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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
  incineration technology:
  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
  public coffers.
  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.
  Taken together:
  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.
  -----Original Message-----
  From: Alan Watson <alanwatson@gn.apc.org>
  To: Multiple recipients of list <dioxin-l@essential.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:
  > http://www.newscientist.com/nsplus/insight/recycle/recycle.html
  >I urge you to participate!
  >Best wishes
  >>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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