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As well as heat, incineration produces a variety of by-products & predominantly, gasses and bottom ash. Approximately one million tonnes of incineration bottom ash (IBA) is produced throughout England and Wales each year. But what’s left behind as ash, and how effectively it can be reused, depends mainly on whether you pre-sort your waste prior to incineration.

Materials left after incineration

We recommend wherever possible that you should pre-sort your waste before incineration to extend the lifespan of your system. In many cases this can be an easy (albeit manually intensive) process.

Incineration is the process of burning waste materials. It produces heat which can then go on to be used to fuel other processes, such as water evaporation or steam generation. The process itself also creates a series of by-products. Products which don’t burn, such as porcelain, glass and metal, can be extracted and reused. Additionally, ash is produced which lays dormant in the bottom of the incinerator.

Incineration reduces the volume of waste materials to between 3% and 10% of its original mass, minimising the amount of produce sent to landfill. However, rather than being quickly disposed of, bottom ash is, in fact, an extremely useful product that can be utilised for a variety of other purposes.


Pre-sorting of waste prior to combustion

It’s vitally important that waste is sorted before it moves onto being incinerated & particularly if your intention is to reuse the bottom ash remaining.

If waste is correctly sorted before the incineration process, all that should be left over is ash. If not, other materials & some of which may be hazardous & will be found within the ash that must be safely removed before it can be reused. If this is the case, you’ll need to undertake a separation process before ensuring the ash is safe for reuse.

Separating waste products from ash

All waste should always be sorted before it is incinerated, this means removing any items that are not suitable for incineration. Where possible, all metals should be removed unless it is medial waste such as syringes, this will make dealing with the ash a much simpler and easier process.

The remains of incineration are usually then funnelled out to separate reusable products from ash. If smaller metal parts are present then a magnet can be passed through the ash to pick up any remaining magnetic metals from the waste.

If any ash has come from a medical facility, it runs the risk of still being hazardous. It’s essential any products are marked as such, and safely disposed of via alternative methods.

Applications for incinerator ash

Technology has allowed ash to have great uses after the incineration process. Ash can be used as the underlay for new roads, used in concrete for construction and even used as a fertiliser if the waste is organic. This means that even though the waste has been incinerated it can still have another use, adding to the benefits of incineration.


What ash can be used for:

  • Bulk fill
  • Breezeblocks
  • Asphalt
  • Cement
  • Furniture
  • Mouldings

Ash has also been known to be used in the production of ceramics, glass and tarmac.

If you need any more information in regards to the reuse of ash or any advice on our waste solution machines then please contact our experts on +44 1704 884020 or alternatively click the chat icon on the top right of this page.

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