Twenty kilometres southeast of Vancouver is one of Canada’s leading waste-to-energy facilities. Every year, it processes approximately 285,000 tons of municipal solid waste and converts it into 940,000 tons of steam and up to 170,000MWh of electricity. Metal recovery is also a priority, and they recover 9,000 tons of recycled metal every year. Waste-to-energy-facilities like this are becoming more important as our industry turns toward urban mining to source valuable materials like construction aggregate and precious metals. 

How Does Burnaby’s Urban Mining Facility Work?

Waste, primarily from Vancouver’s North Shore, Burnaby, and New West, is collected and sent to the waste-to-energy facility. The waste is incinerated, releasing energy that is captured and turned into steam and electricity. The electricity collected is enough to power over 16,000 homes a year. 

Metal recovery is an essential source of revenue for the facility. Over 9,000 tons of ferrous and non-ferrous metals are recovered every year. Recovering metals like iron, steel, copper and aluminum have significant positive environmental impacts as well, since the process for mining and refining these metals is incredibly energy intensive. 

Much of the incinerator bottom ash has the potential to be repurposed for road construction purposes or used as an ingredient in asphalt, concrete, cinder blocks, and other construction materials.

Waste-To-Energy vs. Landfills

Non-biodegradable trash, like plastic, can sit in landfills for centuries. Leachate, a liquid that drains or “leaches” from landfills, is a byproduct that can contaminate groundwater near landfills. Landfills are also home to metals that would otherwise be recovered in waste-to-energy facilities. 

Waste-to-energy facilities provide heat, electricity, metals, and construction material while disposing of waste quickly and safely. The incinerator bottom ash created as a byproduct of incinerating waste contains precious metals and heavy metals that can be selectively recovered and sold to recyclers and metal refiners. 

Improve Metal Recovery with Sepro

Sepro Urban Mining specializes in optimizing metal recovery from incinerator bottom ash. Our proprietary system is easy to integrate into existing operations and gives added sources of revenue for waste-to-energy facilities. To learn more about incinerator bottom ash and metal recovery, contact Sepro Urban Mining today.