Should You Convert Waste To Energy?

Posted by Larry Burton on Dec 31, 2019 11:00:00 AM

Worldwide, millions of tons of waste are created each year. The vast majority ends up in landfills.

In fact, one study found Americans alone are sending more than twice as much trash to landfills than what the U.S. government originally estimated.

For companies that generate hazardous waste in particular, keeping this type of dangerous waste out of landfills and minimizing the environmental ramifications it can have is a top priority.

And not doing so can have serious consequences for your company.

Though cutting-edge technology has the capability to turn waste into energy, some companies aren’t sure whether this process meets their sustainability goals and therefore have the question, “Should I convert waste to energy?”

The answer is, yes. Here’s why.

 

You Wouldn’t Be Alone

 

should you convert waste to energyMore and more, companies are looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly and establish operations that send less waste to landfills. Even as they do so, however, companies still look to remain competitive and stay ahead of the curve.

Currently, there are 86 waste to energy plants in the United States used for the combustion of municipal solid waste with energy recovery. Located in 25 states, these plants have the capacity to produce approximately 2,720 megawatts of power per year. That’s because they process more than 28 million tons of waste each year. 

While these plants combust municipal waste, this type of waste is not typically hazardous waste. The 99 cement kilns in the United States technically use hazardous waste in the form of contaminated solids such as rags, organic debris, PPE and absorbents to convert to an alternative fuel, which is energy.

During this process, the energy that the cement kilns create from combusting hazardous waste is used as an alternative fuel instead of consuming natural resources such as coal, natural gas or petroleum distillates.  

There is also a waste to energy technology that converts waste using a plasma system that then creates a gas that can be converted to different chemicals. But those machines are very rare, because it is way to costly except for places like island nations that have no other alternative. 

 

Your Sustainability Can Be Maximized

 

Technology continues to evolve, and many industries are looking for ways to increase their sustainability while staying on the forefront of these innovations.

Temarry Recycling continues to use cutting-edge technology to recycle hazardous wastes using a method that is most beneficial to industry and the environment. While some companies rely on waste to energy technology to safely dispose of their waste, Temarry uses its technology to take sustainability one step further. 

Temarry generates energy using waste to energy technology, but then takes that energy and uses it to power solvent recovery stills on site. Combining the solvent distillation process with energy recovery embraces the principles of a circular economy by creating a closed loop system.

should you convert waste to energy

Here’s how it works:

  • Waste is fed by conveyor into the primary stage for thermal destruction at 1500 degrees F. 
  • All vapors and gases are directed to secondary thermal treatment at 1500 degrees F.
  • Inorganic solids, or ash, from the primary stage is quenched and falls into an ash hopper.
  • Heat is directed to a 200-horsepower steam generator. 
  • Remaining gases are directed to a modern two stage venturi scrubber to ensure that only clean water vapor is emitted to the atmosphere.
  • Steam is used as an energy source to power the solvent recovery stills that produce technical grade solvent products to be sold back into industry. 
    • Steam is also used in two autoclaves to decontaminate medical waste
  • Ash from the ash hopper is blended with high BTU still bottoms. 
  • Controlled blends are sent to cement kilns to be used as alternative fuels.

This closed loop system allows received waste to be treated and turned back into reusable products. However, perhaps most important for industries looking to increase their sustainability, a true closed loop recycling system uses and reuses all components

That means nothing is wasted, and all recycled solvents are reintroduced back into industry - maximizing your sustainability as a company.

 

Waste To Energy Reduces Your Carbon Footprint

 

Achieving the highest level of sustainability is very connected to the proximity of treatment from the point of generation. By reducing the distance waste travels, you achieve the highest level of sustainability and reduce your carbon footprint as a company. 

The numbers don’t lie:

  • For each 60 cubic yard boxes thermally treated on site, one cubic yard of ash is generated.
  • For each 100 gallons of typical solvents distilled, 30 gallons of still bottoms are generated to be blended with ash.

This represents a dramatic reduction in the number of truck loads that are transported off site for secondary recycling at a cement kiln. 

By working with Temarry and taking advantage of our True Recycling technology, you’ll see first hand how these numbers can translate into a reduction in transportation costs, as well as a reduction in your carbon footprint.

 

Final Note

 

As a hazardous waste generator, you know your responsibilities regarding cradle to grave requirements. If you generate hazardous waste, you are held responsible for its improper off-site transportation and disposal.

For many companies, this can feel daunting. 

However, for companies located in the Western U.S., an attractive option is available through Temarry Recycling, which operates out of San Diego but has a TSDF in Tecate, Mexico.

Our state-of-the-art recycling facility in Tecate incorporates the closed loop recycling process and provides the most sustainable method of disposal for spent industrial solvents. 

When transporting hazardous waste to Mexico through Temarry Recycling, the waste generator’s liability for the waste ends at the U.S. border. It’s there at the border that Temarry becomes the Principal Responsible Party in the U.S. and Recicladora Temarry de Mexico accepts generator liability in Mexico. 

You can read more about the benefits associated with transporting your hazardous waste to Mexico and shortening the amount of time you are responsible for cradle to grave requirements in our article, The Top 5 Benefits Of Sending Hazardous Waste To Mexico For Recycling.

But, best of all, your hazardous waste will be contributing to the waste to energy process.

 

Solvent Distillation and Energy Recovery Process

 

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