Is garbage really a problem or an opportunity?

Garbage has become a huge social and environmental problem to almost all the people in the modern world. Every day, millions of tons of garbage is stockpiled throughout the world, and strategies for its utilization had been laid down, in the sense according to economic principles of how to make profit with as small expenditure as possible. Current waste management and treatment practices only target reduction of garbage, often at a high cost but doesn’t solve the problem for good, with no added economic benefits. Such options are no longer the best ones in this time of economic hardship.

When I say garbage, I refer to the sort that consists of a variety of heterogeneous materials such as metals, glass, plastic, rubber, cement and organic waste materials such as lumber, and agricultural waste, human and animal manure, etc. Pyrolysis, is the best technology that can process this kind of garbage economically and turn it into usable energy. However, garbage can not be fed directly into a pyrolysis reactor unit because of the impurities in it. Processing it would need a lot of preparation to produce high value products. Only after heterogeneous materials are separated from organic materials, can garbage input be feed into the pyrolysis reactor.

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Products generated by the pyrolysis process include charcoal, bio oil and syn-gas. Charcoal with a calorific value between 4000-4500 kcal / kg will be made into briquettes and can be used as a clean substitute for coal to fuel boilers and turbines to generate electricity. It can also be used as BIO-CHAR as a soil amendment. Studies have been made on charcoal briquettes processed from garbage and some have been made on a commercial scale. Bio oil can be used as a fuel as well. This can be obtained from further processing and refining the excess syn-gas (synthetic gases) and can be used to fuel big power plants. Generally, there are still a lot of big cities in the world that experience shortages electricity today. Pyrolysis technology has been proven to be a practical, safe and reliable alternative energy source that could benefit such cities.

Millions of tons of city garbage is stockpiled throughout the world everyday. Problem or Opportunity? It depends on how you look at it…

24 Replies to “Is garbage really a problem or an opportunity?”

  1. coolass

    There is also the marine litter in what is known as:

    The Five Major Ocean-Wide Gyres

    There are five major ocean-wide gyres: the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, and Indian Ocean gyres. Each is flanked by a strong and narrow “western boundary current,” and a weak and broad “eastern boundary current.”

    Specifically, the following:

    Great Pacific Garbage Patch

    Indian Ocean Garbage Patch

    North Atlantic Garbage Patch

    1. these aquatic invaders, when dried and processed can be transformed into a usable fuel…problem is…how can we possibly collect them?…

  2. Pyrolysis; does this mean burning? (sorry too lazy to google it) but if it is, then we really have to amend our clean air act–> this prohibits any kind of burning. that’s why we have this problem of garbage piling up.

  3. I agree! I see it as an opportunity as well. We have tons of garbage and it can be utilized as a source of electricity. Sana gamitin na lang ito. Pero…alam naman natin kung bakit ang basura ay sadyang nagiging basura lang. 🙁

  4. More than the usual recyclables is the litter. That’s a potential fuel source right there, but the Pinoys have painted themselves yet again into a pro-poverty corner by putting up a Clean Air Act that completely diregards advances in waste incineration technology, but allows smoke belchers go scot-free.

    1. incineration of industrial and medical wastes actually do more harm than good, that’s why it was prohibited not just in the Philippines but in the Eurozone as well…
      But Pyrolysis and Gasification Technology is the safest and cleanest way to process industrial, municipal and medical wastes and transform them into usable energy in a form of BIOGAS, BIODIESEL, and BIOCHAR…

      1. How can you say incineration does more harm than good. Incineration is the usually the cheapest form of treatment after landfill. Incinerators use scrubbers to keep the exhaust clean. A tricycle has more pollution.

        Also the Eurozone didn’t ban incineration. It’s everywhere.

  5. coolass,

    Is there a need to detoxify certain type of wastes (especially those associated with medical industry) before pyrolysis? How can this be achieved, if so?

    1. there are specific government regulations with regards to disposal of medical waste because of the hazards it poses to human health, so we cannot just collect and process them without violating the law…
      what i am referring to here are the Municipal Solid Waste, Organic Industrial Waste, Agro Forestry Waste, Food Waste and the likes which just needs proper segregation before it can be loaded into pyrolysis reactor or gasifier.

      1. ibinabaon?? ganun?? well mapupuno din ang earth’s crust baka tayo din magsuffer.bakit di nalang dalhin kaya sa ibang planeta wala naman taon doon.hehe joke

  6. well, to make things simple, just use two kinds of trashcan.. one for non recycle stuff and one for recycle stuff.. you can help mother earth without wasting any useful trash. Save money, SAVE MOTHER EARTH! :))

    1. you’re right Erica…and the non-recycle stuff, we’ll pyrolyze and turn into useful stuff such as cooking gas, ethanol or biodiesel to name a few…by doing so, we’ll ultimately help save mother earth 🙂

    2. Two points here:

      1 – It’s better to have three. One for non-recyclable, one for recyclables and one for PAPER. Paper and other wood-based products take up more than half of a person’s daily garbage output, and since paper is completely recyclable it should have its own bin apart from those already recyclable.

      2 – Mother Earth doesn’t need saving. The truth of the matter is, if humans do destroy the current ecosystem (alas taking a lot of life along with it), Earth has billions of years to revitalize itself with a new ecosystem. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. The best that humans could do is to preserve the current ecosystem as much as he can and go along with the Earth’s evolutionary phases.

  7. Definitely an OPPORTUNITY to create something out of nothing! I can only wish our government can afford to buy a pyrolysis reactor machine 🙁 It’s always from starting which makes it hard to get a good result especially when it involves money. The idea of using syn gas or bio oils to run an industrial plants is an advantage for the company and the environment as well. The industrial plants can save up for spending billions to power up their machines at the same time our planet will be cleaned up from clutters everywhere . Thus saving our beautiful planet for our future children to see & enjoy it’s beauty.

    1. Pyrolysis reactor can be custom designed according to needs…the type and volume of feedstocks, mode of operation, and the final product you want…and it don’t really cost much, meron akong design na, ang akin estimate (kung ako na din ang gagawa) ay aabot lamang ng 300,000 pesos na kayang kayang gastusan ng kahit isang pangkaraniwang mamamayan…

      1. Hi pre, really interested to open
        one. What is your contact number so we can discuss this matter further. Here is my phone number: +62 82250555895 in Indonesia.

        Best Regards,

        Johnathan Guzman

  8. ang implementation kasi jan ang mahirap. it’s even hard to implement segregation of wastes how much more collecting wastes to burn in good use after. personal choice pa rin if people will follow it. Like in slam areas.It saddens me how they can afford to live in a stinky environment.Paglilinis sa paligid nila di magawa, paano nalang ang iba. Ayun tambak na ang basura. Reality hurts huh?

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