Study: Anaerobic digestion could reduce microplastics in sludge

Read the full story from Waste Dive.

  • A new study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, has found that anaerobic digestion may reduce the amount of microplastics left in in sewage sludge, as reported in Recycling Portal.
  • The study looked at seven wastewater treatment plants in Ireland, which used one of three treatment processes: anaerobic digestion (AD), thermal drying or lime stabilization. The study found that lime stabilization resulted in “significantly higher abundances” of microplastics in even smaller particle sizes, suggesting that lime treatment sheared the plastic. Samples treated with AD, however, had a lower abundance of microplastics, suggesting that AD could be useful in removing microplastics from wastewater sludge.
  • While the findings are compelling, it is worth noting that the scope of the study is limited, because of the small sample size and lack of pre-treatment testing.

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