In the 1986 Waste Act, the hierarchy-rule" (avoid-reduce-recycle) was codified. Growing mountains of waste nevertheless remained a problem, but no one wanted new landfills. Thus, in 1991, a referendum was held in Bavaria between the "Better Waste Concept" of a citizens' initiative and the state government's draft for a "Bavarian Waste and Contaminated Sites Act", which narrowly prevailed.
From now on, waste was supposed to be mainly incinerated. Plant capacities had to be created for this purpose. But waste incineration plants did not have a good reputation. They were apostrophised - not unjustifiably at the time with a view to the past - as "dioxin slingshots". Despite massively tightened emission limits as early as 1990, there was great resistance to such plants.
More than 1,500 completed projects
In this field of tension, the state government, together with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Augsburg and Swabia and the City of Augsburg, founded the "Bayerische Institut für Abfallforschung GmbH (BIfA)“. in 1991. The first bifa-projects focused on thermal and biological waste treatment. The world's first project to investigate the immission situation around a waste incineration plant before and up to 10 years after commissioning had a major impact - and no negative influence was found.
Today, we at bifa hardly talk about waste management any more, but about a circular economy that is closely intertwined with climate change and resource scarcity. Whereas in the 1990s the "environmental compartments" water - air - soil were still largely considered separately, today we have the "system in view". In the first report of the IPCC it was still said that "there is little empirical evidence of human-induced climate change". Today, things are different, and the 1.5 degree target is only achievable with significantly decreasing resource intensity and strongly increasing efficiency. We are not running out of work. bifa's "founding generation" is approaching retirement, but our young employees are enthusiastically taking over, and so I am firmly convinced that bifa has many more successful years ahead of it.
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You are welcome to contact me:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Rommel