Plastic waste disposal firms deny tech will worsen pollution

ResourceCo Asia Managing Director Pavel Cech said that the cement kiln used to turn plastic waste to the alternative fuel called processed engineered fuel, is designed specifically to not release harmful emissions. — Picture by Farhan Najib
ResourceCo Asia Managing Director Pavel Cech said that the cement kiln used to turn plastic waste to the alternative fuel called processed engineered fuel, is designed specifically to not release harmful emissions. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, July 30 — Plastic waste disposal companies whose technologies are being considered by Putrajaya have rejected Sahabat Alam Malaysia’s (SAM) claims that these will contribute to pollution.

ResourceCo Asia (M) Sdn Bhd and Paramai Sdn Bhd insisted that their co-processing in cement kilns and “pyrolysis plasma” technologies, respectively, do not emit hazardous gasses or toxins.

ResourceCo Asia managing director Pavel Cech said the cement kiln his firm uses to convert plastic waste into an alternative fuel called processed engineered fuel (PEF) was purpose built to not release harmful emissions.

“I’m not in favour of incineration, but we have to admit that when we do it in a controlled way, where it is designed specially and has a proper emission control mechanism, then the emission released is not harmful,” he told Malay Mail.

Cech said similar processes were also used in Japan, Singapore and the Netherlands to produce the alternative fuel without pollution hazards.

He explained that the co-processing of plastic waste with raw material not only extracts the energy potential in the discards but also unlocks mineral content from the inputs.

While he acknowledged that the process involves incineration, Cech said his firm’s kilns operate at a significantly higher temperature than conventional incinerators.

“When you burn in low temperature, it will release hazardous emissions. That is why you get black smokes via open burning, but the co-process burns at a high temperature and releases harmless emission,” he explained.

Cech suggested that a lack of awareness about the process may be behind objections to the technology.

On July 19, SAM urged authorities not to consider any form of plastic waste processing that involves burning over concerns of harmful gas emissions, after Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin revealed that the government was exploring methods to turn plastic waste into alternative fuels and materials.

SAM further demanded that ResourceCo Asia repatriate plastic waste it allegedly imported from Australia, but Cech denied it was doing so.

Instead, he asserted that his firm only imported around 10 per cent of its PEF requirements to supplement its local output.

“We import PEF from Australia to meet the customer demand here as the PEF is used to make cement,” he said.

Separately, Pamarai Sdn Bhd executive director Pang Swee Lei said his firm used a plasma gasification machine dubbed the Asher, which he argued was the best and most realistic solution for plastic waste issues and landfill diversion.

The Asher was also self-powered, he said, which meant it did not need an external fuel source for operations.

“It delivers clean, green and zero pollution operation and it is a closed-loop system without generating any secondary contamination. It is in-built with a self-treating and self-cleaning mechanism and does not discharge any water,” he explained.

According to Pang, the Asher converts the waste into non hazardous ash that was inert, safe to handle and suitable for use as plant fertiliser.

Alternative uses include as raw material for sand bricks.

“It simply means nothing goes to waste,” he said, adding 50 units of the machines were already in operational in 13 countries.

Pang insisted the machine was eco-friendly as it was smokeless, releasing only a vapour as its operating temperature does not exceed 45 degrees Celsius.

“The vapour is cleaner than the smoke that you get from the satay stalls. We have all the lab test reports from SGS Lab, Exova Lab, MyC02 Lab, Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (SIRIM) and University Putra Malaysia to support and substantiate this claim,” he said.

“Our filtration and water scrubber system has an efficiency of up to 98 per cent of suppression of dioxin and furan is at the efficiency level of 99.9 per cent.”

Both Pavel and Pang then said they were willing to engage with environmental groups to explain their technologies.

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