Brazil’s large landmass encompasses some 5,500 cities which in total produce about 150 thousand tonnes of solid waste per day between them. Currently around 50% of this waste goes to open air landfill, but new legislation brought into force from November 2010 means that this is all set to change.
The British Embassy in Brasilia, working with the IATC (International Agri-Technology Centre) has led the way in aiding a change in waste mentality by organising an inward mission on anaerobic digestion and waste management for a delegation of high level Brazilian officials.
The group, which includes 10 Mayors from Brazilian cities plus the Secretaries of the Environment of two major states in Brazil, begin their visit on Monday 21st March. The trip has been set-up by the IATC’s dedicated and knowledgeable staff to give a real awareness for how British expertise in waste management is leading the way in reducing landfill, and how it could ultimately aid Brazilian cities.
The Brazilian ‘National Policy on Solid Waste’ legislation means new and existing open landfill sites are banned, and therefore all municipalities will be required to treat their solid waste, with landfill only allowed for any material which cannot be composted or recycled. Failure to adhere to new rules could involve Mayors being criminally charged.
The IATC is helping to highlight what is possible for Brazil’s cities, including anaerobic digestion. This is an approach that the British government has been keen to promote via its commercial policy within Brazil, using British technology at the forefront of its actions.
Paula Twinn from the IATC said: "This is an amazing inward mission which will highlight British design and engineering prowess to decision makers from one of the world’s largest and still growing economies and populations. It is believed that demand for this kind of waste management technology will be very strong from Brazil once there is a realisation of what can be achieved."
In Birmingham, the group will visit International Synergies, which runs NISP (National Industrial Symbiosis Programme), an organisation which helps connect waste producers with waste users and recyclers.
The delegation then heads to Bristol to visit two anaerobic digestion facilities installed by Kirk Environmental, and look at Biogen Greenfinch’s site near Rushden, Northamptonshire. This plant can process several thousand tonnes of food waste annually, supplying electricity for homes and feeding back to the national grid.
On the final day they will be in London visiting West London Composting, the largest vessel facility of its kind in Europe today for bulk composting, and listening to presentations from several UK companies, as well as the Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Trade Association, to learn about other technologies available in the UK.
Paula Abreu, Trade Development Manager at UK Trade and Investment in Brazil believes that the UK has a lot to contribute for the success of the Brazilian National Policy of Solid Waste’s implementation. She adds that: "UKTI has been working to demonstrate that the technology turns an environmental problem into a resource that generates clean electricity and reduce carbon emissions."
This event will be the last one in the IATC calendar, which last week announced its closure at the end of March due to the budgets cuts announced by BIS, and the coalition Government’s decision to close all of the Regional Development Agencies, including Advantage West Midlands who have been the major sponsors of IATC.