Founded in 1997, ERA has been helping clients recycle a broad range of chemicals and industrial byproducts. Environmental Recycling Alternatives, Inc. (ERA) is a company focused on helping industry recycle various commodities and oddities. We offer a broad range of services and recycling alternatives to accommodate the most demanding clients. We utilize multi-year expertise in the many disciplines of recycling; years of experience in the plastics, paper, metals, chemicals, and electronics recycling. In addition, we take a Chemistry approach to every material we evaluate for recycling and reuse.
Segregation, separation is the primary key to enabling any industry to achieve Zero Waste, Reuse, and Recycling. This requires a commitment from the top down in any organization. Initially, as with anything worthwhile, some difficulties must be overcome; those come about in changing the habits of personnel and management thinking. The easy part is to Decide you and your organization want to minimize your “footprint” on the environment. It can seem and be very complicated and very arduous, at first. It can actually cost more than disposal in the beginning. In the long term, it can have a direct affect on the bottom line, on the balance sheet.
As an example, when recycling E-Waste, (electronic waste) began just a few years ago to eliminate heavy metals from being disposed in landfills; it was costing industry and institutions a tidy sum. Today, the pendulum has swung and now E-Waste is recycled on a much broader basis and can return value to the companies that recycle. Like anything, in the recycling arenas, it is a matter of economies of scale, and transportation costs still play a major role in all enterprises; manufacturing or recycling.
There are some simple things that must be known when it comes to recycling;
- Chemistry of a byproduct, waste, surplus, off-spec material
- Quantity available; it is best if a full truckload, railcar, can be accumulated
- Packaging of the byproduct must be practical to facilitate shipping and recycling
- Physical description, will indicate if the material can be handled for recycling
- Storage capacity at the plant offers the ability to accumulate for recycling
The more readily recyclable materials are those known commodities like plastic, paper, metal, unused chemicals, surplus goods, and consumer commodities. It is the oddities that ERA also assists industry in recycling.
For example, a calcium carbonate sludge (20-25% moisture) from a pharmaceutical intermediate manufacturer is now being used as an ingredient in a construction product. A paper processing plant makes a 1-4% starch waste water, that after processing through a Vapor Compression Distillation system; yields distilled hot water for reuse in the plant and a 40% starch concentrate suitable for animal feed. A similar application is under evaluation for a food processor for a 4-9% sugar waste water; which yields a 50% sugar concentrate and a hot distilled water for reuse. While another evaluation is underway for a textile plant that also produces as starch water waste.
One of the Oddity alternatives for reuse is to utilize a blend of wastes and byproducts as an Alternate Fuel. This can be done with materials whose main chemistry is organic; thus it does not end up decomposing in a landfill; but is readily used in a Waste-To-Energy application or is processed into an Alternate Fuel as a substitute for fossil fuels. This should not be confused with Biomass Waste-To-Energy plants that take plethora of materials that require extensive pollution control equipment, must be supplemented with fossil fuels to enable these biomass plants to burn what is typically too low in Btu value to sustain burn.
It is Environmental Recycling Alternatives belief that the US disposes as much Btu’s in landfills as is imported into the United States from the Mideast. Note, this is not a documented fact. ERA strives to be a part of the “Green” movement that is prevalent in the US today, while being practical. It appears that too many green supporters end up taking an extremist view of how things should be done without understanding the science, chemistry, and total impact. Understanding chemistry is our first approach to recycling.