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From Ash Into Recycled Metal

There's a new metals recycling facility going into operation in Peabody and the company says it's the first of its kind in North America.

Covanta Energy operates the Peabody ash monofill on Farm Avenue. Credit: Courtesy
Covanta Energy operates the Peabody ash monofill on Farm Avenue. Credit: Courtesy
Peabody continues to be a home for technological innovation.

A leading waste management and renewable energy provider is teaming up with a Berlin-based company that specializes in processing metal from ash on a new metals recycling operation in Peabody, which is the first of its kind in North America.

They'll be turning ash into metal on Farm Avenue and thereby reducing greenhouse gases, saving energy and creating jobs.

Covanta TARTECH, LLC, a joint venture between Covanta Energy Corp. and Germany-based TARTECH eco industries AG, is firing up the new facility this week, which is touted to recover thousands of tons of metal from material that has been dumped in an ash monofill.

Covanta converts solid waste to clean, renewable energy at the Peabody site and says the new project uses a "proprietary and highly specialized technology" to recycle metals from the ash that is left after the conversion process.

TARTECH specializes in energy-from-waste ash processing services. The first three letters of the company's name actually stand for three German words that mean "separation," "mechanical pulping" and "recovery."

A ribbon cutting ceremony and demonstration will be held on Thursday with local officials at 40 Farm Ave.

The Peabody ash monofill has been in operation since 1996 and was purchased by Covanta Holding Corp. in 2008 for $7.4 million. The site is one of 45 of Covanta's waste-to-energy facilities across the country.

“Following an extensive review of our options to recover more metal for recycling from our operations, we are thrilled to be partnering with TARTECH,” said Seth Myones, COO of Covanta Energy, announcing the joint venture last fall. “Their breakthrough technology, combined with Covanta’s know-how, will deliver a high quality metal product that can now be recycled instead of being lost in a monofill.”

Covanta said the joint venture would develop projects at Covanta sites as well as partner with municipal and commercial ash monofill owners.

“The key to recovering metals from ash monofills will be to properly prepare the material using our highly specialized technology. With Covanta’s market presence as a world leading energy-from-waste company and operational expertise, they are the perfect partner for us,” said Alexander Kalckreuth, TARTECH CEO.

Covanta expects not only to recover more metals at its facilities, but also to significantly extend the life of its ash monofills.

Here are some facts from Covanta on recycling:

  • Recycling one ton of aluminum reduces greenhouse gases by nine tons and making new aluminum cans from used cans takes 95 percent less energy than using virgin materials.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run a television for three hours.
  • For steel, every ton recycled avoids the mining of 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone and saves 75 percent of the energy that would be used to create steel purely from raw materials.

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