Efficient management of municipal solid waste involves primarily three practices: landfilling, recycling, and incineration for energy recovery (waste-to-energy or WTE). Out of the ~250 million tons of waste produced each year in the US, approximately 140 million tons is landfilled, 80 million tons is recycled, and 30 million tons is incinerated for energy. This alternative to traditional waste management (“Waste-to-Energy”) is gaining traction, but remains less than sustainable: The ash generated as a result of incineration can be dangerous to handle and expensive to dispose of. Often, the ash ends up in landfills.
Garg Group has recently been awarded seed funding from the Institute of Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) at the University of Illinois to explore the use of these ashes as building materials in construction. Prof. Garg in collaboration with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center will be utilizing this funding to seek external grants.
We are excited to venture into this important and critical field of waste management.