Prices for standard recyclable materials fluctuate, and the difference between a high and low payout often means the difference between making a profit or breaking even. While some single-stream materials recovery facilities are doing poorly and cutting back on taking in hard-to-manage materials like glass, other forward-thinking innovators are expanding the materials that their waste management teams recycle.
Now, more than ever, it's time to think outside the recycling bin and find new ways to reduce waste and create new uses for discarded materials.
Recovering and grinding asphalt shingles.
Construction and demolition landfills can become crammed with refuse very quickly when a nearby building boom starts or a local destructive weather event occurs. Roofs must be replaced occasionally, and high winds and wildfires help make replacement happen faster.
Now, some states have approved asphalt shingle recovery as a viable part of the recycling and road-building industries. Enterprising companies have developed methods and markets to turn mountains of old shingles into material to create smooth new roads.
The environmental impact of adopting asphalt shingle recycling nationwide would be impressive if accomplished, considering that across the country, the asphalt shingles dumped in landfills are equivalent to 14 million barrels of oil.
Anaerobic digesters keep evolving.
Devices that turn waste gasses into fuels have been around for a long time, operating with various degrees of success. Some facilities use bagged municipal waste to extract gas, while others use manure, compost, or other industry by-products to do so.
Recently, researchers discovered that autoclaving bagged municipal waste before sending it on to the anaerobic digester not only decreased the amount of leftover material to be disposed of, it increased the amount of methane gas produced by 300%.
If you're thinking about investing in an anaerobic digester for your facility, you may get the best results out of it if you pick up an autoclave while you're out shopping.
Other emerging recycling solutions.
Biochar is a method of turning feedstock and other organic material into a carbon-negative soil enhancer through pyrolysis or gasification. Proponents are developing ways to trade biochar production for carbon credits.
Using refuse to fuel the 2000°C kilns that bake cement is another avenue to explore in the recycling world. Because of fuel costs, many cement manufacturing plants aren't viable. The ability to use waste for fuel may keep cement companies in business in locations where they're still needed.
Today's emerging recycling systems are high-tech, precision wonders that continue to deliver more value to the operator. If you've ever thought about converting refuse into energy, there are now more options than ever to help you achieve that goal and develop new revenue streams.
Contact a company like C F Maier Composites to learn more.