Bottom Ash Factsheet

The bottom ash is the incombustible part of the incinerated waste. In 2018, around 96 million tonnes of waste were treated in Waste-to-Energy plants in Europe, which led to the production of approximately 19 million tonnes of bottom ash. Important quantities of metals and minerals are present in these residues and offer many opportunities for recycling.   Key facts on bottom ash (BA)

  •  Yearly production (EU, 2018): circa 19 million tonnes of bottom ash
  • Composition of bottom ash:
    • Mineral fraction: 80-85%
    • Metals: 10-12% (steel and non-ferrous metals)
    • Non-ferrous metals: 2-5% (of which 2/3 aluminium)
  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) savings due to metal recycling: 2,000 kg of CO2 equivalent per tonne recycled metal and in total ca. 3.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent
  • The amount of iron that can be recycled from European bottom ash equals about 26 cruise ships
  • In 2014, respectively 20,000 and 17,000 tonnes of aluminium were recovered from bottom ash in the Netherlands and in France. This metal was mainly used in castings for the automotive industry (engine blocks, etc.)
  • Uses of the remaining part, after the metal recycling: construction materials

Want to know more? The full factsheet can be downloaded here.