Lafarge seeking approval to use some plastic waste as alternative fuel source

Published on June 27, 2014
The Lafarge cement plant in Brookfield has received approval from the county for disposal of treated frack water in its kiln.

TRURO – Lafarge cement plant is moving ahead with an attempt to use some plastic waste instead of coal at its Brookfield-based plant.

Scarth MacDonnell, plant manager, appeared before Colchester County council on Thursday night to inform the municipality of the plant’s intent to use plastic waste as “low carbon fuel.”

“We think we found a solution” to the “very real problem” of plastics that build up in landfills.

“We hope to get 30 per cent substitution of coal,” said MacDonnell, adding the “emissions are safe and meet or exceed provincial and federal government standards.”

The business will submit an application to Nova Scotia’s Department of Environment for an industrial trial replacing coal with shredded plastics. It will also host an open house July 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. for people who want to learn more about and talk about the idea, which would also “help with the long-term sustainability” of Lafarge, said MacDonnell.

He also said if the government gave permission to the concept, it

“will produce locals jobs in sorting, shredding and transporting” materials.

In his presentation to council, MacDonnell said buried plastic in landfills take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade and may leak toxic additives into the groundwater.

He added a study by the province’s Department of Natural Resources indicates there is 79,000 tons of plastic going into landfills a year in this province.

The presentation also said a recent study by Dalhousie University states using plastics reduces carbon dioxide emissions up to 34 per cent and other greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by as much as 98 per cent.

Council reiterated that potential approval would not come from the municipality but other government departments.

“I appreciate your transparency,” by reporting to council, said Coun. Doug MacInnes.

Mayor Bob Taylor wished luck to MacDonnell on the initiative. No one on council voiced opposition to the idea.

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