Legal situation and current practice of waste incineration bottom ash utilisation in Europe

Dominik Blasenbauer, Florian Huber, Jakob Lederer, Margarida J. Quina, Denise Blanc-Biscarat, Anna Bogush, Elza Bontempi, Julien Blondeau, Josep Maria Chimenos, Helena Dahlbo, Johan Fagerqvist, Jessica Giro-Paloma, Ole Hjelmar, Jiri Hyks, Jackie Keaney, Maria Lupsea-Toader, Catherine Joyce O’Caollai, Kaja Orupõld, Tadeusz Paja˛k, Franz-Georg SimonLenka Svecova, Michal Šyc, Roy Ulvang, Kati Vaajasaari, Jo Van Caneghem, Andre van Zomeren, Saulius Vasarevicˇius, Krisztina Wégner, Johann Fellner

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    Almost 500 municipal solid waste incineration plants in the EU, Norway and Switzerland generate about 17.6 Mt/a of incinerator bottom ash (IBA). IBA contains minerals and metals. Metals are mostly separated and sold to the scrap market and minerals are either disposed of in landfills or utilised in the construction sector. Since there is no uniform regulation for IBA utilisation at EU level, countries developed own rules with varying requirements for utilisation. As a result from a cooperation network between European experts an up-to-date overview of documents regulating IBA utilisation is presented. Furthermore, this work highlights the different requirements that have to be considered. Overall, 51 different parameters for the total content and 36 different parameters for the emission by leaching are defined. An analysis of the defined parameter reveals that leaching parameters are significantly more to be considered compared
    to total content parameters. In order to assess the leaching behaviour nine different leaching tests, including batch tests, up-flow percolation tests and one diffusion test (monolithic materials) are in place. A further discussion of leaching parameters showed that certain countries took over limit values initially defined for landfills for inert waste and adopted them for IBA utilisation. The overall utilisation rate of IBA in construction works is approximately 54 wt%. It is revealed that the rate of utilisation does not necessarily depend on how well regulated IBA utilisation is, but rather seems to be a result of political commitment for IBA recycling and economically interesting circumstances.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)868–883
    Number of pages16
    JournalWaste Management
    Early online date11 Dec 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Published by Elsevier Ltd.This is an open access article under the CC BY license

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Municipal solid waste incineration
    • Incinerator bottom ash
    • Utilisation
    • Legal requirements
    • European Union
    • legal situation


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