Energy

Streamlining renewable energy cycle

Summary

For the last 20 -30 years, renewable energy has become more popular with government and companies investing in renewable power facilities. Because of new technologies and components used in renewable energy projects, waste stream quantities are evolving, which results in […]

For the last 20 -30 years, renewable energy has become more popular with government and companies investing in renewable power facilities. Because of new technologies and components used in renewable energy projects, waste stream quantities are evolving, which results in environmental and health hazards. However, recent developments provide excellent approaches to address this issue for sustainable renewable projects. We will discuss two examples:

California: Solar panel waste management

California Department of Toxic Substances Control (CDTSC) announced that starting 1st January 2021, California’s universal waste program will begin to accommodate the risky solar panels waste. This will help to boost the recycling of solar panels and keeping them from landfills. Before the new Regulation starts functioning, risky solar panels’ waste would be managed and treated as dangerous wastes instead of universal waste. 

In this Regulation, generators do not need to pass through the procedure to determine whether they contain risky materials in the panel. 

The following are streamlined universal waste requirements:

Accumulation time

The universal waste can accumulate on the site for a period of up to a year. Risky waste generators will accumulate on-site for a period of 90, 180, and 270 days based on their classification category. They are classified as a Large Quantity Generator (LQG) and Small Quantity Generator (SQG. This means that the general overhead costs will decrease since the waste will not be picked up and transported more frequently. 

Transportation

Universal waste handlers need to have proper record maintenance of all waste received and transported from the facility. Also, universal waste needs not to be shipped using a hazardous waste transporter. 

DTSC expects to save approximately $18 million as a result of streamlining the recycling, collection, and disposal process. This regulation would also have statewide benefits totalling over $91 million. 

Germany: Waste batteries management

Germany is the electric vehicle technology leader, together with its environmental effects. The German Batteries Act (BattG) intends to reduce the negative effects of waste batteries and accumulators. On 17th September 2020, there was an amendment of the BattG by the German federal parliament (the Bundestag), which will come to effect on 1st January 2021. The amendment is for streamlining waste batteries’ collection and disposal and boosting healthy competitions between companies. 

In this amendment, the manufacturers are required to have taken-back schemes approved by relevant authorities. Failure to adhere to the recycling and take-back provisions has made Tesla to be fined $14 million. This has led Tesla to file an objection, and it hopes this will not harm its business. 

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