Cement co-processing

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By Rox Peña

E-ssue

Thursday, January 24, 2013


LAST week, Governor Lilia “Nanay Baby” Pineda, along with some mayors and representatives of all towns in Pampanga were in Mabalacat to learn about recent developments in solid waste management. Specifically, they were there to observe the hauling of plastic and other residual wastes from Mabalacat’s Materials Recovery Facility for transport to the Holcim Cement plant site in Bulacan.

Mabalacat is the first Local Government Unit (LGU) in Pampanga to implement a waste segregation scheme for selected residual waste which will be used in a process called Cement Co-processing. Instead of being disposed in landfills, plastics, Styrofoam (polystyrene), textile, paper and even agricultural waste like coconut husks can be used as a substitute to coal in the cement manufacturing process.

What’s good about this project is that the LGU does not have to pay anything for the disposal of residual waste. Only a minimal hauling fee is being charged per trip. However, Gov. Pineda appealed to Holcim for free hauling, especially when she learned that the big boss of Holcim is a Kapampangan. In Bulacan, no fee is being charged for the hauling of waste.

As a trade-off to the free hauling, Gov. Pineda promised to give all LGUs, including Angeles City, baling machines so that the transport of residual waste can be maximized. She vowed to implement the residual waste co-processing project in all towns and cities of the province.

Mabalacat City, the pioneer in this waste management endeavor, is already reaping the benefits in terms of reduced disposal cost and a cleaner environment. While the city hired sorters to segregate selected residuals, the over-all cost it is still much cheaper than paying the tipping and hauling fee in Kalangitan Sanitary Landfill in Capas, Tarlac.

So what exactly is Co-processing? According to Holcim, co-processing destroys the hazardous components of waste while capturing its energy and mineral content in the production of cement. It ensures total thermal destruction and physical eradication of waste materials, including ash. Holcim claims that Co-processing is a safe and secure method of waste management.

“Through the cement kilns’ stable, high temperature environment (<2,000°C), co-processing is a sustainable and efficient means of completely destroying waste,” says Holcim. The process leaves no solid residue or water effluents to be disposed. Co-processing offers several advantages over the other disposal technologies. It is endorsed by the Basel Convention, a globally recognized body that regulates trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste.

Residual waste that can be co-processed includes plastics like Styrofoam (polystyrene), sando bags, cellophanes and foil packs. Other materials that can also be used include textile minus the metal parts like zippers and buttons, rubber and biomass like dried coconut husk, rice straw and bagasse.

The residual waste however must be dry, free of any foreign materials, has tolerable odor and packed according to the agreed method.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 25, 2013.

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