The Incinerator/Resource Recovery Debate

This debate is now raging in the U.S. and Europe. We see that in New Jersey there is an entire argument that we are “rewarding polluters” by awarding renewable energy status to Resource Recovery plants. The debate is now raging in the EU.

Resource Recovery

The attached articles give a good outline of the issue…and here are my thoughts:

  • Is Resource Recovery an energy solution or a means of handling non-recyclable solid waste? ANS: It is the latter. The term is self explanatory and we get something from what would otherwise be disposed of in landfills and truly wasted.
  • Is RR better than landfilling? A no brainer…see above.
  • Do EU countries have the land to landfill all of the waste? I doubt it. If nothing else, RR plants result in great volume reduction.
  • Are RR plants disproportionately placed in EJ communities around the world? YES and that is wrong. Of course, so are landfills and transfer stations. This has to change no matter what we do. We have to also remember that recycling facilities, the answer to all opponents of landfills and RR plants, aren’t welcome anywhere either.
  • Should RR plants be held to strict air emission standards? Yes.
  • Is comparing an RR plant to a gas fired electric plant an apple to apple comparison? Clearly not. A gas fired plant has a single purpose, make electricity and generate pollution doing so. A better comparison would be to compare the total lifecycle of the waste being recovered for energy against its disposal in a landfill then compare that to the gas fired plant.

This is a tough one, but it always leaves me with the same comment in my mind from my old friend…Everyone wants us to pick it up, but no one wants us to put it down.

We are all responsible for this material.

Read The Full Articles Here:
Hearing for Waste Facility Project in Ironbound Gets Pushed to March
In Europe, Backlash Heats Up Over Garbage Incinerators
‘Paying for pollution’: As N.J.’s incinerators dirty the air, electric customers help foot the bill

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