Each year, the world generates more than 400 million tons of hazardous waste.
It’s no secret that industries across the globe are looking for ways to integrate sustainable practices into their operations to reduce their carbon footprint, become more energy efficient and keep on par with practices in today’s industry.
If you’re one of these companies, you’ve probably considered how you can implement sustainable development goals into your day-to-day operations. But while we often think of waste reduction as reducing what we send to a landfill, sustainability is far more reaching.
In fact, the collection of that waste and transportation to a disposal site - not to mention the actual act of disposing of the waste - can have a tremendous environmental impact.
Waste transportation is one of the most impacting activities when calculating a company’s carbon footprint. It’s estimated that 1 gallon of diesel fuel that is consumed produces 2.77 kg of carbon dioxide.
Where your waste is transported and what happens when it reaches its destination can play a major role in how you develop sustainability goals for your company.
Old Way Of Thinking
A typical course of action for a company is to send its hazardous waste to a Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility. Locally, southern California is home to facilities that perform “fuel blends” on site. The nearest cement kiln facilities where fuel blended waste is then sent are located in the Midwest.
Out of sight doesn’t necessarily mean out of mind when it comes to transporting waste. Transportation alone across the Midwest can produce more than 1,500 kg of carbon dioxide. And while this waste has been passed on to a transportation company for disposal, the carbon footprint of a company still is influenced by what happens to the waste after it leaves the company’s hands.
New Way Of Thinking
There is a new way of thinking in town that is catching on with many waste generators who are rethinking their sustainable development goals. Instead of transporting fuel blended waste across the country, waste generators in the western United States are instead turning to an alternative way to reduce their carbon footprints.
Temarry’s “Closed Loop Recycling” system allows received waste to be treated and turned back into a reusable product that is sold back into industry.
Here’s how it works:
- Through waste to energy technology, energy in the form of steam powers solvent recovery stills on site. A conveyor transports the waste into the primary stage for thermal destruction, and all vapors and gases then receive a secondary thermal treatment.
- The steam generated from this process is then used as an energy source to power the solvent recovery stills. These stills produce technical grade solvent products that are sold back into industry.
- Ash recovered from the Waste to Energy ash hopper is also blended with high BTU still bottoms, and smaller amounts of controlled blends are sent to cement kilns to be used as alternative fuels.
This Closed Loop Recycling system allows received waste to be treated and turned back into reusable products. Perhaps most important for environmental concerns, a true Closed Loop Recycling system uses and reuses all components.
In other words, nothing is wasted and all recycled solvents are reintroduced back into industries.
How does this compare to transporting blended waste across the country?
- For each 60 cubic yards of rags and debris thermally treated on site using waste to energy technology, 1 cubic yard of ash is generated.
- For every 100 gallons of typical solvents distilled, 30 gallons of still bottoms are generated. Ash from Waste to Energy are then blended with the still bottom byproduct.
These numbers represent a dramatic reduction in the number of trucks that transport loads off site for recycling at a cement kiln.
If waste management isn’t one of your sustainable development goals, now is the time to recognize how waste reduction goes far beyond what we send to a landfill.
For every hazardous or non-hazardous substance generated, it must then be transported and disposed of - creating a far-reaching impact on the environment.
Though fuel blends have become the standard course of disposal, the nearest cement kiln facilities are hundreds - even thousands - of miles away. The transportation of these blends to kiln facilities not only increases your company’s carbon footprint. It also can be an expensive plan to discard your generated waste, without any benefits to you or your community.
Closed Loop Recycling, instead, offers an alternative method for waste to be treated and turned back into reusable products that the industry can then use for production. All recycled solvents are viable, providing several benefits that showcase your sustainable development goals as a company. These include:
- Reducing your carbon footprint
- Serving as an example of an environmentally-conscious company
- Achieving the highest level of sustainability
- Meeting the requirement of corporate mandates
These are just a few of the reasons why sustainable companies have an advantage today, and why it’s important to implement sustainable development goals in your company’s overall business plan.
Need help further expanding your sustainable development goals to keep up with today’s industry? Our article, What Is A Sustainability Plan? details how to identify what goals you have and how to implement them.