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Processing of EnergyBags in Boise will begin again

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Posted at 10:38 AM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 12:38:26-04

BOISE, Idaho — The City of Boise is restarting the processing of EnergyBags after preliminary findings from an environmental analysis of potential destinations and their environmental impact came back. The EnergyBags will continue to be sent to a Utah cement manufacturing facility to be used as an energy source until September 2020, when the environmental analysis has finished a peer review.

In March, the city decided to store EnergyBags until the environmental analysis could be conducted. Officials wanted to understand better the impact of using the bags as a fuel source for cement manufacturing instead of traditional fuels, like coal. The preliminary data shows that using the bags as fuel improves environmental outcomes compared to landfilling.

The preliminary findings compared landfilling the plastics, use in cement manufacturing and use in pyrolysis facilities like Renewlogy. The results showed using EnergyBags in cement manufacturing has several environmental benefits compared to landfilling. When the final report is reviewed, cement manufacturing will be a processing option, along with Renewlogy, once the facility is operational again.

In 2019, the City of Boise learned that Renewlogy, the original destination for the EnergyBags, was temporarily unable to accept materials until they replaced and upgraded their processing equipment to better handles the mix of plastics. Right now, the only identified market able to take the bags regularly is the cement manufacturing industry.

Because end markets for the materials change often, EnergyBag program partners continue to evaluate other potential uses for currently non-recyclable plastics.

Residents currently participating in the EnergyBag program will not see any impacts or interruptions to the program. Click here to review materials accepted in the EnergyBag program.