Turning Waste into Resource

November 17, 2009 at 12:50 PM Leave a comment

Our trash, our waste, takes up precious and expensive space. Our communities all to often have to buy land just to fill it up with our throwaways.

Slowly we’re getting better at dealing with our junk. Recycling programs do their best to collect valuable materials like aluminum and glass and put it back in the production chain: old cans and bottles become new cans and bottles. While the bulk of our trash may be thrown in a hole in the ground to be covered with dirt, slowly, project-by-project, the methane gases created by the rotting of our garbage is being captured and used as fuel to generate electricity in landfill gas operations. At least our trash is useful when it’s used to make energy. Some of our trash is burnt too creating a new source of energy and a renewable one at that. (There will always be a steady flow of trash.) But, conventional waste-to-energy projects have emissions that are not really clean thus those projects are not exactly the darlings of environmentalists.

I don’t expect our consumptive economy to go away anytime soon. But eventually we could get very sophisticated, and clean, in coping with our waste. Surely recycling efforts will continue. The value of the recycled goods, particularly metals, will ensure that these programs will go on. Further, in a more high-tech version of a waste-to-energy plant the bulk of our waste could be tapped as a new cleaner source of energy. Trash, known professionally as Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), might in a decade or two be regularly turned to fuel or directly into electricity at local, community facilities eliminating the need for landfill dumps.

The technology to do that is emerging today.

For More click HERE


Entry filed under: composting, Conservation, Green Help, recycling. Tags: , , .

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