Environmental Sustainability of Alumina Industry in Western Europe
AbstractThe implementation of European policies on environmental protection is enforcing some substantial modifications in the processing methods and technologies traditionally adopted in the alumina industry and, in particular, in the management of the alumina residue produced. The article analyses the evolution of the alumina production and the residue disposal practices in Western Europe. Some critical aspects regarding the legal implementation of the EU Directive on the landfill of waste are highlighted and discussed. With reference to the requirements established for the landfill of non-hazardous waste, a key point is represented by the possibility of reducing the deposit protection measures if the collection and treatment of leachate is not necessary. The flexibility introduced by the Directive is not incorporated into the Italian law; this fact may represent a major issue in the prospect of disposal conversion from wet to dry methods for companies operating in Italy, as it may endanger the economic sustainability of the plants’ upgrade, as well as the opportunity to attract outside investments.
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