With new buildings going up all the time, the Tel Aviv skyline is constantly changing. With new buildings going up all the time, the Tel Aviv skyline is constantly changing. With new buildings going up all the time, the Tel Aviv skyline is constantly changing. (Photo: GreenDesign / Pixabay)

This country's construction is being fueled by trash

A new plant – the world's largest – uses garbage to provide fuel for making cement.

Sometimes one man's trash is another man's treasure. Or in the case of Israel, it's the fuel needed for an essential building material: cement.

That's because a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) plant has just opened on the outskirts of the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv. It's producing alternative fuel for production at a nearby factory. It provides the country with the majority of its cement used for construction by Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises.

Dry industrial waste (plastic, cardboard, paper, textiles, wood, etc.) is extracted and used to create the RDF. The plant aims to process approximately 1,500 tons of household waste per day. From this amount, 500 tons of RDF can be produced.

Traditional fuels used to make cement include coal, oil, petroleum coke and natural gas. Energy costs and environmental concerns have encouraged cement companies in Europe and the United States to seek alternatives. Waste materials such as oils, mixtures of non-recycled plastics and paper and used tires have proven effective.

Nesher plant in RamlaNesher, pictured, will rely on fuel supplied by the RDF plant to make cement at acceptable environmental and financial costs. (Photo: Dafna Tal)

This new plant, the world's largest, represents a new step in the direction of normalizing this method of production. "The RDF plant is one of the most advanced and largest in the world – spearheading a steadfast and diligent effort ... to improve and advance waste management," Doron Sapir, Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv, said.

"I believe that the combination of resources, technologies and the public's willingness to change consumption and recycling habits is key to a sustainable future and the preservation of environmental resources."

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