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Re: Recycling vs Incineration - New Scientist 22/11/97
Alan (and the list)
Incineration is a hoax.
When landfills began to fill up during the 70's
and 80's, and people were looking for alternatives,
the combustion and engineering companies took
advantage of people's lack of knowledge about
1. Incineration does not eliminate landfilling.
Up to one-third of the original weight and volume
of waste is left behind as toxic ash, which must be
2. Incineration creates substances far more
toxic than the original landfill material, which
contaminate the rest. The combustion of PVC
produces massive amounts of chlorinated aromatics,
among them the most toxic organic chemicals on
earth, the polychlorinated dibenzo dioxins and
dibenzo furans (collectively called "dioxin").
A large percentage of dioxin ends up in the fly
ash, making it an incredibly hazardous material.
Heavy metals from ordinary batteries (such as
cadmium and mercury) and other products
also heavily contaminate
the ash. (Note that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled
that incinerator ash was to be classified as
hazardous waste. The U.S. EPA, in a huge giveaway
to save the incinerator industry, offered an
alternative ash handling and testing scheme,
thereby making the ash non-hazardous by political
rather than technical means. The EPA allowed the mixing
of bottom ash with fly ash, which, through the
addition of lime, temporarily binds
heavy metals. The EPA then went on to
specify a non-acidic leaching test...).
3. Incinerators are the largest sources of dioxin
and mercury in the air.
4. Because of the nature of trash hauling, incinerators
divert public money to private companies. Because
incinerator operators are perceived of doing a
public service (trash "disposal") they are paid
handsomely (and, in some cases, royally) from the
The amount typically spent to build and run an
incinerator is an order of magnitude larger than
a similar collection of facilities built to
accomplish comprehensive (near-100%) recycling.
5. "Current" pollution control techniques merely
divert some of the dioxin and heavy metals from
the air to the ash.
1. Incinerators do not accomplish what the
municipalities intend - to stop the landfilling
of trash. Instead, incinerators turn municipal
trash into toxic ash. (sort of catchy, isn't it?)
2. Incinerators divert public funds to
private corporations and bond-holders.
3. Incinerators create an environmental
nightmare, both in requiring toxic ash landfills
that require monitoring for eternity, and in
creating massive air pollution.
Alan, you may post these arguments to New Scientist,
attributed or not as you wish, as I don't have the time to do so.
The article in New Scientist and the debate is
not without precedent. The waste haulers
in the U.S. and their editorial supporters
in the major media has been trying hard to
get people to stop recycling, with little
success. Americans now view recycling
as something akin to a Patriotic Duty.
From: Alan Watson <email@example.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Monday, November 24, 1997 2:17 PM
Subject: Recycling vs Incineration - New Scientist 22/11/97
>There is a rather worrying contrarian piece published in New Scientist
>this week. The artcle argues that incineration is better than recycling
>for a variety of reasons but the section on dioxin is quoted below.
>There is now a debate on the issue at:
>I urge you to participate!
>>True, incinerators produce air pollution. Dioxins, created when some
>>chlorine compounds burn, excite environmental campaigners. But tough new
>>rules on incinerator emissions were introduced in Britain last year, and
>>Leach accepts the view of the Royal Commission on Environmental
>>Pollution that these will effectively eliminate the impact on health of
> _\\|//_ Alan Watson C.Eng
> (' O^O ') Oakleigh
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