The Waste Management segment handles a total waste volume of around two million tonnes a year at 24 facilities. Due to modern logistics and the extensive network of facilities, this waste is collected, treated, thermally processed or disposed of in a commercially and environmentally state-of-the-art process.
For many years, Energie AG’s Waste Management segment has been certified with regard to quality (ISO 9001:2015), occupational health and safety (OHSAS 18001:2007), the environment (ISO 14001:2015) and as a qualified waste management operator (RAEF). In 2013, Umwelt Service GmbH was the first waste disposal company operating across Austria to successfully roll out EMAS validation for all its locations (Regulations (EC) No. 1221/2009 and 2017/1505 of the European Parliament). Ultimately, all these measures help to ensure efficient use of resources and prevention or reduction of emissions while actively involving customers, staff and owners.
Investing in the highest technical standards and in environmental and climate protection is one of the foundation stones of the Waste Management segment’s business activity.
The Environmental Statement of Umwelt Service GmbH 2019 in accordance with EMAS also includes the company’s receipt of the Austrian EMAS Award in the Best Environmental Team category in 2018.
The processes related to compliance with requirements under environmental law are monitored as part of its internal audits. This focuses on the Austrian Legal Information System, monitoring of requirements (laws, regulations, administrative decisions) in the Gutwin legal database and ensuring that waste is obtained and stored legally. In addition, the externally certified environmental management system guarantees processes to identify negative impacts on the environment, which can then be prevented or mitigated accordingly.
When providing waste management services, care is taken to ensure that resources are conserved as much as possible. Key plans in this area include reducing CO2 emissions with a modern fleet of trucks, rolling out e-business (automating commercial processes), increasing energy efficiency and decreasing overall energy consumption.
In addition, the slag remaining after waste incineration is recycled at the Wels plant. In a multi-stage mechanical separation process, iron and other content remaining in the slag after incineration is removed. This not only has the advantage of separating these resources (aluminium, copper, brass and stainless steels), recycling them and reintroducing them to the metal processing cycle; there is also additional savings potential in terms of CO2 emissions in comparison to producing these resources from scratch. Furthermore, the landfill volumes at Wels are reduced through the yearly recycling of metals. As a result, it is not necessary to resort to other landfills, saving additional truck journeys and fuel.
Biomonitoring, a scientifically-based control method, is used to track pollutant emissions at the Wels waste incineration plant. The effects of the thermal treatment plant’s operation on the environment are measured continuously at several fixed points in and around the site.
In terms of energy efficiency in the Waste Management segment, the Group pays particular attention to the energetic effectiveness of the grate firing and circulating fluidised-bed waste incineration plants. The efficiency criteria under Directive 2008/98/EC are assessed on an annual basis in this area. Efficient electricity conversion and/or heat extraction are crucial factors in fulfilling these criteria. As far as technically possible, process water, rain water or seepage is used instead of potable water in the production plants.
The Waste Management segment also provides water supply and waste water disposal services in Austria, operating as a water supplier across a number of regions. Its clients include cities and local authorities, which receive water supply and waste water disposal services. Only the pipelines are owned by the segment, whereas distribution grids are not. There is no noteworthy water loss from the pipelines, with the differences between the measuring points at wells or tanks and water meter chambers at the customer’s end falling within the range of the water meters’ measurement tolerances.
Energie AG only has limited influence over water losses in the distribution grids of the local authorities that are served, as the infrastructure in these areas is owned by the municipalities, which as a result have the power to decide on any measures (upgrades, investments, etc.). Energie AG provides support and advisory services to the local authorities as part of our service, carrying out monitoring, measurement and broad-based analysis, as well as formulating proposed measures for decision-makers to reduce water losses.