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From Non Recyclable Waste to Bio-Energy

From Non Recyclable Waste to Bio-Energy

There are many recycling schemes available for all manner of items across the board. As technology and environmental awareness continues to progress. Non recyclable waste streams once destined for landfill sites are decreasing, partly due to more and more manufacturers offering solutions to recycle their products once they have reached the end of life. Indeed, many manufacturers, especially in the food industry are striving to reach low or even zero carbon emissions with waste packaging and shipping processes.  

Unfortunately, there is still some way to go before we can remove the need for land filling of waste completely. It sometimes seems a way off goal to achieve. The positive point here is that recent years have seen great advances in creating Bio-energy from un-recyclable waste, waste that would otherwise have just found its way to a landfill without the chance to harvest any type of energy at all.  

Energy created from safe and clean incineration of waste or in Waste to Energy systems is referred to as Bio Energy.

This concept of Waste to Energy:

Burning waste is nothing new, commercial incinerators have been operational around the world for years. Burning waste was at one stage considered a viable solution to reduce landfill tariffs but this kind of waste treatment is fraught with problems and was often frowned upon, especially more recently. The incinerators of old were just that, a waste burner. No energy was generated or harvested from this type of facility, its sole purpose was to reduce the bulk of waste to landfill and they were accused of generating more environmental issues than they solved. Potentially toxic fumes and heavy metals were released into the atmosphere and a far cry from today’s modern clean incinerators with ultra-modern filtration systems. 

Modern incinerating facilities are seen as more of a power station or energy generation site than just a place to burn rubbish to lower the landfill quotas. In fact, countries like Sweden have become so adapt at sorting and incinerating their waste and converting it into bio energy that they now have to import waste from other countries to keep the incinerator generated energy flowing. A lot of their power infrastructure relies on this type of energy generation from non-recyclable waste. Due to the success the Swedish have with general recycling the landfill waste is already at a minimum. This leaves them with a shortfall of waste to convert in to bio energy by incineration. 

What is the process of getting from waste to Bio Energy?  

As you can imagine the entire process of generating energy from waste is very complex. The process will inevitably start with waste arriving on site. Waste will either be trucked in or carried in by rail depending on the size and location of the facility. The waste arriving will be non-recyclable waste. Often it will have been pre-sorted and all the recyclable waste streams will have been eliminated at this point. There will be some recyclable materials amongst it they will be considered contaminated or not commercially viable to harvest. 

Although Bio Energy plants are similar in basics each facility will operate in a different way. How they deal with the incoming waste, air filtration systems and the actual generation of energy differs, not all facilities use the same methods; but generally speaking, the site will incinerate the waste to create heat which in turn will move some type of turbine which in turn generates electricity, referred to as Bio Energy. The power provided will be fed to local homes and businesses with the surplus fed into the national grid networks. 

From a recycling and re-using point of view it’s important that we all play our part in minimising the waste that can’t be recycled but it’s good to know that not all non-recyclable waste is land-filled, much of it goes on to create clean Bio Energy which is a positive move to sustainable waste and positive, environmentally friendly energy solutions.  

About Annabelle

Creating Recycling based content is a passion, spreading the Environmental message is a mission.

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