When waste cannot be recycled, the waste management hierarchy indicates that co-processing is the most socially and environmentally responsible method for waste management. In co-processing, waste can be used to replace both the fuel requirement and raw materials necessary in the manufacturing process for facilities such as cement kilns and other energy intensive industries. Co-processing completely destroys the waste, while also recovering its embedded energy and mineral content which preserves natural resources and reduces greenhouse gases.
Key points to consider about co-processing
Co-processing in cement kilns
- Co-processing in cement kilns at high temperatures (above 2500 degrees Fahrenheit or 1370 degrees Celsius) allows for the total thermal destruction of waste.
- When co-processing in a cement kiln, the recovered energy lessens the need to burn fossil fuels to power the kiln; the recovered mineral content can be integrated into the cement, reducing the amount of virgin raw materials processed for inclusion in the cement. Together, this preserves natural resources and helps lessen the facility’s CO2 intensity.
- When co-processing in cement kilns, fine limestone dust captures heavy metals. Those materials are kept out of the atmosphere and are safely and fully incorporated into the product.
- The long residence time allows for the complete destruction of complex hydrocarbons.
- Co-processing in cement kilns produces no additional waste during the process.
The Benefits of Co-processing
- Companies – co-processing provides confidence in the complete thermal destruction of waste; it reduces liability and risk to the corporate reputation; and it helps enhance your regulatory compliance efforts.
- Communities – co-processing reduces the amount of raw waste going to nearby landfills; it preserves energy sources for future generations; and it creates jobs.
- Environment – co-processing decreases the amount of natural resources that are taken from the earth; it lowers the CO2 intensity from facilities that use co-processed waste as fuel; it reduces emissions of methane from landfills; and it helps reduce the chance of soil or water pollution due to less material in the landfill.
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