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The REMONDIS Group’s business locations

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The REMONDIS Group’s business locations

We recover the iodine in the hazardous waste as part of our thermal treatment process so that it can be returned to production cycles.

Innovation: Recovering iodine from hazardous waste

High temperature incinerators – also known as hazardous waste incineration plants – are an environmentally compatible way to destroy the dangerous substances contained in waste. At the moment, though, very few recyclable materials (such as scrap steel) are able to be recovered during this process so that they can be reused. The German Circular Economy Law [KrWG], however, calls for as many substances as possible to be recovered and returned to market. For this to happen, there must be suitable systems in place that are able to separate and recover recyclables during the incineration process instead of destroying them. We have developed a process to recover iodine at our plant – one of the most modern and environmentally friendly facilities around for treating and disposing of hazardous waste. 

Iodine is an important trace element found in food and animal feed as well as in disinfectants and contrast media; it is also used by the chemical industry in synthesis processes. 

The challenge faced by the circular economy

The goal of the circular economy is to separate individual elements from waste and then process them so that they can be returned to production cycles. Hazardous waste, however, is often sent to high temperature incinerators for thermal treatment so that it can be disposed of in an environmentally compatible way. Iodine can be found in this waste in a variety of compounds and ends up in the filter dust as part of this process. Up to now, this material has been sent to permanent underground disposal facilities, which means that its iodine contents can no longer be accessed, recovered and reused. 

Recovering iodine

Recovering iodine during thermal treatment

The waste that contains iodine is incinerated together with the iodine-free waste. It is then standard practice for the flue gas to undergo the various stages of the plant’s flue gas cleaning system. The iodine is dissolved in the acid scrubber together with the other halogens that can be found in much greater quantities. Following this, the iodine is extracted from the so-called raw acid in our recovery facility before being concentrated and stored as an aqueous solution in a product storage tank. The iodine concentrate is then delivered to the chemical industry as a raw material. 

We added this new process – recovering iodine from waste – to our portfolio in the spring of 2023. We are able to recover up to 50 tonnes of iodine a year. 

The main advantages of our iodine recovery process

Recovery of small concentrations

Recovering iodine from waste for reuse. Also very low concentrations below 1 %. 

Confirmation of the recovered volumes

If requested, we can also provide written confirmation of the volumes recovered from our clients’ waste, which can then be included in their annual environmental report.

Returning the iodine to market

It is our goal to return up to 50 tonnes of iodine to production cycles every year.