[Greenbuilding] Another Green Myth: Garbage Incinerators Are Green Sources of Energy
archilogic at yahoo.ca
Sat Dec 3 09:08:54 PST 2011
On Sat, 03 Dec 2011 09:18:56 -0500, elitalking <elitalking at rockbridge.net>
> When peak oil,peak copper, peak bauxite, finally kicks in, we will want
> the material that is being destroyed by landfill or incineration.
I find it curious that material going into a landfill would be relegated
to the same category (ie "destroyed") as material that is incinerated.
Materials like plastics, copper, aluminum (ie peak oil/copper/bauxite)
would require time lines in the order of decades, if not centuries or
millennia) in order completely decompose when buried in a landfill.
As such, I view landfills as resource storage facilities with the
capability to be mined for the purposes of material recovery at some time
in the future when we've depleted the virgin resource to the point that
recovery from landfills for re-use would make economic sense.
Incineration OTOH, when implemented at its most efficient (ie net energy
gain,w.zero emissions as in the case of the Plasco "Plasma Gasification
Process" developed here in Kanata http://www.plascoenergygroup.com/ )
leaves nothing behind except a glass-like material . ie The materials are
essentially "destroyed" forever. Zero opportunity for recovery/re-use.
Here in Ottawa, the City provides curbside Blue Box (plastics,
metals,glass), Black Box (paper,cardboard), Green Bin (organic kitchen
wastes) and yard waste (leaves, tree limbs, grass clippings etc) pickup
programs in an effort to divert waste from landfills.
No new landfills have been approved in the province of Ontario since 1999.
However, even with the above (ie extensive municipal waste diversion
programs, no new landfills in sight) the following figures from the
Stewardship Ontario "waste audit" program
===================== copied material========================
Newsprint 86.6 %
Magazines & catalogues 86.6 %
Cardboard packing boxes 91.7 %
paper laminants 1.0 %
Plastic bottles 56.5 %
Plastic film 9.8 %
Plastic laminants 1.0 %
Polystyrene 4.8 %
Steel food & drink cans 66.6 %
Aluminum food & drink cans 47.2 %
=============== end of copied material ===============
... show that an appalling amount of high embodied-energy material still
ends up going to the landfill... high embodied-energy material that will
be destroyed (ie no opportunity for recovery and re-use) when used for
the extremely low-grade purpose of incinerator fuel. Seems extremely
wasteful to me and a very pale shade of Green, if at all.
If a municipality desires to generate energy from waste, I would venture
that bio-gas harvesting might be a better course to pursue. Poop, pee and
other methane-generating organic wastes (ie kitchen/yard as well as
bathroom) are "waste" materials that will never be in short supply
wherever there are humans (and the animals that are used to support
The nice thing (or as much as excrement can be considered "nice") about
bio-gas recovery is that it can be done at the local neighbourhood scale
(ie small, minimal infrastucture, next-to-zero transport involved).
=== * ===
Kanata, Ontario, Canada
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