In response to preliminary findings from an environmental analysis of potential destinations for Boise’s EnergyBags and their environmental impact, the City of Boise is supportive of EnergyBags being sent to a Utah cement manufacturing facility to be used as an energy source until September 2020 when the environmental analysis has completed peer review. The preliminary findings, comparing landfilling the plastics, use in cement manufacturing, and use in pyrolysis facilities like Renewlogy, have shown that using EnergyBags in cement manufacturing has several environmental benefits compared to landfilling the bags. Pending a review of the final report, cement manufacturing will remain a processing option along with Renewlogy once that facility is operational again.
In March, the City of Boise elected to store EnergyBags until an environmental analysis could be conducted to better understand the impact of using EnergyBags as a fuel source for cement manufacturing in place of traditional fuels such as coal. Preliminary data indicates that use of the bags as fuel results in improved environmental outcomes compared to landfilling. This decision will be reevaluated once the environmental analysis has completed the peer review process to ensure that the conclusions remain consistent.
In 2019, the city learned that Renewlogy, the original destination for the EnergyBags, would be temporarily unable to accept materials until they replaced and upgraded their processing equipment to better handle the mix of plastics present in the EnergyBags. Currently the only identified market able to accept the material on an ongoing basis is the cement manufacturing industry. Because end markets for these materials shift frequently, EnergyBag program partners continue to evaluate other potential uses for these currently non-recyclable materials.
Residents who are currently participating in the program will not see any impacts or interruptions in the program. Participating residents can review the materials accepted in the EnergyBag program here.