Lafarge Plant Seeks Permit to Burn Plastic Waste

Lafarge Canada’s cement plant in Brookfield, Nova Scotia, Canada, plans to burn plastic waste to reduce its dependence on coal. The company introduced its idea to the Colchester County council on June 24, and launched an advertising campaign this week, according to The Chronicle Herald.

“Low-carbon fuels like plastics are used all over the world,” stated Regan Watts, a company spokesman, of burning non-chlorinated plastic waste in cement-making kilns. “This is not a new idea from an engineering perspective, but it allows a relatively older plant to modernize in a way that helps the local community, helps the environment and creates jobs. There’s lots of wins there for everyone and we think it’s a great idea.”

Watts said the company will forward paperwork to the provincial Environment Department to start its application for a trial permit to burn plastic waste over a two- or three-day period in August. The plastic will come from construction and demolition waste handled by Halifax C & D Recycling Ltd. that normally would end up in a landfill site.

“We’d be taking demolition plastics, sorting them, cleaning them and shredding them and transporting them to the plant,” Watts explained. “We’d like to replace as much coal as possible at the plant. We know it’s a dirty fossil fuel and we’d like to reduce our environmental footprint.”

The Brookfield plant burns about 30,000 tons of solid fuel in a year, and 80 percent of that is coal. If the test is successful and the company applies for a permit to burn plastic waste year-round, it estimates it could eliminate 30 percent of its coal use.

“In an ideal world we’d run a plant 100 percent on low-carbon fuels. But practically speaking, we’re not there. We’d be using a mixture of coal and plastic,” said Watts.

The company will host an open house July 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. for community input.

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