Most every one of the approximate 90 operating waste-to-energy facilities in North American have a ferrous metals recovery system to extract these metals from the ash stream before the ash is disposed as a waste. Recovery of this ferrous metal obviously reduces the significant landfill disposal cost and associated ash hauling cost for the facility by reducing the volume of materials being disposed. The volume of the ferrous metals stream typically ranges between 1.0 to 4.0 percent of the incoming waste volume. But for facilities which manage hundreds of thousands of materials per year, this relatively small stream of material in many facilities present such a nuisance that the operators at some plants have a penchant not to bother with it for the tenuous value they have received. The value received has been exposed to extreme variations and uncertainty due from the fragmented scrap metal markets, transportation costs, quality of the recovered product (or lack thereof), cost of recovery, and a number of other constraints and issues, some in the control of the facility operator and some not in the control of the operator. As a result, the attention given to this area is also very variable across facilities, even within the same parent company.

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