Invited Session: Resource Management and Waste Diversion
How to Cope with the Ever-evolving Problem of Waste Disposal in the United States (0.5 CEUs)
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
9:00 – 9:30
Moderator: Aamod Sonawane, Associate Environment Engineer, CDM Smith, Massachusetts
The disposal of mixed municipal solid waste is poised for an overhaul. Landfills in some parts of the United States are dangerously close to reaching their capacities. Densely populated areas often need to transfer their waste considerable distances due to a lack of space, drastically increasing disposal costs, adding a strain on already stressed municipal budgets, and further escalating greenhouse gas emissions.
Despite the enforcement of more stringent regulations for landfill construction, contamination can occur through leaks or spills. A reduction in landfill use limits the potential for these environmental issues. Although the number of landfills has decreased in recent decades the size and distance to active landfills has dramatically increased, posing its own set of equally severe problems. Trucks need to travel further to disposal sites increasing damage to roads and other infrastructure.
An Italian engineering company that had a desire to bring their proven technology to the U.S. approached BioHiTech Global to partner. The patented technology process, called HEBioT (High Efficiency Biological Treatment,) converts mixed municipal waste, with up to 20 percent of a plant’s capacity to bring food waste into an EPA-approved renewable fuel that can be used as a supplement or substitute for coal.
For municipalities with no disposal option who are exporting 100 percent of their waste or additionally have source separated food waste, the HEBioT process can divert as much as 80 percent from landfills. The cost to dispose of that volume could be less than the cost to export and transport the waste to distant landfills. In addition, with cities and states setting zero waste to landfill goals for the near future, this solution would reduce the amount of waste that ends up in those landfills by 80% getting each municipality very close to their zero waste initiative.
As the demand for landfill diversion and reduction of fossil fuel dependency grows, this technology could help meet the demands by: extending the life of existing landfills, limiting the expansion of new landfills, increasing recycling rates and providing a sustainable alternative fuel source. The use of solid recovered fuels will also result in fewer carbon emissions than coal or other fossil fuels when used in cement kilns, steel mills, power plants and other industrial applications.