Co-ordinated Waste Disposal as Part of the Chinese “Waste-Free City” Vision

Our recent WCA member survey highlighted high levels of interest in the co-processing of municipal and hazardous wastes as alternative fuels for the cement industry. In this blog, Chinese cement producer, BBMG discusses their advances in and capacities for waste-co-processing, how this can contribute towards the Chinese Waste Free City vision, and how this technology can be used to dispose of medical waste during the COVID-19 epidemic. 

Thank you to China Cement Net and Zhou Cheng for the text.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the use of protective clothing, masks and other medical supplies has increased dramatically, creating a challenge for the transport and disposal of medical wastes. The technology of co-processing of hazardous wastes including medical waste by cement kiln has been quite mature and has played an important role in the disposal of Covid-19 medical waste.

Jiang Deyi, CEO of BBMG, says "The co-processing of solid and hazardous wastes by cement kilns has obvious advantages. The treatment of medical wastes in this outbreak has made the industry realise that co-processing by cement kilns is the most scientific, reasonable and accurate waste disposal method."

On one hand, the temperature in the cement kiln is up to 1600℃, and the thermal capacity and thermal inertia are large. The waste stays in the high temperature area for up to 5~15 seconds. The harmful components can be thoroughly decomposed to ensure environmental safety. On the other hand, waste co-processing in cement kilns can not only eliminate the hazardous and municipal household wastes, and their associated pollution, but also realise resource conservation. "Part of the hazardous wastes have high heat value. After scientific pre-treatment, the fuel substitution rate of cement enterprises can even reach more than 30% in the process.” Jiang Deyi explains.

How did the cement industry make a breakthrough in co-processing technology in cement kilns in just a few years? For BBMG, this involves continuous and deep exploration of co-processing technology.

As early as the 1990s, BBMG began to carry out studies of co-processing various solid wastes by cement kilns, particularly at its two enterprises in Beijing. Through its continuous technological innovation, BBMG has transformed from a cement company to an environmental protection technology company, making contributions to clear water and blue sky in the capital. After 10 years of hard work, BBMG Liushui Environmental Protection Company has developed China’s first demonstration line of treating household wastes and incinerating fly ash in cement kilns. This line can eliminate dioxins completely, and were once the only case that realised the industrial utilisation of fly ash as a harmless resource in the world. At present, the technology has been successfully applied by cement enterprises in BBMG and by other companies.

Meanwhile, BBMG Beishui Environmental Protection Company (BCP) has built the first demonstration line for co-processing hazardous wastes by cement kilns and the first demonstration line for co-processing domestic sludge by cement kilns. Eco-Island Science and Technology Co., Ltd. of BBMG is the first large-scale modern hazardous waste treatment organisation with its business covering incineration, landfill and comprehensive utilisation of resources.

“Co-processing hazardous waste minimises the exploitation and destruction of natural resources. Under the influence of policy guidance and other factors, it is one of the future development trends of cement enterprises to use waste resources as alternative fuels and raw materials.” Mr. Jiang Deyi has said. With China’s stricter environmental protection policies and tighter waste control, more and more waste will need to be disposed of. Cement will become a by-product of BBMG cement enterprises - hazardous wastes, municipal sludge and household waste disposal will become the core business.

Taking the construction and development of Xiong’an New Area as an example, assuming that 1 person produces 1kg of waste per day, the daily output of urban household wastes will reach 900 tons in the future, with an annual output exceeding 320,000 tons. BBMG actively promotes the construction of a “Waste-Free city” in Xiong’an New Area. Bringing into full play its capabilities in treating hazardous wastes, sludge, household wastes and polluted soil, BBMG participates in a number of environmental treatment projects, such as Tang County 500 t/d household wastes treatment modification project and hazardous waste disposal project in Shenjiabi village, Laohetou town, Anxin county. Since the end of 2019, BBMG has helped clean up 27,000 tons of hazardous wastes, 5,200m3 of construction wastes, 1,240m3 of household wastes and 11,000m3 of other solid waste in Xiong’an.

Jiang Deyi believes that "to build Xiong’an New Area, ecological and environmental protection is the priority. In this sense, the first thing to be considered is waste disposal." As a green and ecological city, the disposal methods and technical requirements of wastes and sludge will be very strict. The landfill method occupies a large amount of land and leads to the emissions of greenhouse gases. It is no longer possible for sludge to be dumped in the new area, including incineration which creates air pollution problems. Under this situation, co-processing by cement kilns has more advantages in solving the waste and sludge issues in Xiongan new area. For BBMG, waste treatment demand creates favourable opportunities for it to scale up co-processing by cement kilns.

In order to ensure the normal production and R&D of epidemic-related pharmaceutical companies in Beijing, BBMG’s companies in Beijing guarantee the continuous and stable 24-hour operation of a fly ash disposal production line and hazardous waste disposal production line, and provides economical and basic livelihood services for the main urban areas of Beijing. Among them, Liushui Environmental Protection Company gives full play to the function of “Urban environmental protection infrastructure” and effectively maintains the safety of the capital. From 1st January to the end of February 2020, 12,468 tons of fly ash generated by 7 waste incineration plants, 191 tons of waste acid produced by providing raw materials for the production of masks, protective clothing and other medical protectives, 25,158 tons of construction wastes and other solid wastes were disposed of. Beishui Environmental Protection Company disposed of 8537.46 tons of hazardous wastes and 1182.65 tons of sewage sludge from water plant, laboratories, research institutions and Yizhuang Pharmaceutical Park in Beijing.

Through price reduction, BBMG implements waste disposal for Beijing medical institutions, medical device R&D and production enterprises at a rate not exceeding 50% of the contracted price, and also gives preferential policies to enterprises that have not signed the disposal contract. At the same time, they provide 24-hour door-to-door service for the customers who have the demand for hazardous waste transportation, formulate a "one enterprise, one strategy" emergency plan, strictly reinforces the management of hazardous waste transportation vehicles and teams, and give priority to the service guarantee of key units. According to preliminary estimates, this strategy provides preferential benefits to 581 enterprises, reducing the burden of enterprises by ¥12.3 million year on year.

At present, 90% of the BBMG’s enterprises workers have returned to work. Multiple cement kilns with waste co-processing systems operate 24/7, and work resumption rate for other production lines has reached more than 50%.In general, the epidemic situation will not change the long-term trend of China's economy. Whether in the epidemic situation or in promoting the sustainable development of China's economy, many cement enterprises like BBMG have made their contributions with practical actions, and have built a good social image for the cement industry.

Working together, we will rise to the uphill fight. Standing at the starting point of the historical change in 2020, we believe that large numbers of cement enterprises such as BBMG, will turn the "crisis" into an opportunity, continuously improve quality and efficiency, continue to promote green and intelligent cement plants, and lay a more solid foundation for the high-quality development of the cement industry in the new era!