Let me introduce my self in terms of waste management “ideology”. I strongly believe in two core concepts.
Waste management systems are social systems with technical dimensions and not the opposite. Thus every waste management planning and infrastructure should be considered as a social interference with certain social, environmental and technical dimensions that should be considered. I give great importance to what is known as “stakeholders participation” in preparation, designing and implementing SWM systems and I believe strongly that a large part of my career, both national and international, has been based on this concepts.
Sustainability in SWM systems is a result of systemic approaches and interactions rather than technologies applied. So I am committed to no specific technology – instead I feel obliged to propose the application of the technical solutions that are more appropriate to the social development level and systems that will increase the social understanding of the SWM issues and change the customer’s behavior on a long term basis.
In this framework, I consider that we have to be very careful and proactive regarding the waste management legislation evolution in each country since it is, especially in EU, the most important driver for the waste management infrastructure and improvement. I have participated in the formulation of a lot of regulations in Greece, Egypt, and Hungary and recently in Romania and I recognize the high importance of legal issues in order to create the appropriate environment to drive waste management forward.
I strongly believe that a common as well as problematic approach to waste management is that we tend to focus just at the end of the life cycle (treatment – disposal) while the first steps of generation, recycling, storage and collection – transportation are left out of the scope of work, although those phases of life cycle deem to be much more crucial for citizens and their behavior. I believe that an increase in interest for collection – transportation impacts in the overall waste management life cycle becomes much more interesting in our days, as the climate change criteria take an important role in decision making for waste management options and activities.
I also consider Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT), as well as organic fraction source separation, as very important tools for waste management. MBT applications are a rela bridge to connect any kind of separate waste management activities and I fully support the idea that they must be a part of almost any integrated waste management system.
Regarding thermal treatment I think it is not a disaster, as sometimes it is presented, but it is not also the solution for every problem (as also sometimes is presented). It is a powerful but expensive technology tha has to be applied in the same conditions as the other waste management technologies, only if it is suitable socially, financially and environmentally affordable.