Tag Archives: incineration

New Report from GAIA on the Perils of Incineration

GAIA just dropped a killer new report on the perils of incineration.

What does this have to do with composting, you may ask?

Incineration directly competes with composting (and recycling) programs by destroying perfectly good material and turning it into brand-new toxins to inhale.

Better yet, both composting and recycling are more cost effective, practical solutions that create more jobs than incineration.

We already know how bad incinerators (pyrolysis, gasification, waste-to-energy) are in terms of the pollutants they spew out (dioxin, NOx, SOx, arsenic, mercury, ash, etc), but this report appeals to even the most conservative bean counters.

Incinerators are the most expensive high-risk solution to dealing with waste.

Here’s the official press release and link to the report:

Berkeley, U.S. — A new risk analysis from GAIA finds that companies promoting “waste-to-energy” projects like gasification and pyrolysis have a 30-year track record of failures and unfulfilled promises. After decades of industry promising a solution that both manages waste and produces energy, the vast majority of proposed plants were never built or were shut down.

“The global spotlight on marine plastic pollution has led to increasing proposals for technological solutions. But it’s important that investors recognize these processes do not work as promised and  set us back in developing real solutions,” says report author Monica Wilson.

According to the report Gasification and Pyrolysis: A high risk, low yield investment, “the potential returns on waste gasification are smaller and more uncertain, and the risks much higher, than proponents claim.” Billions of dollars of investments have been wasted on unsuccessful ventures in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, United States and Germany, to name a few. In 2016, the failed UK project by U.S.-based Air Products lost $1 billion alone.

Many gasification projects that started operations, have closed after failing to meet projected energy generation, revenue generation, and emission requirements. Despite decades of opportunity the industry has not resolved these problems. Other projects have failed in the proposal stage — after raising significant investments — due to community opposition and government scrutiny into false and exaggerated claims.

Gasification plants have sought public subsidies to  be profitable — particularly from  feed-in tariffs. However, these facilities would regularly burn fossil fuel-sourced material including plastic waste and coal, contradicting the purpose of “renewable energy.”

Over 100 major environmental organizations released a public letter in February stating that “We are deeply concerned by the promotion of feed-in-tariffs and other renewable energy subsidies for gasification, incineration, and the use of plastics as fuel.”

The report concludes that municipal zero waste programs relying on source separation, recycling,composting, and redesign of no-value products have demonstrated economic and technical success.

Check out the full report by clicking here.

Tulsa, OK Chooses Incineration Over Composting (article)

Article reposted from: http://www.energyjustice.net/content/tulsa-ok-chooses-incineration-over-composting

Tulsa, OK Chooses Incineration Over Composting

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– by Jarrel Wade, August 6, 2014, Tulsa World

Trash board members voted Tuesday to begin the process of seeking bids for contractors to pick up curbside green waste and take it to the city’s burn plant.

The recently introduced plan from the Tulsa Authority for Recovery of Energy is to send green waste to the city’s burn plant permanently, essentially ending Tulsa’s curbside green-waste program as it was originally promised.

The TARE board vote authorizes staff to invite bids from contractors for board evaluation and possible acceptance at future meetings.

The vote followed discussion about several contractual obligations that hindered implementation of the new plan.

TARE officials have said their goals are to keep costs low, keep the system environmentally responsible and make the trash system simple for customers.

One problem is that the city would be forced to continue requiring that green waste be put in clear plastic bags even though it likely would go in the same trucks to the same location as trash.

The contract with the city’s haulers, NeWSolutions, requires that green waste be in a separate waste stream, TARE attorney Stephen Schuller said.

“Competitive bidders could bring a lawsuit on such a fundamental change,” he said.

Another problem discussed was TARE’s inability to seek bids for contractors to take the green waste to the city’s green-waste facility, which some board members had requested for price comparison.

Schuller said a contract between the board and the burn plant mandates that all green waste — if taken by a TARE contractor — go to the burn plant, owned by Covanta Energy.

Because the city, not a TARE contractor, has picked up green waste since the program began, it could take the yard trimmings elsewhere.

However, since the program began in October 2012, it hasn’t.

Green waste has gone to the city’s burn plant instead of to the green-waste site because of problems processing the plastic bags.

Tuesday’s meeting also focused on a presentation from Covanta Energy spokesman Matt Newman about the burn plants’ emissions being well under Environmental Protection Agency limits.

Newman said the burn plant is a net reducer of greenhouse gases, while separate gases that lead to hazardous ozone are kept to a minimum.

The burn plant accounts for 0.2 percent of Tulsa’s nitrogen oxide emissions — a precursor to ozone, he said.

In terms of emissions, Newman said, the burn plant is much better than a landfill and is competitive with a green-waste site.

“If you go to a mulch or a composting site, it depends on the technology that you employ,” Newman said regarding which option is better for the environment.

Michael Patton, executive director of Tulsa’s Metropolitan Environmental Trust, said meeting EPA regulations on emissions is not the same as recycling green waste when it comes to being green.

“Greenhouse gases are not an issue for Tulsa. Ozone is,” he said.

Tulsa has had excessive ozone pollution since at least 1990, when alerts began for the city.

July 23 was Tulsa’s first Ozone Alert day of 2014.

Officials declared four alert days in 2013; 21 in 2012; and 25 in 2011.

Patton told TARE board members they should reconsider plans to send green waste to the burn plant rather than pursue compost ideas.

“If we can reduce NOx (Nitrogen Oxide) in any way possible, including by avoiding burning green waste, I think Tulsa wins,” he said.

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Tulsa wins when they decide to kick Covanta out.

There’s no reason whatsoever to burn organic materials.  Focusing on ozone or nitrogen oxide is not the issue; the issue is destroying perfectly good materials instead of putting them back into the earth as nature intended.

What kills me is that all the pro-burn idiots are constantly saying “waste to energy”, yet there’s no metrics on how much energy.  That’s because it’s a loss, plain and simple.  Burning organic material means it’s gone.  We need organic material to continue the earth’s nutrient cycles as intended.

Landfill the air, and lie about the pollution, or return the material back to its original state with nothing to hide… it’s time to reconsider, Tulsa.

TARE is not helping you, they’re screwing you.

Too Much Recycling? Free Market Gov’s’ Empty Landfills Worry Wall St.

EARLIER: Moody’s Investors Service has threatened to downgrade the Delaware Solid Waste Authority, currently rated A2, because the state isn’t dumping nearly as much lucrative trash for local towns in its Cherry Island Landfill and other waste sites as it used to.

The state dumps have suffered “substantial declines in tonnage since 2007, from over one million tons, to 675,000 tons in fiscal year ending June 30, 2012,” writes Moody’s in a new report.

“The authority expects tonnage to stabilize in the 600,000 to 650,000 tons range in the near term.

“A large part of the decline since 2010 is due to increased recycling efforts through state bill that prevented the authority’s direct participation.

“Declines have also come in general waste reduction efforts by households.”

If Delawareans don’t start throwing out more garbage, DSWA has the power to raise cash through a real estate tax. Or it could raise dumping fees — which could drive business elsewhere.

On the upside, Moody’s adds, there’s plenty of room in Delaware’s landfills.

GOVERNOR: Gov. Jack Markell’s spokesman, Brian Selander, traces DSWA’s recycling issues to this provision in Delaware’s recycling law: ”Effective no later than September 15, 2011, the Authority shall cease providing curbside recycling services, including yard waste collection…”  Leaving the job to private haulers and the scrutiny of the Recycling Public Advisory Council.

The law has boosted private-sector contractors. See this list of curbside residential pick-up firms locals can choose; http://www.dswa.com/universalRecyclingServices.asp. Compare it to the choices in your PA or NJ neighborhood.

One of the small firms on the list, Brandywine Waste Services, was started by a guy in my (worn suburban Wilmington) neighborhood with a single truck, going door to door seeking customers. Three other services compete for my neighbors’ business. Result: I’m paying less for trash hauling than I did in the 1990s.

Markell, says Selander, “is a free market governor.”

That’ll work, at least as long as the people’s landfills can still pay down their debt…

-Joseph N. DiStefano

When I first read this, I thought I was reading the Onion for a second.

Can anyone really say with a straight face that less waste going to the landfill is a bad thing, simply because their stocks aren’t where they want them?  Do these people really want to landfill yard waste (which makes up more than 25% of landfills) which needs to be used to regenerate our soils?

It would be fun to interview these people and see what they think happens to waste in a landfill…that may be part of the problem.  Have they ever heard of methane, landfill gas, or leaching of toxins into our groundwater?

For those of you thinking this sounds great because they mention high recycling rates and household waste reduction efforts (keep composting!!), the sad reality with recycling is that it’s not all in our hands.  Yes we can set aside the right materials for the blue bin, but it doesn’t mean the stuff is automatically reprocessed into a secondary product (that isn’t usually recyclable) down the line.

It’s up to companies like Waste Management, for example, who can decide to trash an entire load of plastics if they can’t make a buck, or in NE Philadelphia soon enough, turn it into magical green pellets that will incinerate perfectly (don’t get me started).  In short, buy less plastic and reuse more stuff.

One thing to keep in mind: does this data include trash that’s going to “waste to (of) energy” facilities?  For example, Chester’s Covanta Delaware Valley L.P. facility takes in up to 3,348 tons per DAY.  It’s worth noting that over half of Philadelphia’s trash is being sent to their facilities…start contacting your local council creatures, people!

Are these Wall St. losers investing in this stuff instead?  They could have seen an 8% rise in their investment over the last year, wow!  I can’t think of anything better to do than invest in waste processing facilities.  Maybe these guys don’t know that incineration is happening and they really think everything that isn’t landfilled is being recycled.

I’ve been taking a break from writing lately, and stories like this are precisely why.  This scenario is yet another disgusting reminder of how people can lose sight of the bigger picture altogether in exchange for their profits.