A number of major players in the construction sector are in an agreement on how life cycle analyses, LCA, are to be used for constructions. The parties have also agreed that an LCA perspective is the foundation for the construction industry's contribution to a more sustainable development. The parties are now urging municipalities, developers and other parts of the building and property sector to take their share of responsibility and start making demands that LCA consistently should be used to describe environmental performance.
About 40 chemicals are regulated within the EU Water Framework Directive, a fraction of all the different substances that are used in society. In the EU regulation REACH there are 148,000 pre-registered substances alone. New chemicals are also continuously being developed for different purposes. A new European research project will provide a basis for risk assessment and advice to policy makers, in order to get an overview of this compound array of chemicals.
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute have been assigned two million Swedish crowns from the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management for the development of a sustainable solution for the purification of waste water from drug residues.
Tests carried out at the research facility Hammarby Sjöstadsverk has shown that membrane technology can reduce emissions of nitrogen and phosphorus from Stockholm’s waste water. The technology is also likely to be efficient in the treatment of removing drug residues from the waste water.
Half of all the water going into the treatment plants does not actually need to be cleaned. At the same time untreated water is released into the water when the grids overload. Errors can be fixed quickly with better monitoring and control of the water and wastewater network, saving both money and the environment.
Wastewater from private sewages accounts for about 15 percent of the emission of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Baltic Sea. The local contribution from private households into lakes and bays could be even higher. Local sewages are to be tested in a new project by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute in order to improve their ability to clean wastewater from both excessive nutrients and pharmaceutical residues.
Recycled plastic has a higher environmental value than recycled glass. But not even three out of ten plastic containers are sorted and recycled. A targeted effort to increase the collection of both plastic and metal, glass, paper packaging and newspapers through simplified sorting showed very limited effect. Plastic collection increased only marginally.
The EU Emissions Trading System covers almost half of EU's carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of five percent of all global emissions. But in order to function as intended the system needs to be sharpened. In a new report researchers from IVL and Fores describes the basic ideas and the economics behind the trading system, and lists possible options for a trading reform.
Building materials are leaking contaminants that could be harmful to both human health and the environment. Researchers are now working together with the materials industry in order to develop an eco-innovative building material, made of biomass. The new material can be used both for renovation and for new buildings.
The Baltic Sea has major problems with dead sea beds and algae blooms. Scientists and environmental experts are currently testing the use of wave powered oxygen pumps, designed to mimic a natural process of oxygenation, in order to restore the sea beds. The technique has proved to be effective in pressing down large amounts of water and can be adapted for different conditions.