Energy-from-waste – Transforming Menstural Waste to Clean Energy

Updated on May 31, 2024

This article discusses how sanitary waste is converted into clean energy, emphasizing a sustainable approach to waste management.

The process, known as energy-from-waste (EfW), involves incinerating non-hazardous waste at facilities like Covanta to generate steam for energy, while recovering metals for recycling.

This method not only reduces landfill use but also significantly cuts down greenhouse gas emissions, demonstrating an effective strategy to combat environmental pollution and promote renewable energy initiatives.

The impact of these practices extends to large-scale benefits, including powering cities and providing comprehensive waste diversion reports to clients, showcasing their contribution to environmental sustainability.

Transforming Menstural Waste into Renewable Energy

	Sustainable Zero Waste Period

To uphold our environmental commitment, we send most menstural product waste, menstrual cups and pads from our sanitary disposal units to Covanta, an energy-from-waste (EfW) facility. Covanta incinerates waste to generate energy and recycles metals, ensuring safe waste disposal and reducing landfill use.

What is energy-from-waste (EfW)?

Covanta defines energy-from-waste (EfW) as a process that “takes non-hazardous waste destined for landfills, combusts it in specially designed boilers then recovers the heat to generate steam to use in energy generation or other industrial processes.”

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Unlike traditional incineration, EfW does not simply burn solid waste with the goal of reducing volume.

It creates renewable energy and recovers metals to be recycled. A series of air pollution controls and filters are used to ensure that the air being released back into the atmosphere is safe and clean.

Why is Energy-from-Waste Good?

Covanta processes 20 million tons of waste and recycles 500,000 tons of metal annually. This reduces landfill use, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, which are primarily methane and carbon dioxide. EfW prevents one ton of greenhouse gases per ton of waste processed and eliminates 2.4 tons of greenhouse gases for every ton of recycled metal. EfW is more effective and cleaner than converting landfill gases into energy, as methane is 86 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

Below comprehensive benefits demonstrate why energy-from-waste is a crucial approach to modern waste management, promoting environmental sustainability, public health, and resource efficiency

Environmental Impact:

  • Reduces Landfill Waste: Covanta processes 20 million tons of waste annually, diverting it from landfills and decreasing the volume of waste that contributes to landfill pollution.
  • Decreases Greenhouse Gas Emissions: EfW significantly reduces the emission of harmful gases. Processing one ton of solid waste prevents the release of one ton of greenhouse gases. Additionally, recycling one ton of metal eliminates 2.4 tons of greenhouse gases.
  • Methane and Carbon Dioxide: Both gases trap heat in the atmosphere, but methane is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide. EfW is ten times more effective in reducing these emissions compared to landfill gas conversion.
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Health and Safety:

  • Air Quality: Advanced air pollution control systems and filters ensure that emissions from EfW facilities are safe and clean, significantly reducing the number of toxins and pollutants released into the atmosphere.
  • Waste to Energy Conversion: Unlike traditional incineration, EfW not only reduces waste volume but also converts it into renewable energy, thus supporting a cleaner and healthier environment.

Resource Recovery:

  • Metal Recycling: EfW processes recover and recycle 500,000 tons of metal annually, reducing the need for new metal extraction and the associated environmental impact.
  • Renewable Energy Generation: EfW facilities generate steam from waste combustion, which can be used for energy production or other industrial processes, contributing to renewable energy sources.

Sustainable Waste Management:

  • Efficiency: EfW is a more efficient and cleaner method for managing waste compared to traditional landfill practices, making it a vital component of sustainable waste management strategies.
  • Economic Benefits: EfW provides a dual benefit of waste reduction and energy generation, supporting economic growth through the creation of renewable energy and the reduction of landfill management costs.
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How has Citron Made a Difference?

Since 2011, we have been sending waste from our sanitary disposal units to Covanta for EfW processing. We have diverted enough waste to power the city of Ottawa for five years! That is enough to sustain the homes and businesses of 934,243 people. Our clients are able to see the difference they are making too, as we can provide them with Waste Diversion Reports detailing how much waste from their facility has been turned into renewable energy and stayed out of landfills.

Sustainability is a top priority. As industry leaders, we support it by utilizing energy-from-waste, recycling materials, and properly disposing of batteries. Learn more about our sustainability efforts and Covanta’s processes here.


Find out how we can elevate your washroom experience today.