Reply To: Incineration to efficiently produce energy from waste a fantasy


‘although waste incinerator emissions have decreased significantly since the 1990s, in response to Clean Air Act regulations, they still pump pollutants like mercury, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide into the air. Wheelabrator Baltimore, for example, emits lead, which is implicated in a host of health effects, including developmental delays in children, and methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. A 2006 EPA analysis found that in 2000, incinerators were the fourth largest source of dioxins, highly toxic substances that the agency says can cause cancer.


For those reasons, not every state welcomes garbage burners: Waste-to-energy giant Covanta applied to New York State in 2011 to get incineration into the RPS. The state Department of Environmental Conservation reminded the company that it decided not to include incineration in the RPS when the state’s policy was first created in 2004, because a few years prior, New York trash incinerator facilities were found to release six times the amount of mercury as the average coal-fired power plant.’