The word “landfill” has become a bane to many: both consumer and producers alike. For the consumer
the word connotes the encroachment of waste on natural resources and the natural world. For the
producer it is an undesirable expense, materials that must be disposed of in ever complex and costly
ways. The twist is the emergence of companies that respond to both sides of the equation, disposing
of waste in ways that benefit the environment and save money. Waste reclamation companies can
provide that happy medium.
Over the past 13 years, approximately 102 waste-to-energy (WtE) facilities have initiated processing
operations throughout the U.S. U.S. WtE plants process more than 30 million tons of trash, or
approximately 14% of domestic solid waste, each year. WtE
refers to the process of generating heat and/or electricity (energy) through waste incineration, thereby
reclaiming its’ energy. Of the various methods of waste reclamation, combustion is the most common
process and some combustible fuel commodity (e.g., methanol, methane, synthetic fuels or ethanol), is
the typical byproduct.
Deliverables from WtEs:
- Approximately 2,816 megawatts/hour
- Reduction of 90% of Waste volume (based on the type of waste)
- Compliance with EPA emission requirements (previous plants ["Incinerators"] lacked adequate
emission control devices, which created very high emissions and tainted the industry’s
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions (our atmosphere could be spared over a million tons of
methane, assuming the same amount of trash now processed at WtE facilities is disposed in a
landfill without methane recovery)
Currently no new WtE plants are under construction and the industry is undergoing an $800 million
plant upgrade in which older plants that do not meet the EPA’s new standards for air quality control
systems are working to do so. In order for WtE’s to continue to meet the new EPA guidelines, rigorous
preventive and predictive maintenance systems will need to be implemented (PM and PdM), to keep up.
Many domestic WtEs, such as Landfill Energy, have implemented eMaint’s computerized maintenance management software (X3 CMMS), to support consistent and cost-effective WtE compliance.
Dana Madama is the Online Marketing Manager at eMaint Enterprises, located in Marlton, NJ, which provides CMMS and EAM solutions for all of your maintenance and asset management needs.