ILLEGAL DUMPING OF END-OF-LIFE VEHICLE WASTE IN THE FOREST AREA NEAR KAUNAS CITY

Authors

  • Valdas Paulauskas Vytautas Magnus University Agriculture Academy

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.15544/RD.2023.003

Keywords:

circular economy; environmental pollution; end-of-life vehicle; waste management; illegal waste dumping; hazardous waste; waste sorting by category; plastic waste identification; plastic waste recycling

Abstract

When end-of-life vehicles (ELV) are not properly managed, they can cause environmental problems and loss of millions of tonnes of materials. If metals (steel, aluminium, copper) are effectively separated and utilised, only small amounts of ELV plastic waste is recycled. Study showed that local car dismantlers still try to get rid of ELV waste which has a negative market value by illegally dumping them in secluded places of natural environment. Main category composition of illegally disposed ELV waste in the forest area near Kaunas city (Lithuania) was evaluated, with a special focus on a polymer-specific plastic waste identification and separation. Seventeen points of illegal vehicle waste dumping were discovered during one-day visit to the surroundings of the Veršvas Landscape Reserve area (Kaunas City Municipality); in fourteen of which only old tyres were detected which is not necessarily a product of illegal dismantling. Total amount of illegally disposed ELV waste found (excluding tyres) was 124.3 kg: 94.4 % by mass of which was classified as non-hazardous and only fraction of automotive fluids (used engine oil) was categorised as hazardous (95.6 %).  The major fraction was automotive plastics – 57.9 % (by mass), the minor – metal fraction (only 0.6 %). The majority (96%) of all discarded ELV waste was combustible and only 3.8 % consisted of non-combustible materials (mainly glass and metals). Incineration of such waste can produce energy with a possibility to recycle the remaining metals. Polymer-based fractionation showed that 82 % of all plastic waste was recyclable (thermoplastic) and only 10 % were thermosets (non-recyclable), but in many cases thermoplastic materials were with polymer fillers which could complicate the recycling process. All plastic waste types were ‘synthetic’ (derived from crude oil, natural gas or coal); no ‘bio-based’ polymers (derived from renewable materials or waste biomass) was found. All plastic waste found was ‘non-biodegradable’ and thus highly persistent in the natural environment.

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Published

2024-03-05

Issue

Section

Biosystems Engineering and Environment Integrity