ODS building foam – reducing the threat tothe environment and exploiting thecommercial opportunities in Wales
• The ozone depleting substances [ODS] in plastic foam insulation used in buildings over the last 45 years are entering the waste stream in increasing volumes• This is an unrecognised environmental challenge both in terms of damage to the ozone layer, global warming and hazardous waste• Wales can take a lead in terms of environmental protection and exploiting commercial opportunities
Facing up to the problem of ODS in buildinginsulation will deliver an environmental “treblewhammy”• Reducing global warming• Preventing damage to the ozone layer• Stopping hazardous waste being land filled At the same time it will create “green jobs” – a clear win/win opportunity.
European ODS Bank Air in 2010 Conditioning 4% Refrigeration 6% Construction Foam 90% Official EU Journal - review of Regulation 2037/2000 August 2008
• By 2015 emissions from ODS banks will erase all the reductions in GWP achieved under the Kyoto Protocol• “Around 100,000 tonnes of ozone-depleting substances might be in some one million tonnes of building foam in existing buildings in the UK.” [Hansard - Official Report, 25 June 2008; Vol. 478, c. 304W]• According to Defra, 357 tonnes of ODS gas was recovered from recycling 2 million refrigerators in 2006. So 100,000 tonnes of ODS in building foams could be seen as equivalent to recycling over 500 million refrigerators
The current situation• Legislation is not being enforced• Lack of guidance, information and enforcement bythe Environment Agency• Enforcement “black hole”• Hazardous waste classification if ODS is above 0.1% w/w• Current blowing agent is pentane – hazardous waste classification if above 2.5% w/w• Blowing agent content of foam insulation is 4% to 15%
The opportunity• The prerequisite for increased recovery of ODS building foam is to establish a guaranteed demolition waste stream of ODS building foam. The demolition, waste and construction industry have to operate under the same rules.• A guaranteed demolition waste stream of ODS building foam would facilitate and encourage:1. The demolition industry to develop methods and mechanical plant to recover ODS waste
2. Reduction in the volume of waste going to land fill3. Business to develop new specialist recovery and recycling capacity. The cost defined according to the polluter/owner pays principle in the Waste Framework Directive.4. New products manufactured from foam waste5. Development of specialist incineration and energy recovery plants.