Lehigh Northeast Cement Co. could burn “raggertail” as alternative fuel at its Glens Falls, N.Y., plant under a new draft air pollution permit being considered by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), reported the Albany Times Union.

Described as a mix of 60 percent plastic and 40 percent paper/cardboard fiber, the material meets the state DEC’s criteria for use as an alternative fuel product. It will be used to replace some of the natural gas or coal that is currently used in the kiln, said company spokesman John Brodt.

The raggertail will come from two paper recycling mills operated by Frontier Fiber near Niagara Falls, N.Y. The plastics and paper are residue from the recycling process and normally are disposed of in a landfill, Brodt said.

Before preparing its permit modification application, Lehigh conducted raggertail test burns in the summer of 2017 with the permission of the DEC and performed air emissions tests to compare against the emissions from burning coal. These tests found the use of raggertail as a partial fossil fuels substitute resulted in a reduction in total air emissions from the Glens Falls plant, with decreased emission levels for some constituents and only nominal increases in others. Lehigh submitted a detailed technical report on those tests to DEC.

DEC granted tentative approval and will base a final decision after a public comment period.

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