Many of us understand that recycling is important, but perhaps we don’t necessarily comprehend why it’s such a crucial component of effective waste solutions. No matter where you are, odds are you can look around you and see something you might not know was assembled through recycled materials. Newspapers, cardboard boxes, park benches, playgrounds, building insulation, car parts, frisbees; the list goes on and on.

But what about the waste that cannot be traditionally recycled? Can everyday garbage be turned into something that can make an environmental difference? 

At LJP Waste Solutions, we work hard to ensure that almost all the commercial and residential waste we accumulate can be properly reused. We’re a company committed to sustainability and spearheading a zero landfill initiative, which means we put our all into making sure non-recyclable waste can become something of use for the world.

One of the biggest ways we do that is through the process of creating Refuse-Derived Fuel (RDF).

Let’s break down why RDF is a type of clean fuel that’s not only evolved to become an eco-friendly alternative to landfills but how it’s able to become an essential environmental solution in the fight to protect our planet from the consequences of pollution.

Defining Refuse-Derived Fuel

As landfills and dumpsites continue to overpopulate, finding alternative solutions to dealing with municipal solid waste (everyday garbage that’s often considered non-recyclable) continues to be a top priority throughout the world.

In 2018, the total amount of municipal solid waste produced exceeded 292 million tons, equating to nearly 5 pounds of waste per person. Of that 292 million tons, only 32.1 percent was adequately recycled or composted.

In the past few decades, the process of recovering and converting energy harnessed from the combustion of municipal solid waste has become a more prevalent practice around the globe. Refuse-Derived Fuel has emerged as one of the primary resources recovered from municipal solid waste.

The general process of RDF involves sorting all collected waste (generally from commercial or industrial sites) by whether the waste is reusable, which waste can be converted into fuel, and which waste is neither of the aforementioned two, to which it’s ultimately sent to a landfill. We take account of each form of waste, from plastic bottles, printer paper, metal containers, cardboard, plastic bags, and much more, so we can attempt to utilize and recycle as much waste as we possibly can.

After sorting, the leftover waste not considered to be unusable endures a rigorous assembly line process that determines which municipal waste can be converted into fuel. That waste is then shredded, dried, and ultimately burned, resulting in a combustible mixture that can be utilized for fuel and electricity.

Once RDF is processed, it stands to serve as a more suitable and eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels, which account for around 80 percent of our world’s energy, while also accounting for three-quarters of our planet’s carbon emissions and exposing approximately 12.6 million Americans to daily toxic air pollution.

It also means that significant amounts of garbage won’t be resorted to being transferred to a landfill or dumpster site.

Can RDF Be Considered as a Landfill Alternative?

The simple and most straightforward answer is yes, it is an eco-friendly option. And fortunately, the amount of products being exported is growing exponentially with companies around the globe.

There are specific landfill diversion targets that work to meet measurements set in place by the EPA to create a more environmentally sustainable solution, and RDF Is helping to contribute to this.

What Are the Benefits of Refuse-Derived Fuel?

RDF is growing in popularity because it offers multiple waste-to-energy advantages.

Energy Efficiency

Because mechanical processes are used to shred and separate non-combustibles to create a high energy fuel fraction, this makes a more efficient process. An essential benefit of RDF is that it can be used as a supplementary fuel in traditional boilers. The energy content is about 2/3 of low-grade coal in the US, and due to the energy content being so close to coal, it can be substituted, which creates a more effective renewable energy option and sustainability practice.

Effective Recycling

It also offers a better recycling option because of the pelletization system. The process allows for developing more sustainable goals through utilizing materials that are more appropriate to mix with the higher BTU, offering replacements for coke and coal, and decreasing the emissions produced.

A More Uniformed Fuel

RDF is a more uniform option than MSW due to the size of the particles and the heating value that result in a more consistent combustion process. This results in an option that is less expensive than a mass burning system and reduces the processing equipment cost.

Lower Emissions

Another benefit is the air emissions from the incinerators, and it was found that releases from an RDF power plant are considerably less than oil or coal.

In addition to this, it is also easier to store and transport the fuel pellets for power plants or other industries, helping to promote sustainable waste solutions.

Utilizing Refuse-Derived Fuel

Global efforts for extracting RDF have evolved exponentially over the past three decades, making it a multi-billion dollar industry in 2018.

One of the biggest appeals to RDF is that it’s utilizing municipal waste that would have otherwise been sent to a landfill. Instead, that waste is converted into a fossil-fuel alternative that can provide power and electricity, with far less environmental hazards or pollution risks.

At LJP Waste Solutions, we keep track of every piece of waste that’s ultimately converted into RDF, so we can provide our clients with an accurate report of how their waste is being converted and utilized into a clean fuel solution.

The more power plants we can help convert from burning fossil fuels to using RDF, the less pollution we can all contribute to the planet, and potentially save more lives, money, and resources in the process.

How You Can Help Make a Difference

Weaning our world’s dependency on pollutive fossil fuels starts with making the smallest commitments to sustainability. It’s incredible to see how far we’ve come over the years in regards to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

As a country, 94 percent of our total energy consumption was created by fossil fuels in 1966, compared to 80 percent in 2019. If we can continue to progress through alternative fuel resources, then we will continue to reduce hazardous CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change and toxic air pollution. 

Using LJP Waste Solutions to effectively convert your waste into RDF will ensure that you’re doing your part to contribute to the greater good of our world. If you’re interested in learning more about which waste solutions are a good fit for your commercial enterprise or place of residence, contact us today to schedule a consultation, or give us a call at 507.625.1968.