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  • Writer's pictureAlison Evans

Reduce, reuse, recycle, recover

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

Most people have a fundamental understanding of the phrase ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. Now, there is increasing activity in recovery.

Some plastics cannot be sustainably recycled so to avoid landfill, they are sent for energy recovery at a combined heat and power recovery plant. Energy recovery is a technology which burns non-recyclable waste at high temperatures under controlled conditions to extract energy from waste. The solid recovered fuel attained from this process reduces the need to burn fossil fuels to produce energy, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The heat content of PLA (Floreon’s base material) was determined to be slightly higher than wood and paper at 8,368 Btu/lb (according to NatureWorks), along with no volatiles & low residue when burning.

Reducing waste battles climate change because even now there persists a horrifying amount of waste going to landfill. Landfill emits harmful emissions through the ‘waste miles’ involved in transportation whereas energy recovery allows local communities to manage their own waste. Scientists at Columbia University found that if we were able to convert all non-recycled plastics to energy, we could power 5.7 million homes. Other countries have recognised this value and are already tapping into it, for example, by using energy recovery as well as recycling, Germany only landfills 1% of its waste.

Just a few years ago, Leeds Energy Recovery Plant officially opened with intentions to burn up to 150,000 tonnes of landfill waste a year, which the city council claimed would even be more cost effective in the long run than landfill. Viridor has facilities across the UK such as in Exeter and Peterborough, and Veolia operates a site in Sheffield.

The aim of energy recovery is the prevention and minimisation of waste, ultimately aiding the fight against climate change. It reduces the consumption of raw natural resources by using what is already in circulation. Floreon exist to help reduce the impact of climate change, hence we encourage the growth of energy recovery in the UK.

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