Many Massachusetts residents are changing their solid waste into electricity. That change is giving them even more power - the power to recycle virtually all their steel cans.
About 40 communities in southeastern Massachusetts (including cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard) ship their solid waste to the SEMASS resource recovery facility.
Municipal solid waste is delivered directly to the facility’s tipping floor via train or truck. Recyclable and bulky materials are removed, and the remaining solid waste is loaded onto a conveyor belt and passed through shredders which reduce it to a size of six inches or less.
About 75 percent of the steel scrap is then magnetically removed and loaded onto a separate conveyor belt. The belt feeds the steel cans and scrap directly into trucks, which deliver the scrap to regional secondary processors and steel mills. Approximately 100,000 tons of steel scrap have been recovered for recycling since the facility opened in 1989.
The remaining 25 percent of the ferrous scrap that enters the boilers falls to the bottom of the incinerator system. The steel cans, scrap, and nonferrous metals, along with a byproduct of the incineration process (ash) is collect and conveyed to the facility’s ash processing plant where steel cans and scrap are magnetically recovered for recycling.
Because steel is magnetically separated, participation in this recycling effort is virtually 100 percent. In addition, many of the communities separate steel cans from he solid waste stream through residential recycling programs.
The steel cans, scrap and nonferrous metals recovered from the post-combustion process are taken to regional secondary processors.
SEMASS is owned by the SEMASS Partnership, a group of subsidiaries of Energy Answers Corporation, ESI Energy, inc., Bechtel Group, Inc., and Stephens, Inc., and managed by SEMASS Corporation, a subsidiary of Energy Answers Corporation.