[Greenbuilding] Another Green Myth: Garbage Incinerators Are Green Sources of Energy

Erin Rasmussen erin at trmiles.com
Sat Dec 3 11:56:10 PST 2011

I think that the incinerator is generating glass to address concerns that
the plant would generate have toxins that made it through the air scrubbers
typically installed on the exhaust stack of the plant.  That, and the green
parts of plants have naturally occurring chemicals that tend to make glass
in a boiler anyway, so you can use that in your design to effectively make
other materials inert - captured in the glass. 

These type of plants can also be designed to make an inert ash - which holds
on to some carbons, and can be used in asphalt as a road building material.

Obviously, the point is to capture and use as much of the usable material
you can in the first place, and in many areas we're making good progress,
but some things can't be recycled, so it's not a bad idea to look into clean
burning technologies it's old technology that's been improved a lot over the
years, and it's foolish to discount it.

-----Original Message-----
From: greenbuilding-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org
[mailto:greenbuilding-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of RT
Sent: Saturday, December 03, 2011 9:09 AM
To: Green Building
Subject: Re: [Greenbuilding] Another Green Myth: Garbage Incinerators Are
Green Sources of Energy

On Sat, 03 Dec 2011 09:18:56 -0500, elitalking <elitalking at rockbridge.net>  

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========================

				Recovery rate
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).

=== * ===
Rob Tom
Kanata, Ontario, Canada

< A r c h i L o g i c  at  Y a h o o  dot  c a  >
(manually winnow the chaff from my edress if you hit "reply")

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