disposal.

“We have to divert millions of tonnes of waste from landfill over the next few years,” said Liz Parkes, head of waste at the Environment Agency.

“While we need to reduce the amount of waste we create in the first place, we must also ensure that we manage the waste we do produce in the most environmentally responsible way.

“WRATE will help those managing household waste, particularly local authorities, by comparing the potential environmental impacts such as global warming, acid rain or the nitrification of our rivers and how these impacts can be altered by changing the way they manage the waste.

“This could include the way it is collected, stored, sorted, transported and then recycled or disposed of.”

The software uses a life cycle assessment to identify and quantify all the emissions from managing waste – from the type of containers used, such as wheelie bins, right through to final recovery or disposal and including all the transport methods used to transfer the waste.

John Ferguson, waste resources unit manager at the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency said: “Waste managers will be able to use WRATE to plan the next generation of waste management facilities knowing the full environmental impacts of their decisions.

“This must help develop the integrated, sustainable waste management systems we need to meet the challenges of the Landfill Directive and climate change.”

Dana Gornitzki

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