President John F. Kennedy once challenged our nation to reach the moon by saying we should do so, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard. That’s how we feel about pursuing new technologies for reusing waste. And we’re pursuing them with much the same skill and passion of a moon landing.
Imagine driving a car powered by plastic bags, old computer cases or even broken plastic toys. That's the concept behind our investment in green technology designed to convert hard-to-recycle plastics into crude oil.
In simple terms, it turns a waste stream into a value stream. Best of all, it's more than an investment - it's a viable solution that's now coming to fruition at a first-of-its-kind facility near Portland, Ore.
Plastics traditionally considered as non-recyclable are now being converted into a high value, beneficial resource
The synthetic crude oil can be marketed for use at refineries, where it can be turned into ultra low-sulfur diesel, gasoline and even new plastics
Innovation can take many forms and can come from unexpected places. Waste Management's SpecFUEL is a perfect example. In a throw-away society, SpecFUEL makes use of materials that would typically be discarded.
SpecFUEL is a clean-burning alternative fuel intended to be combusted with or replace coal and petroleum coke used for heat in cement kilns and industrial boilers and by utilities. SpecFUEL is formulated using post-recycled paper and plastics that have been extracted from municipal solid waste (MSW). In the end, SpecFUEL complements our recycling programs and diverts even more materials from landfills. That's a good thing for all of us.
The first WM SpecFUEL plant, located in San Antonio, Texas, became operational in 2012
A similar facility is now under construction in Philadelphia
SpecFUEL is ideal for industries using coal to produce energy or steam (chemical, pulp and paper, textiles, pharmaceutical and metal manufacturing)