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  Maja Wiprächtiger, ETH Zürich

Summary Waste offers great additional energy potential

The joint project “Waste management to support the energy turnaround” investigated how and to what extent waste management can support the transformation of the Swiss energy system. This synthesis integrates the findings on municipal solid waste management in eight thematic areas and derives seven core statements as well as nine recommendations for action for the relevant stakeholders.

Introduction Energy has only played a secondary role until now

This Swiss waste management system is characterised by large per capita volumes, high collection rates and its extremely federal organisational structure. A problematic issue, from an energy-policy perspective, is the minor importance of energy and secondary product sales for the business success of waste incineration plants.

Challenges – cross-project findings Analysis of waste flows and relationships reveals potential

In order to optimise the energetic effects of waste, a reliable data base must first be created. The greatest improvements are likely to come from large categories of waste, an improvement in the energy efficiency of MSWI plants and more effective cooperation between the various stakeholders.

Challenges – core messages Optimise the worthwhile elements and the system as a whole

Plastic, paper and cardboard as well as the energy efficiency of MSWI plants are among those elements of the Swiss waste management system that offer the greatest potential for improvement. It is important to always consider the entire life cycle and the system as a whole when assessing improvement potentials and proposing future developments.

Recommendations Nine recommendations for more energy-efficient waste management

The findings from the joint project “Waste management to support the energy turnaround” have been brought together to make concrete recommendations for action that are specifically geared towards the relevant stakeholders in the Swiss municipal waste system.

All information provided on these pages corresponds to the status of knowledge as of 29.03.2020. Publication details