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Expanding in Europe

Rekom is strengthening the company’s engagement in the European waste market, starting in the UK, Netherlands and Germany. Waste that would otherwise be placed in landfills is instead sent to Scandinavia for energy recover. This is a climate friendly solution, despite transportation over long distances.

Published 18. November 2014

 

“We started slowly in the beginning of 2013 and we will during 2014 collect between 30,000 and 40,000 tonnes of waste from England and Ireland. We are in a developmental phase, but plan to win a larger share of the market in the coming years. The initial target is an annual import from the United Kingdom of about 250,000 tonnes by 2017”, says Peder Barrling, Rekom’s Head of Operations in Europe.

 

Has knowledge of the market

“There is currently a European waste market, and we want to be a part of this. In addition we have extensive knowledge of both the British and Scandinavian waste markets, and we saw possibilities here. Rekom is trusted in the Scandinavian market and has built up a good brand there” says Peder Barrling.

The waste from the UK is currently sent by ship to ports in Sweden, and from autumn 2014 one or two vessels per month will transport up to three thousand tons of waste on board each ship. The waste consists of both RDF and Municipal solid waste (MSW). In Sweden, the waste from the UK is used for district heating and electricity.

"This is a win-win situation. Britain disposes of waste that would otherwise have been dumped on polluting landfills, and Scandinavia requires waste to generate heat and electricity. For example, Sweden has a well-developed district heating network, so waste from Norway and other countries are sent to Sweden for environmentally friendly energy utilization. In a longer perspective, we also have plans to ship waste from the UK to both Norway and Denmark, but we are currently focusing on Sweden", says Barrling, who is Swedish himself, and operates Rekom's Swedish office.

 

Good for the climate

Importing of waste from the UK market to Scandinavia is an environmental "Kinder Egg" which Barrling receives support from researchers. The Swedish research institute Profu AB, working within energy, waste and environmental issues. Profu AB has issued a report which shows that even when emissions from ship transportations are taken into account, CO2 emissions are reduced up till 400 kilos for each ton of waste that is sent to Swedish combined heat and power plants, instead of being dumped in landfills.

“Looking at this from a societal perspective, importing of waste to Scandinavia is an effective way to reduce the greenhouse effect”, says Mårten Haraldsson at Profu AB. He also refers to several research derived from the "Waste Refinery" research program.

"Reduction of greenhouse gases is significant despite the fact that the waste contains combustible fossil materials, such as plastics, and the reduction is major even if the waste is transported long distances. The climate benefits from combustion replacing landfilling, and the utilizing of waste as an energy resource, producing electricity and district heating", says Haraldsson.

 

Bellona: - Positively surprised

The Norwegian environmental organization Bellona has been positively surprised by how climate-friendly carrying British waste to Sweden proves to be.

“We were surprised when we saw the numbers. There is a significant climate benefit in this. If we are to take waste seriously as a resource, we must accept that it is moveable and can be sent to wherever it is needed", adviser Karl Kristensen in Bellona stated to the Norwegian news channel, NRK.