Do you know the difference between the environmental impacts of burning 20,000 tonnes of household waste in a local power
station or sending it 50 miles for composting? Well that is exactly the sort of question waste managers will be able to
answer with new software launched by the Environment Agency.
WRATE (Waste and Resources Assessment Tool for the Environment) has been launched to help waste managers assess the environmental impacts of different ways of managing
Liz Parkes, Head of Waste, Environment Agency said; “We have to divert millions of tonnes of waste from landfill over the
next few years. 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”.
WRATE is a user-friendly and flexible life cycle tool. Waste managers can easily model the way they want to manage waste
just by dragging and dropping colourful icons for the software to calculate the environmental impacts.
WRATE includes the latest waste technologies and is designed so that new technologies to the market can easily be added. John Ferguson, Waste Resources Unit Manager at the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency said “WRATE is a huge step forward for sustainable waste management. It's so easy to
use and has the latest technologies. 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”.
WRATE uses life cycle assessment to identify and quantify all the emissions from managing the 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.
WRATE includes data for:
· 32 types of containers
· 25 forms of transport
· 12 types of intermediate facilities (e.g. transfer station)
· 24 different recycling processes
· 43 Treatment & Recovery processes (including energy/heat recovery, 8 different composting systems and 6 types of landfill site) Life cycle assessment is ideal for waste management because:
· it includes all the environmental costs and
benefits related to managing waste;
· it shows where changes will be most effective and efficient for the environment;
· it identifies where an improvement in one place would make something else worse.