The impact of landfill disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) is well documented. Methane production from decomposition of organic waste is extremely harmful to the ozone; and wastes, even newspaper, pose an ongoing risk to groundwater. In the developing world where hazardous and medical waste and MSW are commonly disposed of in “dumps,” the impact from surface runoff of contaminates is widespread. Many countries are passing laws requiring proper waste disposal by local governments, but these regulations remain largely unfunded and had only limited impact. What communities need are effective and bankable waste solutions.
Greenlink works with best-in-class technology providers and partners, alongside our clients to develop just such waste-to-energy solutions for MSW waste stream. Each problem is unique, so we begin with an evaluation process, then propose and implement solutions. For example, anaerobic digestion is a proven and bankable technology used to process the organic waste to create methane, which after cleanup, is a “renewable gas” used to generate electric power and waste heat (and cooling) from combined heat and power systems.
The balance of the waste is recycled, but the economics of postconsumer, single-stream recycling has become very challenging, to the point where many communities have stopped recycling programs altogether. Our search for technologically and economically sound solutions to this problem led us to Renewlogy and its waste plastic–to–fuel solution.
PLASTIC-TO-FUEL with Renewlogy
Plastic, invented in 1907, is an amazing material with broad uses and benefits, the breadth of which could never have been imagined in its early days. Global production of plastics now exceeds 300 million tons annually, a 20-fold increase from the 1960s. Even with all our efforts, it is estimated only 9 percent of plastics produced since the 1950s were recycled; it will take hundreds of years for the unrecycled plastics to decompose, and these will likely never biodegrade.
The impact of plastics has just recently come to the forefront of our collective consciousness. Efforts to reduce or eliminate use and/or to recycle plastic straws, bottles, and packaging are underway. Particularly enlightening are the initiatives around ocean plastics, which are helping us understand the impact of plastics beyond what we can see.
- Plastic Ocean Project’s research on the ingestion of microplastics by zooplankton is featured in the new documentary, “A Plastic Ocean.”
- In samples taken by Team Turn the Tide on Plastic during the 2018 Volvo Ocean Race at Point Nemo in the Southern Ocean—the furthest point from land on earth—between 9 and 26 particles of microplastics per cubic meter were found.
- A majority of the world’s population lives near oceans, but waste from sources far from the sea travel down rivers, and scientists estimate over a quarter of ocean plastics come from the runoff of 10 rivers.
Even with efforts to collect and recycle plastic, the “what to do with it next” question has been difficult to answer. China implemented tougher import regulations on 24 kinds of solid waste and lowered contaminant thresholds, thus fundamentally eliminating the market for much of the United States’ waste plastic—commonly 3-7s. The economics of recycling is broken, so many municipalities have now stopped collecting plastics, and recyclers are landfilling waste plastics.
Greenlink is now partnered with Renewlogy to deliver a solution to this issue. Renewlogy’s patented, global-leading technology processes waste plastics (3-7s)— typically from municipal recycling streams— into high-value fuels. Each system is customized to meet the needs of each customer’s waste stream and fuel solution. For more information about Renewlogy and its waste plastic–to–fuel technology, please visit its website at www.renewlogy.com.
Beyond finding technical solutions to waste problems facing our clients and partners, the supporting capital solutions must be delivered hand-in-hand to ensure successful projects. We work with investors with experience in investing in renewable technologies and developing markets.
Trimantium Capital is one example. It is offering creative debt offerings for Renewlogy’s plastic-to-fuel projects in the United States.
Greenlink is partnering with Alta Group to assist us with capital solutions for our projects in Latin America; these include equity, debt, and equipment leasing.
We also work with our partners and in-country resources to monetize available incentives associated with waste-related projects and investments. Incentives can range from New Market Tax Credits, Opportunity Zones, grants and accelerated depreciation at the federal level, to property tax abatements, job, investment and corporate income tax credits, and renewable energy tax credits at the state and local level.