Burning wastes and its effects

By Olivia Kendle

Many people think that it is a good idea to burn trash rather than put it in a landfill. Many parts of the country have waste incinerators to burn much of their trash. This article will look at how waste incinerators might not be the best way to handle trash.

First of all, the economics of incinerators might not be as good, because they are more expensive to run, and they are risky investments. Tip fees, which are the fees paid by the trash haulers, are more expensive than the alternative of composting and/or recycling. In one city, they discovered that recycling $18 per ton, and incineration cost $50 dollars per ton.  

Incinerators are also another form of environmental injustice. The people working and living by the incinerators are often exposed to toxic pollutants such as mercury and lead. They release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, and also dangerous ash. Also, many people with low-incomes end up coming to work at incinerators.

There are 76 incinerators around the country, out of 23 states that have made incinerators legal. In many states, incinerators are classified as “renewable” energy. According to the Institute for Local Self- Reliance; “The perverse designation of incineration as ‘renewable’ subsidizes a practice that wastes energy, kills jobs, and produces toxic pollution.” By recycling and composting, etc., you are opening jobs for others, but also creating a safer and healthier environment for you and everyone else around you. 

So, as you can see, incinerators are not only hurtful to the environment but to people and creatures around it. They are more expensive than just recycling or composting and they don’t really make renewable energy. We should take another look to see if we want to use waste incinerators over other healthier ways to dispose of our trash.

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