WISARD spells out waste options

The Environment Agency (EA) is calling for information on new and emerging waste management technologies for a software package used to inform waste management decisions across the country. The software - a waste management Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool known as WISARD - compares the environmental merits of waste management options.

LCA is an environmental modelling technique used to identify the total environmental impacts of a product or service – from the extraction of raw materials to the final assimilation of any waste to the environment. In the context of waste management, it ensures proper credit is given for any materials and energy recovered from wastes by accounting for the savings made in virgin production.

Martin Brocklehurst, head of waste strategy at the EA said: “The waste challenge for communities is to find alternatives to landfill. WISARD allows decision-makers to identify more environmentally sustainable solutions for municipal wastes through developing integrated solutions from the techniques that are available and comparing their environmental life cycle implications.”

The EA’s project to provide improved LCA software presents a unique opportunity for those working on new waste technologies. Currently, WISARD only provides information on the most tried and tested technologies in the UK market and the EA is now seeking to address this.

More than 50 local authorities and others in the UK have used WISARD in the development of regional and municipal waste management strategies. Recently it was used by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in the development of the Scottish National Waste Plan.

Since the publication of Waste Strategy 2000, the EA has been committed to improving the software and extending the data to reflect the range of options that are now, and will become, available. The technologies to be covered include mechanical biological treatment, advanced thermal treatments and in-vessel composting.

For further information please contact Bernie Thomas at: bernie.thomas@environment-agency.gov.uk.

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