Resource Recovery is a term used to describe the effort to view our garbage as a resource and to put it to whatever positive use we can, rather than just bury it in the ground. In Blue Earth County, there is a cooperative partnership with several private businesses to extract energy from our garbage by processing it into fuel, and burning it to produce electricity.
Steps of Resource Recovery:
Garbage trucks pick up garbage at the curb and deliver it to the MWPC transfer station, where it is dumped on the floor. From there it is loaded into a larger truck so it can be more efficiently hauled to the processing facility.
At the processing facility, the garbage is shredded, dried, and fluffed. Iron and steel is removed for recycling with a large magnet. The resulting fuel (called Refuse Derived Fuel, or RDF) is loaded onto semi-trailers for transport to the power plant.
RDF is sent to the burn chamber of Xcel Energy’s Wilmarth Power Plant. In the chamber, the fuel burns at a high temperature, destroying or removing nearly all pollutants. The 26 Mega Watt power plant produces enough electricity from garbage to power about 20,000 homes.