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

Ron Cascio roncascio at verizon.net
Thu Dec 8 08:08:36 PST 2011


Re: [Greenbuilding] Another Green Myth: Garbage IncineratoWhat the "waste" incinerators really like to see in the can are the high BTU content petroleum based plastics... just the stuff we need not to be there that have high value recyclability.

Ron


----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Tim Vireo Keating 
  To: Green Building ; 'Reuben Demling' ; 'Gennaro Brooks-Church' 
  Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 9:40 PM
  Subject: Re: [Greenbuilding] Another Green Myth: Garbage Incinerators Are Green Sources of Energy


  Erin,


  While I would admit that there is a (very small) place for burning waste, I believe the 'places' you have mentioned are not them.


  First, there is truly very little "non-recyclable" waste paper generated in the US. I can vouch for just what I put into my mixed-paper bin, knowing that it's heading to Marcal in norther NJ to be made into napkins, toilet paper and paper towels. Having toured the plant, I can tell you that there's almost nothing I generate that can't be recycled there. Those few things include my own used toilet paper (sent to the sewer treatment plant and likely ending up as sludge or in solution), a few used napkins (which I've gleaned from others - I don't use paper napkins myself and actually collect the unused ones off of restaurant tables and recycle them) and some stickers that are stuck to some plastic labeling that I place into my plastic bag recycling. Otherwise, what might one consider as "non-recyclable" paper?? Certainly nothing that would, if we all recycled to this degree, be seen as interesting to an incinerator.


  Then, there's wood waste. I can tell you that the only thing that makes sense is wood waste that might make any sense to burn would be wood with paint or varnish of some kind on it or wood that has been engineered with some type of glue. All 'clean' wood could be chipped and used in compost or mulch, returned to the soil, which is a much better use than burning it. And as for the wood with the chemical compounds, bear in mind that burning it means that this stuff likely enters our atmosphere, to eventually be breathed in by us and other air-breathing organisms with whom we share this place.


  IMHO, incinerators simply make no sense. For the billions it takes to build one, we could more effectively and more cheaply educate the local population to source separate, create municipal collection that would allow for recycling of multiple streams, etc. In the long run, this would reduce waste, reduce new extraction, increase recovery and give people a sense of where there stuff comes from and where it goes.


  Also the billions spent on incinerators (promoted by GE and others) would go a long way towards weatherizing existing homes in these locales to reduce energy consumption - the phoney reason for which  these facilities are built (in actuality, they're built to make the companies lots and lots of money on contracts with counties).


  tim keating


  At 3:12 PM -0800 11/29/11, Erin Rasmussen wrote:
    Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
        boundary="----=_NextPart_000_0011_01CCAEA9.44ED9A30"
    Content-Language: en-us

    With respect to burning waste to generate power, it's a lot smarter to say that it depends a lot on the waste being incinerated, and the way that it is being done.  In general burning municipal waste is in the USA unfeasible, but there are fuels like waste wood and non-recyclable waste paper that can be burned cleanly to generate electricity.  And like people using wood to heat their homes in efficient wood stoves, there are ways to burn clean wastes (wood, some types of crop residues, waste paper) on a municipal scale and there are places in Europe where they have several years experience doing just that under much tougher environmental rules than we have here.

    For some examples check out the Gasification Discussion List, and its web site:
    http://gasifiers.bioenergylists.org/

    Cheers,
    Erin Rasmussen
    BioEnergy Discussion List
    erin at trmiles.com


    From: greenbuilding-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org [mailto:greenbuilding-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] On Behalf Of Carmine Vasile
    Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 4:27 PM
    To: Reuben Demling; Gennaro Brooks-Church
    Cc: GB Forum
    Subject: Re: [Greenbuilding] Another Green Myth: Garbage Incinerators Are Green Sources of Energy

    Reuben & Gennaro: Here's another Green Myth: Incinerators that generate power by burning trash should be eligible for state renewable energy subsidies. See Comment #1 below Re: "State PSC delays vote on incinerators", By JENNIFER SMITH (Newsday, 11/18/11):

      a.. Had Jennifer Smith and commission members wanting to know more before deciding Googled "Title V air permit covanta northport" they would have found plenty of reasons to support the staff recommendations to reject Covanta's petition -- like the GreenAction Fact Sheet @ http://greenaction.org/stanislaus/covantafactsheet.shtml, which states: The Covanta Waste-to-Energy Garbage Incinerator in Crow's Landing Pollutes Our Air! Stop Toxic Pollution from the Covanta Garbage Incinerator in Crow's Landing!
    Carmine
    gfxtechnology.com


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