All about the biobin
bifa assess the quality of the collected waste, checks its biological recoverability and evaluates hygiene aspects of the methods and products. Furthermore, it also produces feasibility studies for biological treatment plants, especially fermentation plants. With the identification of ecoefficiency reserves, not only on the treatment method level but also for municipal disposal structures, bifa makes an important contribution to improving the ecoefficiency of the whole waste industry and the current waste management discussions about the biobin.
Biowaste treatment: Without further pretreatment, waste collected via the biobin is not equally suited for all treatment methods. The material and energy potential of low-structure biomaterial and food waste can be best used in fermentation with biogas utilisation and subsequent material recovery of the fermentation residues. Biomaterial with good physical structure, such as plant material rich in lignin and cellulose, can be readily degraded aerobically by composting. Highly woody constituents with low aerobic degradability are best used in energy recovery processes.
If a fermentation stage is installed upstream, material and energy use can be intensified ecoefficiently in existing composting plants in the form of cascade use. If fermentation and composting plants are managed well, there are few environmental differences between these alternative treatments. In the case of fermentation processes, the environmental performance of individual plants can be improved significantly by establishing technical solutions to reduce emissions – which are often already provided for in new plants – and by expanding heat use or sale. If the plant is operated according to good technical practice standards, partial/fully enclosed composting and continuous fermentation are advantageous compared to cotreatment of biomaterial as part of the residual waste in the waste incineration plant.
Introduction of a biobin: Ecology and costs in the balance
bifa investigates the ecological, economic and legal effects of the introduction of separate household biomaterial collection in the so-called "white" (non-industrial???) districts in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland Palatinate.
Apart from the regional settlement structure, the attractiveness of existing collection systems and planned organisation of biomaterial collection, PR work also contributes to the successful or failed implementation of a new collection system. Analyses of the recoverable material potential in residual waste and investigation of the collection system used to date provide the basis on which basic data can be derived for collection quantity, quality and composition of the biobin.
The additional costs for a municipality associated with the introduction of the additional biobin collection and container system are offset by cost reductions for the collection and disposal of a reduced residual waste flow.
Life cycle assessment: From the view of the life cycle assessment, if the whole biowaste disposal structure is considered, in most cases the introduction of separate household collection and subsequent fermentation of the collected biomaterial tends to result in fewer but systematic environmental advantages compared to a collection structure without the biobin. The greater the quantity of biomaterial collected the clearer the environmental advantage becomes. When organising the collection, control instruments are to be provided, which cause high exploitation rates to be realised in households and ensures that a high degree of single waste type homogeneity is achieved.
In the discussion of the economic and environmental cost-benefit ratio or the economic reasonableness mentioned in German waste management and recycling law ("Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz"), consideration of the respective basic local conditions is always indispensible. However, until now, legal decisions have not yet provided any conclusive formulation of the reasonableness limit and none is expected in the near future.