Canadian Consulting Engineer

Study advocates burning garbage to make cement

A study of academic and industry research over the last 10 years suggests that burning municipal solid waste to manufacture cement would produce an overall benefit to the environment compared to using fossil fuels in the cement manufacturing...

September 19, 2011   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A study of academic and industry research over the last 10 years suggests that burning municipal solid waste to manufacture cement would produce an overall benefit to the environment compared to using fossil fuels in the cement manufacturing process.

The study was done by the Network for Business Sustainability, a non-profit research group based at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. It was partly funded by the Cement Association of Canada and subjected to a double blind review.

The study concluded that by burning waste such as garbage, tires and plastics, would produce fewer greenhouse gases than burning coal to manufacture cement. Burning the waste would also reduce the amount sent to landfills.

The Network for Business Sustainability points out that cement plants in countries like Germany, France and Belgium get almost one-third of their fuel from burning sewage sludge, waste wood, tires, and household and industrial refuse.

The Canadian public is often resistant to waste incinerators because of concerns over toxins released. However, the Network says that cement kilns burn at such high temperatures — up to 1,450 degreees Celsius — that most of the toxins are burned. Any residual compounds are often absorbed into the cement.

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