A Purpose For Sludge

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What to do with sludge is a problem faced by many a manufacturer. And that problem has been further complicated in recent times as state and federal agencies often regulate sludge as a hazardous waste. Undaunted, IBM's facility in Hopewell Junction, NY, has come up with a recycling plan.

The sludge from its plant is a product of electroplating wastewater treatment processes. It contains high levels of calcium but extremely low levels of hazardous materials. The calcium is what gives IBM's sludge its value. It is a necessary ingredient in cement production, making it ideal for reuse in a cement kiln.

Concerned government agencies agreed to some flexibility in their regulations and IBM agreed to protect human health and the environment. As a result, the company is recycling 300 tons of sludge per year. The use of this recycled material saves raw materials as well as landfill space and the cost to IBM of using that space.

Big Blue took the initiative and found both a more efficient and environmentally sound way of doing business.

Environmental News Service
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Linda is responsible for the PERC web sites, media relations, the national journalism conference, and the media fellows program. She is author of Forest Fires, part of a series of  environmental education books for high school students. She also wrote and produced Square One, a newsletter that introduced grassroots environmentalists to market...
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