Recent Activities

Treatment and recovery of bottom ash from incineration

The research project had set itself the aim of photographing the state of the art of recovery of bottom ash in Italy and Europe, investigating the existing technologies for treatment and the different destinations to which the recovered materials are sent to. An experimental phase was then carried out in which the effects of the different slag extraction technologies (dry and wet) on the quantity and quality of recoverable materials were assessed. Finally, an environmental analysis was carried out using LCA and an economic one to identify the best treatment practices.

Environmental assessment of the management system for construction and demolition waste in Lombardy Region

The research project aimed at environmental assessment with the life cycle approach of the system of management and recovery of construction and demolition waste – C & D – at the time implemented in the Lombardy Region. This required the quantification of C & D waste streams produced and managed together with an analysis of the regional plant system, focusing on the quantity and quality of the second raw material (MPS) obtained from the treatment of such waste and its actual uses. The entire management and recovery system was then evaluated using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology to quantify its potential environmental impacts, identify the environmental benefits associated with recovery activities and highlight the possible criticalities of the entire system. The results of the LCA applied to the current scenario, together with a literature analysis aimed at defining the state of the art of C&D waste recovery technologies, with reference to the national and international scene, allowed to identify possible improvements and to develop alternative scenarios of management and recovery, also evaluated from the perspective of life cycle.

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Quality of materials obtained from recycling processes

The research project investigates the quality of materials obtained from the recycling of packaging waste and their actual return to the marketplace, with the aim of understanding the real substitution of materials produced from virgin raw materials with secondary materials (i.e., produced by recycling). In general, recycling processes lead to a reduction in material quality (“downcycling” phenomenon). The study led to the definition of a methodology for the calculation of substitution factors of virgin raw materials with secondary materials. The factors thus calculated for each material can therefore be used in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) treatment and waste management systems to support decision-making.