Lancaster County, PA enters long-term ash processing contract

Dive Brief:

  • Pennsylvania's Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) entered into a long-term contract with the Dutch company Inashco to process ash from waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities and sell the recovered metal.
  • Inashco will process an estimated 165,000 tons of ash per year  from which it expects to extract more than 8,000 tons of metal  at a proposed $14 million processing facility. 
  • Construction is slated to begin in spring 2017 with operations starting the following year.

Dive Insight:

This marks Inashco's fourth facility in the U.S.  in addition to others in Europe  and is the company's first public-private partnership with a county agency. The company will pay a service fee for every ton of ash it receives and LCSWMA will share net project profit. LCSWMA is loaning Inashco approximately $11 million to build the facility, on which the company will pay principal and interest over a 10-year term. 

Material from the county's two WTE facilities is currently used for cover at a local landfill and this is a way to get more value out of it. The company says it can extract non-ferrous metals such as copper, zinc, lead, and aluminum as small as 0.5 mm. 

"This project exemplifies our philosophy of transforming waste into a resource," said LCSWMA CEO Jim Warner in a statement. "Doing so takes innovative thinking and collaborating with world-class partners, like Inashco, to extract the most value from waste."

Recent research has also been finding other beneficial reuse applications for the ash in building materials. The EPA estimates that out of approximately 9 million tons of combustion ash generated every year, only a very small percentage is actually recovered or reused in any way and the majority of that involves metal extraction. Republic Services recently opened a metal recovery facility in Washington that will process an estimated 90,000 tons of new ash as well as material already in the landfill over the next 10 years.

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Filed Under: Waste Diversion Waste-to-Energy
Top image credit: LCSWMA