How Can We Achieve 90% Landfill Diversion?

How Can We Achieve 90% Landfill Diversion?

Finding ways to drastically reduce the amount of garbage simply being dumped into landfills has become an ongoing frustration for many cities and counties. Add to the financial puzzle  uncertain, and often very costly, recycling and material recovery program results due to wild swings in commodity markets.

Pile on more potential grief with ever-increasing tip fees, long distance hauling costs, and the continuing emergence of government regulation demanding less landfill and more beneficial use… or else.

A very solid answer worth looking at comes from WastAway, with a landfill diversion and beneficial use track record that has been proven in over 15 years of commercial operation. While the financial model will vary in every location depending on tip fees and fuel offtake revenue, the operating model and the landfill reduction numbers remain constant and dependable.

The primary differences between what WastAway offers and the Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) that have been built in recent years are:

  1. The entire municipal solid waste stream is viewed and treated holistically. WastAway’s plants bring in raw garbage from collection trucks and send out the most valuable metal recyclables plus a clean, high-value solid fuel for industry and power generators.
  2. Up to 90% of the garbage is diverted from landfills, often double the amount MRFs are able to achieve.
  3. WastAway’s process is highly automated, and there are no “pick lines” where workers have to capture recyclables by hand.

How does WastAway get to the 90% diversion rate when others cannot? Here is the breakdown of what happens in the process once municipal solid waste (MSW) begins its 30-minute journey through the plant: (typical mass flow)

  • 10% is separated out as glass, rocks and other inert material.
  • 6% is recovered as ferrous and non-ferrous metals for recycling.
  • 14% is harmless moisture that evaporates during the process.
  • 70% is converted into a clean, sustainable, high-Btu solid fuel.

So, for every 2,000 pounds of MSW brought into the plant: 1,400 pounds of valuable fuel (with the Btu value of coal) are produced; 120 pounds of high-value recyclables are derived; and 200 pounds of glass and rocks could possibly be landfilled, if no local use can be found for them. Further good news is that systems are modular in nature and can be sized from 100 tons/day to 1,000 tons/day capacity.

For many cities and counties, WastAway can help with the problems and frustrations of landfill diversion. It all comes down to getting the numbers right.