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Why the Blazing “Landfill-Free” Myth is Choking Our Environment

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Landfill Free Myth
Landfill Free Myth

Posted on Saturday, January 9, 2016
By: J.P. Mascaro & Sons
Categories: Main Category  |  Recycling

You may have been lead to believe that solid-waste incineration is a “landfill-free” solution, but the facts burn far brighter!

Contrary to what you may have been told, incineration is far from being a “landfill-free” solid-waste disposal option of choice. Did you know that approximately 25% of the waste delivered to incinerators winds up in a landfill? That’s a solid fact our friends. Exit the “landfill-free” theory.

Not only are incinerators not the environmentally-friendly solution to solid-waste disposal, the facts clearly expose that incinerators spawn their own distinctive nasty cocktail of surplus complications:

  1. Toxic Pollutants – It is indisputable that incinerators release a multitude of toxic pollutants into the air that we breathe. Contaminants including heavy metals (no, not the musical variety) released into the environment by incinerators include arsenic, nickel, chromium, mercury, lead, cadmium and manganese. Additional spewed particulate contaminants identified on the EPA list of hazardous substances include dioxins, furans, sulfur dioxide and hydrochloric acid. Hopefully not the kind of cocktail that you are thirsting for and certainly not one that you want served to your children or grandchildren!

  2. Hazardous Ash – Incinerators generate a potentially-hazardous ash that contains high levels of these heavy metals which can only be shipped to a landfill. In order to do so, this hazardous waste is transported over public roadways – passing unassuming commuters and school busses – prior to reaching their destination. This potentially-hazardous ash is so toxic, in fact, that it requires special regulatory approval prior to being accepted into landfills.

  3. Carcinogens – Oh yes. Some of the particulate matter and toxic pollutants released by incinerators are too small to be captured by filters and are known carcinogens. Health studies have linked incineration to the increased risk of cancer, respiratory and heart disease, birth defects and reproductive disorders.

  4. Global Warming? – Oh yes! Incinerator emissions may also contribute to global warming. Ongoing research is underway to determine the ultimate truths.

The hard cold truth is that the incineration of solid waste is not a landfill-free method of solid-waste disposal! Yes, respectable, responsible businesses of the 21st century are concerned about not only cost and productivity, but the environment as well. You can spend a day and a week reading all of the posts associated with the #GoGreen hashtag (add another week if you include Michigan-State-football-related posts). Regrettably, there are some in the solid waste industry, primarily incineration proponents, that are using the heightened environmental awareness to their own financial gain by employing that incinerating solid waste is not only a “greener” way of disposing of solid waste, but also a “landfill free” way to dispose of solid waste. Not only are both contentions flat-out false, they resonate entirely to the contrary.

The Incineration of Solid Waste Simply is NOT a “Landfill Free” Method of Waste Disposal!

Incineration obviously requires the burning of solid wastes at extremely-high temperatures. However – regardless of attainable humanly-generated temperatures – not all solid waste can be reduced to ash. Therefore, prior to and following incineration, 25% of waste intended for incineration still ends up in the landfill.

Responsible, sensible, time-proven, environmentally-friendly solid waste disposal is still the best solution to removing solid waste from our society while protecting ourselves and our loved ones from known toxins for the long term.

Tagged:Green, Recycle, Recycling, Education, Sustainability, Landfill-Free, Incineration, Landfills, Environment, Solid Waste, Trash, Garbage

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