The seminar gathered a experts and companies active in the sector of treating bottom ashes from Waste-to-Energy plants as a valuable resource for recycled metals and other secondary aggregates.

The conclusion of the seminar is that collection of metals from bottom ashes can make an important contribution towards a more resource-efficient Europe.

Speakers from both industries presented environmental and economic scenarios and demonstrated that due to the availability of sorting techniques, yields can be considerably increased.

Valuable parts of bottom ash, which is the residue from the combustion of household waste, can be recycled. For example, the remaining ferrous and non-ferrous metals in the waste can be extracted from the bottom ashes and recycled into new products such as aluminium castings for the automotive industry.

Other remaining minerals can be used as secondary aggregates, eg in road construction or in building products.

More Waste-to-Energy plants and bottom ash processors are investing in the latest sorting technologies, supported by the metal prices and the growing need for raw materials in Europe.

The aluminium industry is happy to use these additional amounts of recycled material, although both EAA and CEWEP stress that the preferred option remains the pre-sorting and selective collection of used aluminium items such as beverage cans and food containers.

Due to the extra quantities of raw materials recovered from bottom ashes both industries actively contribute to a further reduction of the environmental impact of waste and so help to improve Europe’s resource efficiency, using unavoidable waste as a valuable resource wherever possible.