Waste cardboard is being used to create home heating fuel in Canada by mixing in with conventional wood pellets, in an initiative that could save cardboard being sent to landfill.
The Invuik-based Aurora Research Institute is carrying out a pilot project where researchers are shredding the cardboard into tiny particles, before the particles are fed into a pellet maker, which heats and compresses the material. The heat effectively melts the polymers in the cardboard, which allows it to be shaped into pellets. When the pellets cool they retain their form.
Approximately 100 tonnes of cardboard enters Inuvik’s landfill every year. It can’t be recycled because the cost of shipping it south is too high, according to the Aurora Research Institute.
The Aurora Research Institute believes that if the pilot project is successful it will create local jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve landfill space.
Cardboard pellets can also cut down on methane and other gases that can be created when cardboard breaks down unevenly in a landfill.
Burning the pellets still creates CO2 emissions, but those emissions have a less potent greenhouse effect than methane.
Patrick Gall, Engineering and Technology Projects Technician at the Aurora Research Institute, told CBC News: “By burning [cardboard pellets], we can sort of guarantee that we’re getting at least best case emissions even compared to just decomposing in the landfill.”
Following the pilot, is is intended that the Aurora Research Institute will be able to turn over the boiler to the local company, Delta Enterprises, that’s hosting it and allow the company to operate it. The pellet mill could likely consume around 60 tonnes of cardboard per year, and could be expanded to handle 80 tonnes a year.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.