GB No. 5-6, summer-fall 1991
The inhabitants of 6 settlements of Katowice (Upper Silesia), as the first ones in Poland, have started source separation of domestic waste.
The old containers have been replaced with the new colourful ones. Paper and cardboard is put to blue containers, cans to the red ones, glass to the green ones, organic wastes to the brown ones and the remaining staff to the black ones. Batteries are collected in separate pockets placed in the green containers. The biomass which makes up the biggest portion of the waste (about 60%) is transported to the local compost plant. The plant is able to process 100,000 tons of waste annually.
The city council has decided that sorting is obligatory and people breaking the new regulation are prosecuted trust that the quality of the compost will improve from now on. Beforehand the compost was contaminated with heavy metals mainly due to the fact that the waste included used batteries. Therefore the compost could not be used for agriculture.
Next year source separation will become obligatory for all inhabitants of Katowice (400,000 people). This way the amount of the waste deposited on the refuse dump should be reduced by 50%.
The cost of the first part of the project (new containers, advertising the idea) has amounted to 200 million zl (USD200,000) so far. It will requi- re 1800 million zl (USD180,000) more.
A French company Compagnie Generale de Chauffe (65, rue de Bercy, 750 12 Paris, FRANCE) is going to build an incinerating plant in Tychy (Upper Silesia). The plant will be able to burn 100,000 tons of domestic waste per year. The rubbish is planned to be collected from the area within a radius of 30 km round the city and from the city itself. This area is inhabited by 0.5 million people but only 20% of them "produce" waste which can be incinerated. The others heat their places using coal. Therefore the portion of the ashes in the waste is too high to use it as a fuel in an incinerator.
The plant is to make electricity and to become a part of a central heating system. But produced heat will be used only during a winter - in warmer seasons will be wasted.
Due to the fact that the organic fraction makes up till 70% of the waste and that the waste is very humid (up till 50%) it will be incinerated in the temperature of 850 C. It is much to low to destroy created dioxins and furans. (There is nothing about them in a whole project.) After removing metal elements the ashes will be used for roads' construction (according to French project). The concentration of oxygen, carbon dioxide, sulphuric acid and dusts in the combustion gases will be controlled automatically. Waste-water from the plant will be discharged to sewerage without cleaning. Proposed limits of emitted pollutants seem not to keep even very liberal Polish standards.
The agreement to be signed between the French investor (being also a future owner of the plant) and the city authorities says that the city is obliged to provide the plant with the waste of proper calority and take away dusts left after exhaust cleaning. (About 5 tons per year.) It means that local community will have to build a toxic waste dump as well. (There is no toxic waste dump in a whole Katowice province.) The charge for burning 1 ton of waste will amount to FRF350 (about USD60). It will be much higher if we take into consideration the costs of garbage collection, transport and final disposal.
The investor expects that the higher the standard of living will be the bigger portion of waste will be burnable and the calority will grow, too. It will allow to develop the project.
We support the project going on in Katowice but oppose that one in Tychy. We also think that the government should introduce regulations (e.g. similiar to German waste packaging ordinance) to reduce waste flow. During last two years the volume of domestic waste in Poland has grown by 40% mainly because of mass food (and packages) import from the West.