Recycling Waste-to-Energy Bottom Ash Contributes to Resource Efficiency

The collection of metals from bottom ashes can make an important contribution towards a more resource efficient Europe, according to the first joint seminar ‘From Ashes to Metals’ organised by the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants (CEWEP) and the Packaging Group of the European Aluminium Association (EAA).

The seminar gathered a significant number of experts and companies active in the rapidly developing sector of treating bottom ashes from Waste-to-Energy plants as a valuable resource for recycled metals and other secondary aggregates.

Speakers from both industries presented the latest environmental and economic scenarios and demonstrated that due to the availability of innovative sorting techniques yields can be considerably increased.

Valuable parts of bottom ash, which is the residue from the combustion of household waste can be recycled.

For example, the remaining ferrous and non-ferrous metals in the waste can be extracted from the bottom ashes and recycled into new products such as aluminium castings for the automotive industry. Other remaining minerals can be used as secondary aggregates, e.g. in road construction or in building products.

An increasing number of Waste-to-Energy plants and bottom ash processors are investing in the latest innovative sorting technologies available, supported by the growing need for raw materials in Europe.

The aluminium industry is happy to use these additional amounts of recycled material although both EAA and CEWEP stress that the preferred option remains the pre-sorting and selective collection of used aluminium items such as beverage cans and food containers.

Due to the extra quantities of raw materials recovered from bottom ashes both industries actively contribute to a further reduction of the environmental impact of waste and thus help to improve Europe’s resource efficiency, using unavoidable waste as a valuable resource wherever possible.

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