Burning - a Real Waste

By Young, John E. | Canadian Dimension, September 1991 | Go to article overview

Burning - a Real Waste


Young, John E., Canadian Dimension


To the average city manager, a solid waste incinerator seems like a dream come true. In one end goes garbage by the tonne; out the other comes electricity. Gone are the hassles of negotiating expensive disposal contracts with landfills near and far. Instead, garbage disappears in a flash, and the power can be sold to the local utility. Solid waste is transformed from expensive nuisance into valuable fuel.

A pleasant dream -- but too good to be true, according to Ruth Grier, environment minister for Ontario, who declared on April 11 a province-wide ban on all future municipal solid waste incinerators.

"Incineration is an environmental sleight-of-hand which gives the illusion of making waste disappear... The people of Ontario need solutions, not illusions," announced Grier.

Instead of burning, Ontario plans to expand its recycling and composting programs. The twice-weekly "blue box" collection system for recyclables already serves more than 2 million single-family homes and will soon be extended to apartments and businesses throughout Canada's most populous province.

While Ontario is so far the only state or province in North America to ban new incinerators, political support for garbage burning appears to be waning in many other areas. The long list of environmental problems associated with incineration is leading many communities to look elsewhere -- usually to comprehensive waste reduction and recycling programs -- for solutions to their garbage problems.

Until recently, garbage burning had been the main response of many industrial nations to the rising financial and environmental costs of landfills. Ontario has turned away from incineration at an early stage -- the five facilities now burning take in only 4 per cent of the province's solid waste. The United States, with 128 incinerators, burns 15 per cent of its waste -- slightly more than it recycles. The former West Germany, Japan, and Sweden, which burn about one-third, one-half, and two-thirds of their garbage, respectively, are in deeper.

Many governments, however, including some that are heavily committed to burning, are now questioning the economics of incineration. They're finding that incinerators usually receive a variety of overt government subsidies, plus hidden ones, such as higher-than-normal rates for the electricity they sell to local utilities. Although consumers may not realize it, they end up with the bill. In addition, the high cost of building garbage-burners can leave budget-minded cities little money for developing waste reduction and recycling programs.

Cost isn't the only reason incinerators can preclude other options. Since they receive most of their revenue from fees levied on each tonne of garbage brought in for burning, incinerators must run near capacity to stay profitable. Incineration competes directly with recycling for the 80 per cent or more of the waste stream that is both burnable and recyclable, according to researchers at the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Queens College in New York.

The result is that successful recycling programs can cut waste flows enough to put burners in the red. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Burning - a Real Waste
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.