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ENERGY RECOVERY

Using combustible packaging waste as a means of generating energy, by direct incineration with or without other waste, but with heat recovery.

Along with existing recycling schemes, energy recovery is a highly advantageous alternative for plastic packaging after use: what is more, it is encouraged by the current legislation (law No. 92-646 of 13/07/92).

Energy recovery is particularly an option for small quantities of plastic packaging and soiled packaging materials for which sorting is technically and/or economically unsuitable for recycling.

It involves using combustible packaging waste as a means of generating energy, by direct incineration with or without other waste, but with heat recovery.

The plastics disposed of in municipal waste incinerators help generate electricity and heat, while using separated fractions such as paper/plastic mixtures as alternative fuels in electricity production plants makes it possible to replace coal, and to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
It is estimated that replacing coal by all the plastic waste that cannot be reasonably recycled would lower greenhouse gas emissions by one quarter and would reduce coal imports required in Europe by 15%.

The fumes emitted by municipal incinerators are not hazardous. Dioxins, for example, are completely eliminated if the temperature is sufficiently high.

This is a popular waste disposal solution with most local authorities.

WHAT IS THE ENERGY GAIN OF THE MOST COMMON PLASTICS?

Material

NCV*
MJ/kg
Effective calorific gain **
MJ:kg
PE 43 22
PP 44 24
PS/PSE 40 22
PVC 17 9
PET 22 12

* Net Calorific Value
** After correction linked with material type

 

Recovered energy can be used for district heating or electricity generation.

Each year, 300,000 tonnes of oil equivalent are saved in France.

The recovered energy may be used for urban heating or electricity generation.
Every year, 300,000 tonnes of oil equivalent are saved in this way in France.

airpop® (EPS), an example in terms of energy recovery

Used industrial and commercial airpop® (EPS) packaging stocks which have no viable recycling scheme (small quantity and soiled stocks, at a distance from an existing scheme) are routed to energy recovery.

The high calorific value of airpop® (EPS) facilitates the combustion of the waste simultaneously present in the oven.    

1 kg EPS = 1.4 litres of oil

Made up solely of carbon and hydrogen, it does not emit any toxic gases during its combustion  

In addition to direct energy savings, it is worth mentioning those generated by recovery of the energy released during waste combustion. The recovered energy is reused is various applications, in the form of electricity, hot water or steam for heating buildings or business parks.

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