Recycling and Composting
Energy Answers has worked with many communities in different capacities to support their waste reduction and recycling activities as part of an integrated approach to solid waste management. Following is a representative list of Energy Answers’ experience in designing, supporting and implementing effective recycling programs.
Cape Resources Company:
Cape Resources Company, which was acquired by Energy Answers in 1988 and sold to Covanta Energy in 2007, is a wood and yard waste recycling facility located on Cape Cod in the village of Marstons Mills in Barnstable, Massachusetts. CRC accepts brush, stumps, logs, leaves and grass clippings from landscapers and residents, and turns them into high quality wood chips, bark mulch, compost, and loam. This normally discarded material, after time and processing, is recycled into useable, high quality products. Recycling these organic materials back into the soil from which they came is part of Energy Answers' philosophy to "economically recover resources from waste with a goal of zero disposal."
Pittsfield Recycling Operations:
At the Pittsfield Resource Recovery Facility, a residential drop-off area was provided for the benefit of Pittsfield’s residents. At this facility, loads of leaves, grass clippings and brush are consolidated for off-site composting; rubble (i.e., concrete, asphalt, brick and stone) is sorted for off-site grinding and eventual reuse as road base or in asphalt; lead acid batteries and white goods are collected, as well as freon-bearing appliances. In addition, items that contain mercury and lead which are banned from regular disposal such as button batteries, thermostats, and flourescent tubes are collected for recycling.
In 2005, the City of Pittsfield selected eco/Pittsfield, a former subsidiary of Energy Answers, to provide recyclables consolidation and transportation services for the City’s residential curbside collection program. The Pittsfield Facility was expanded to provide this service to the City for the next ten years.
SEMASS Recycling Assistance:
The numerous communities served by SEMASS collected only a small quantity of recyclable materials, making it extremely difficult for the various communities to effectively market their materials and create viable recycling programs. Energy Answers provided direct assistance to these communities and to private waste haulers in southeastern Massachusetts, guaranteeing acceptance of the recyclable materials they collected, and effectively negotiating with scrap dealers and recyclable materials markets to help these small programs succeed.
Energy Answers patented the Recycle Bag® system to eliminate the need for costly duplicate collection of separated recyclable materials and to provide residents with a convenient way to participate in community recycling efforts. This system was used by several SEMASS communities and has been successfully implemented in other cities across the United States.
Ash Recovery and Recycling System:
Energy Answers' PRF technology, which was first used at SEMASS, maximizes the recovery of recyclable materials from combusted ash in the form of marketable metals and construction aggregate. Recovery of metals from ash with screening and magnetic separation is an efficient method of increasing the recycling rates for a region without the added costs often associated with additional segregated recycling efforts. In addition, once the metals are removed from the ash, the remaining ash has a high glass content and is an excellent construction aggregate.
In 1993, Energy Answers received the Excellence in Environmental Engineering Honor Award from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers for its "outstanding design" of the SEMASS Facility’s Ash Management Program. The SEMASS ash management program has been adapted and is now in operation at other resource recovery facilities. For example, at the Pittsfield RRF, ash is processed to recover recyclable metals and to produce a granular material used as fill material.
Eastern Rensselaer County Community Warehouse:
Initiated by local environmentalists in 1996 with the support and assistance of Energy Answers, ERC’s Community Warehouse in Hoosick Falls, NY coordinates the collection, repair and sale of reusable items to the public. It is the largest reuse retail facility in New York. The Warehouse accepts unwanted items such as home and office furnishings, building materials, computers, electronics, appliances, and books and has brought thousands of items that were destined for disposal back into productive use.
Household Hazardous Waste Management:
Energy Answers has helped numerous communities establish and operate household hazardous waste collection programs. The company’s involvement in these efforts has included staffing and reporting, negotiations with regulated waste handlers, establishing community procedures, developing publicity, and full program operation.