Where Does Our Trash Go?
Where does our trash go? As an environmentally conscious person, I’ve often asked myself this question. I recently called our local transfer station, and learned that our trash goes to EcoMaine. EcoMaine is a company that offers long-term solid waste solutions, as well as raises awareness of sustainable waste management strategies. Matt Grondin, the communications manager for EcoMaine offered to give us a tour of their two facilities for trash, and for recycling, and we happily accepted.
While we were there, we learned our single sort recycling is sorted by glass, metal, 1-7 plastics, paper/cardboard. As for the trash, it goes through several sorting steps at EcoMaine where any metals, and other recyclable materials are removed from the waste stream.
The remaining trash is dumped onto what they call a “tipping floor” and pushed into a bunker before being grabbed by a huge crane and deposited into one of two large boilers. It is then incinerated, and the resulting steam is used to generate electricity, in a process that is known as waste-to-energy. According to EcoMaine, they process around 175,000 tons of waste per year, which results in enough electricity to provide power to around 15,000 homes. Other benefits of waste-to-energy vs. landfilling raw trash include:
Reducing the volume of trash by 90% through incineration, leaving behind only ash, which means that only 10% of the original volume goes to the landfill
It is a process that is rigorously controlled for pollution through various technologies per Maine DEP and Federal EPA limits
And “post-burn” metal recovery for even further recycling – and less landfilling
How cool is it that our trash is used to produce energy?
Watch the virtual tour of EcoMaine below.
Did you see our Less Trash Challenge in the January Newsletter as well as on our social media? Keep an eye on our Instagram for our trash audit for this month.
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New Guest Blogs
If you haven’t already, hop on over to the blog page of our website where every so often, we host guest blog posts to help spread new ideas to keep our planet clean. This month we shared Tukatech’s “What is EcoFashion and how to Design it” and Karsten Neumeister’s “Solar Panel Recycling 101.” They are beautifully written articles, and full of useful information.
Click here to check out our blog, where you can find these, as well as a backlog of posts with more information on how we can all live a more waste free life.
House Smarts Radio
Last week, we were featured on HouseSmarts with Lou Manfredini. Through his podcast, he aims to provide the most relevant tactics and guidance for all things related to the home. From kitchens and bathrooms, to current design trends and do-it-yourself tutorials, his goal is to make a difference in the lives of everyday people, everyday.