Disposing of waste is something that we all do, whether we hire a skip or take it to our local recycling centre. However, if you have visited your local recycling centre, you might have noticed an area where you can place waste that isn’t suitable for the segregated waste bins. This might include metal, cardboard and wood to name but a few.
So, if you do place your waste in the additional bin, does this mean that it is more beneficial for the environment and where does it sit in terms of waste priority?
At Reliable Skip Hire, we always make it our mission to ensure that all waste is recycled accordingly and when it comes to ranking waste, the main thing we should aim to do is reduce, reuse and recycle. That is the main priority when it comes to handling waste but in general, taking this option is much better than throwing waste into landfill as it helps to generate energy and reduces the need to use fossil fuels. Therefore, non-recyclable materials such as contaminated paper or plastics are suited to this option.
When it comes to generating energy from waste, the most common option is incineration. This is where waste is burned and the heat that is generated is then used to create steam which in turn, will generate a turbine. This then makes it possible to recover around 23% of the energy that is available while it can also leave behind ash which can be used when building roads. Furthermore, incinerator plants will have to monitor flue gases for toxins and will be expected to meet all environmental limits and regulations.
If we look at Sweden as an example, the country generates energy from waste which sees over 99% of waste recycled or used to generate energy. As a result, incineration is being used to generate electricity and provide heating to entire districts.
Other Options For Waste to Energy
Incineration is not the only solution for generating energy from waste as there are other options available. Another method is to combine oxygen with it or steam that reaches a very high temperature in order to create Syngas. It is then possible to use this to create fuel that can be used in transport or to even create electricity. Pyrolysis is another process that is very similar and this can be used to decompose waste using high temperatures as well as inert gases in order to create a combustible gas.
Any organic waste is often placed into an anaerobic digester and here it breaks down into fertilised and methan. It is also possible to take methane from landfill sites but there is less scope to control this when compared with an anaerobic digester.
So, when it comes to the waste you place in our skips, you might be surprised to learn what happens with it. Landfill is no longer a feasible solution and so, there are many ways in which we use your waste to generate energy, helping to save the planet at the same time.