The following blog post was contributed by Ioannis Markidis, WISE CDT student at the University of Bath.
From the 21st to 24th of June 2017, Ioannis Markidis attended the 5th International Conference on Sustainable Solid Waste Management in Athens, Greece. The Conference brought together scientists & professionals from government departments, industries, Municipalities, private institutions and research & education institutions. Ioannis presented an oral paper on his PhD research entitled “Anaerobic digestion of sewage and domestic wastes. How small can it be?”, with co-authors Dr Marta Coma and Dr Tom Arnot.
There were 24 sessions in total running in parallel, over the three days, in 5 different venues. Additionally, about 150 posters were presented in the main reception room. The main conference topics included: Separation at source, biological treatment, anaerobic digestion, treatment technologies waste prevention, bio-waste utilization, waste valorisation, biogas and materials recovery, composting, sludge management, agricultural and livestock waste. Emphasis was also placed on the food industry, biotechnology, the water energy waste nexus, circular economy, symbiosis networks, energy consumption and saving, carbon footprint and water footprint, zero-waste initiatives, resources recovery, biotechnology and waste to energy.
Keynote speakers included amongst others Panagiotis Skourletis who is the Greek Minister of Environment and Energy, David Newman from World Biogas Association, Arnoldas Milukas from the European commission, David Bolzonella from the University of Verona, Steven Smith from Imperial College London and Antonis Mavropoulos from ISWA. They all stressed the importance of policies and legislation towards what they all called the 4th industrial revolution and a wasteless future. The discovery of new techniques and new materials will drive the creation of new types of products. We have to swift towards a circular economy, redesign products, business models and social practice, rethink, reboot and remake the manufacturing and thus, the waste management sector.
Besides the talks the conference provided many social events. Visits to Acropolis Museum, cape Sounion, Vouliagmeni lake, Delphi and a cruise at Hydra, Poros and Aigina Islands. It was a great experience for me, that helped me learn new things, make new connections but also to travel back to Athens, where I used to live before I started my PhD and became part of the WISE CDT.