Canadian Biomass Magazine

Study: Alternative source of energy going to waste

January 28, 2013
By Canadian Plastics Industry Association

January 28, 2013, Toronto, ON – A new study carried out by the School of Planning of the University of Waterloo on behalf of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) has determined that if all of the non- recycled plastics that are put into Canadian landfills each year were converted to energy, using technologies currently available, the energy would be sufficient to provide fuel for over 600,000 automobiles annually.

“Plastics, being hydrocarbons, have energy values substantially higher than coal and almost as high as natural gas and oil. Capturing this energy value of non-recycled plastics would contribute a significant supply of alternative energy in Canada”, says Professor Murray E. Haight, one of the authors of the study, entitled "Energy and Economic Values of Non-Recycled Plastics (NRP) Currently Landfilled in Canada.”

The study estimated that if all the non-recycled plastics were converted to fuel oil, using the technology called pyrolysis, it would produce almost 9 million barrels of oil equivalent to a value of $786 million.

Alternatively if all of the non-recycled plastics were separated from other wastes and used as fuel in specially-designed power plants, the electricity produced would be sufficient to supply almost 500,000 Canadian households annually while also reducing our dependence on coal.

Similarly, the study also estimated that if 100 percent of Canada’s currently landfilled combustible solid waste instead were diverted to new waste to energy (WTE) power plants, it could provide electricity to power more than 1.5 million homes each year.

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