Innovation: Pneumatic collection of household waste

Where ?
At Romainville, in Seine-Saint-Denis.
Who ?
The City of Romainville, the Ile-de-France, Veolia Environmental Services.
Why ?
Implement an innovative system of waste collection.

Here’s an innovative idea, why not create a waste stream as it is a waste water circuit. No need to collect, and then removing the carbon footprint associated with the flow of dump trucks. It is well known that in the life cycle of a product transport costs a lot to our planet. The other major interest is to remove noise, smell and sight. Forget garbage and stinking cat that shreds garbage for the hurt.

Veolia team Romainville several neighborhoods of a fixed system of vacuum waste collection.

Veolia team Romainville several neighborhoods of a fixed system of vacuum waste collection.

Promising technology

What is very interesting with this technology is that it is possible to multiply at will the collection skips with different types of waste. Each type of waste will have its passing time through the pipe. This separation will save the manual sorting. One can even imagine having a direct collection of WEEE / lamps / split pins at home or in his building.

Trash of the system

The cost of developing this technology is estimated at 1.2 billion euros.


Source: Veolia


China Is the worldwide reservoir of rare earths?

This article complements that already done with rare earths [HERE].

China is now the only producing country but the Asian giant has probably less than 50% of the reserves of rare earths present in the earth’s surface. In 2010, China has provided 97% of world production of rare earths, but has consumed just over half. Apart fromthe United States, soon to restart mining, the largest consumers are Japan, Germany and France.

World map of rare earth producing countries and consuming countries for 2009 and 2010

World map of rare earth producing countries and consuming countries for 2009 and 2010

This atlas created by the firm “SIA Conseil“, (translated by me), from geological data, illustrates the uneasy around these metals particularly strategic: the applicant countries are poor in minerals. Hence the need for Europe to position itself on mining projects that start outside, particularly in Asia and Africa.

China mines over 95pc of the world’s rare earth minerals and is looking to hoard its resources.

China mines over 95pc of the world’s rare earth minerals and is looking to hoard its resources.

The problem of rare earths is still full.

Source : []

The resource “waste” a real gold mine for Europe

A study by the European Commission published on 13January, the full implementation of EU legislation on wastewould save 72 billion euros per year, to increase the annual turnover of the sector (EU) for the management and waste recycling of 42 billion and create over 400,000 jobs by 2020.

Each person consumes sixteen tons of resources per year in the European Union, of which six become waste, half taking the lead in landfills. In many Member States, the landfill is the preferred option for waste management. This intolerable situation persisted despite the existing EU legislation in this area.

Improve the implementation has significant advantages

The European waste management and recycling is very dynamic, but the economic opportunities still a huge potential for development. In 2008, turnover of 145 billion represented about 1% of EU GDP and 2 million jobs. Compliance with the EU policy contribute to the emergence of a strong sector of 2.4 million jobs and making a total annual turnover of 187 billion euros.

next Steps

The study findings will be reviewed and analyzed by the Commission. As recommended by the Road Map for Europe in the effective use of resources and the Thematic Strategy on waste prevention, they will inform the development of a balanced mix of legal and economic instruments. These strategies aim to encourage economic incentives and legal, such as taxes or bans on landfill, the extension of producer responsibility systems and the introduction of charging systems based on the volume waste (pay as you throw).

Recycling of rare earths, a global issue

Essential to manufacture of new technologies, rare earths have become a strategic issue.However, China concentrated 97% of current production. To bypass the monopoly, somanufacturers are looking alternatives such as recycling.

Rare earth elements or rare earth metals are a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium.

Many of these elements have unique properties that make them useful in many applications (see below):

  • Components for electric and hybrid vehicles,
  • Metal alloys,
  • dyes,

A French company leader in the recycling of rare earth

World leader in formulations based on rare earths, Rhodia has developed a new process for recovery and separation of rare earths contained in the energy-saving lamps used. Outcome of research programs conducted by Rhodia for many years in the life cycle of its products, the recycling industry original powder phosphors opens new environmental and economic perspectives at the European level.

Les lanthanides ont des propriétés magnétique, optique et chimique inégalables.  Once collected and sorted, the lamps used to date are handled by specialized companies that value then the components (glass, metals, plastics, mercury). Phosphor powders, concentrated in rare earths, are for their disposal. With the new process developed by Rhodia, they can now be recycled in the Group’s plants in Saint-Fons (69) and then to La Rochelle (17), it holds a unique expertise in Europe in terms of separation of rare earth.

Source: Eco-infoLe Monde

Paprec VS Veolia

Comparison of two treatment WEEE plants

Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment is regulated by Directive 2002/96/EC, which sets the following goals:
• 4 kg of WEEE separately collected per year per inhabitant
• Reuse and recycling between 50 and 80% of the weight of the equipment,
• Recovery of between 70 and 80% of the weight of the devices.

Valdelec plant

Veolia plant


VALDELEC PAPREC is a factory specializing in the dismantling of WEEE. There are four processing platforms including one located in Chambery. The company specializes in the manual dismantling of WEEE. The sorting of the individual components allowsorientation of recycling specialist.


The all-new plant-Clean Veolia treats four categories of electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) and GEM (white goods cold), PAM (mixed small devices), monitors (LCD, plasma, CRT) and  professionals waste.

Recycling rates

For gray goods (WEEE computer and office), the average recycling rate of 75% is greater than the statutory rate which is requiredby 65%. In detail, a unit is recycled to 98% (all components combined), a CRT (TV or computer) to 80% (this is easily done since the glass plate is 40% recyclable by weight of the unit).

Recycling rates

Valuing is above the regulatory objectives: 88% against 75% according to the decree. The electronic boards are not processed atthe plant but sent to specialized recyclers. These are some 26,000 tonnes of WEEE being treated per year. Overall, 90% by weight of PC is upgraded, the rest is almost completely recovered as energy.

Examples flat panels

To date, there is no technical process to dismantle and recycle flat screens compounds (televisions or computers). This technologyis recent, there is not enough WEEE tonnages (flat panels represent 5% of total treated screens) that would justify investment in processes for reprocessing. Flat screens contain indium oxide which is not currently recyclable. The solution today is heat treated toneutralize components (grinding is not possible because of certain hazardous compounds).

Recycling of screens

the dismantling of the screens is manual and takes about 5 minutes for a CRT monitor against from 20 to 25 minutes for a flat screen. These currently account for only 5% of treated screens. In terms of CRT tubes are recycled in closed loop since there is stillan Asian market for this type of screen. All plastics are not recyclable: for thermoset (epoxy resins), for example, only the energy recovery is possible. By cons, in terms thermoplastics, the process is reversible and it is possible to enhance the material

I think

This plant has limitations and difficulties in implementing a recycling of WEEE. The legislation is more restrictive but the control of contractors is not easy, especially when the level of outsourcing increases, which is often the case. In addition, the mixing of differentplastics for example, and the use of hazardous substances penalize waste and reduce their value.

I think

the difficulties of this plant:
Insufficient supply (this confirms the numbers of ADEME on the rate of WEEE recycled now)
Complexity of devices (many pieces, many materials) that make recycling more difficult
Little dialogue with manufacturers to facilitate recycling, it seems that eco-design stops short of taking into account a significant improvement in recycling


Pinocchio Award for Sustainable Development


The 2011 Pinocchio Awards for Sustainable Development is open to the publicvotes. The Friends of the Earth holds, as every year, the Pinocchio price to denounce the greenwashing of some French companies.

in 2011, on the international level, no one ever contest the environmental and social urgency. Nevertheless, the big companies as important economical players have hardly progressed in terms of corporate social and environmental responsibility. It’s time to stop saying one thing and mean another. Who lies? Who is only green on the outside?

This year the nominees are grouped in three categories:


One for all , all for me!

Tereos – Sime Darby – Blue Car (Bolloré)
Awarded to the company that led the most aggressive policy in terms of ownership and exploitation of natural resources.

  Greener than Green

 Vinci – Veolia – The Observatory of Offline Media (OHM)                      Awarded to the company that led the communications campaign the most abusiveand deceptive in terms of its actual activities.

 Dirty Hands, pockets full

– Societe Generale  – Perenco Finance – Toreador
Awarded to the company that conducted the most successful policy in terms of opacity and lobbying.

To participate go to page 2011 Pinocchio Awards :

Pinocchio Awards


Recycling, a challenge for Europe

The EU is trying to reduce their imports of raw materials by improving methods of recovery and recycling. But it remains one of the leading exporters of waste.

Despite the European initiatives to promote waste as a resource for secondary raw material. They are often sent by boat to theemerging Asia (mostly China) instead of being reused in Europe.

Europe is losing this wealth.

A worker in China heats a circuit board to recover valuable metals at an informal e-waste recycling facility. Such sites produce toxic pollution and are also less efficient than industrial recycling operations. (StEP-EMPA)

Waste exports from Europe are not limited to illegal and dangerous substances, where you can see poor laborers dismantle all types of waste in India, from simple battery to the old warship containing asbestos .

These exports of 7.8 million tons of shipments include legal non-hazardous waste such as metals, paper and plastic. These wastes need not be reported to the extent that they have significant economic value and are a source of secondary raw materialsfor emerging countries.

The rules and environmental standards of the Union encourage exports, domestic recycling that can lead to cost. It is stupid to promote exports of waste, waste is a treasure. It is a mine of raw materials, only it is dirty and needs to be cleanedbefore use.

Imports of copper and other scrap metal, for example, are tax exempt in many countries. While copper and easy even for recyclingscrap metal, metal prices being constantly increased, do not recycle our metals and an economic mistake.


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