A waste recovery technology developed by US-based pulp and paper company Georgia-Pacific, can contribute significantly to helping municipalities in the US and abroad reduce the carbon emissions associated with current waste management practices, a new life cycle assessment (LCA) has shown. Called Juno, the technology can divert up to 90% of the municipal waste it processes away from landfills and incinerators, returning the recovered materials back into the economy for future reuse.
The third-party assessment was conducted by Sphera Solutions, a provider of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) consulting services. It measured Juno's potential impact compared to municipal solid waste landfills and energy-from-waste (EfW) disposal methods in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia using ISO 14044:2006 standards.
Juno fits into the collection or source separation processes already implemented in a municipality, requiring only that the unsorted residential municipal solid waste or municipal-like commercial waste is taken to a Juno site, rather than landfilled or incinerated.
The technology uses steam, pressure, and heat to treat the waste. This pulps up the paper fiber, and solubilize the food. A patented wet waste processing solution then separates the paper fibres from the rest of the waste, while the solubilized food is carried away from the other recyclable materials, to be converted into biogas. Metals and rigid plastics are reclaimed with the help of standard material recovery facility equipment such as magnets, eddy currents, optical sorters, and other separators.
The findings of the LCA for each of three countries demonstrated that the technology could provide very considerable reductions in carbon emissions for the municipalities implementing the process. In the U.K., using a GWP20 model - which measures the impact of the global warming potential over a 20-year period – it was calculated that every year that a Juno facility processes its annual capacity of 300,000 metric tonnes of waste instead of that waste being disposed in a landfill, it would reduce GWP20 by approximately 580,000 metric tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) - about 25 million trash bags of waste diverted for recycling instead of landfilled.