The Glens Falls plant has received tentative approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to burn Enviro-Fuelcubes, a fuel source made from wood, paper products and non-recyclable plastics, and used as a cost-effective replacement to coal.
Stuart Guinther, Lehigh’s plant manager, has said the alternative fuel is cost-effective, while putting materials to use that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Supervised tests were carried out last autumn with a further trial burn planned for the near future. While the initial test showed no significant increases in contaminant emissions, there were minor increases in harmful toxins like dioxins and furans, chromium, lead and nickel, but according to the DEC, all within allowable emission limits.
However, a coalition of more than 25 environmental and health groups has asked the state for more time to comment on Lehigh Northeast Cement Co.’s plans to burn a recycled fuel product instead of coal.
The cubes are manufactured by the International Paper Products Corp in Westfield, Massachusetts. They are made of materials such as switch grass, vegetation, leaves, yard debris, farming byproducts, agricultural crops, wood, tree bark, pallets, wood products, paper, fibre, textiles, fabrics, cardboard, chip-board, short fibre, plastics, films, polymers and flexible packaging such as milk containers.