Anti Incineration Update: December 2019 – January 2020

Date: 31 Jan 2020 | posted in: waste - anti-incineration, Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Don’t Use Junk Science to Support Garbage Incineration in Marion County, OR

“Science that is outdated, manipulated, cherry-picked or lacking in evidence is junk science. It often is deployed by polluting industries to bamboozle the public into supporting bad policy choices.”

The Portland Tribune published an article by Dr. Patricia Kullberg, former medical director of the Multnomah County Health Department. She researches issues related to public health and climate change for Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. 

Waste incinerators produce two types of greenhouse gases: biogenic from burning wood, food waste and grass clippings and anthropogenic from plastics, synthetics and other fossil-fuel products.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency had ruled that, for incinerators, biogenic GHGs did not count, because carbon emissions from burning biogenic matter were offset by natural processes. As if trees, when they sequester carbon dioxide, could tell the difference between that which comes from a burnt telephone versus burnt scraps of pizza.

In 2013, the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals found the EPA’s argument lacked scientific evidence. In a ruling that sided with environmentalists against the EPA and its corporate allies, the court stated: “The atmosphere makes no distinction between carbon dioxide emitted by biogenic and fossil-fuel sources.”

The difference is hardly trivial. Half of the greenhouse gases emitted by incinerators are biogenic. It is precisely this accounting fallacy that underpins claims that incinerators are better for global warming than landfills.

Read more here.


GAIA issues legislative alert on American Chemical Council effort to push Plastics-to-Fuel Bills

We would like to share an updated legislative alert about the American Chemistry Council’s efforts to introduce bills and regulations in favor of the plastic-to-fuel industry in the U.S. The bills commonly exempt pyrolysis/gasification facilities from solid waste facilities regulations when treating post-use plastic for recovery. As of December 18, pyrolysis/plastic-to-fuel bills have been introduced or passed in 13 states.

  • Passed (8): Ohio, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Iowa, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Florida
  • Introduced (5): Rhode Island, South Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts

The factsheet also features four high-profile plastic-to-fuel ventures that have increased their clout due to partnerships with municipal governments and petrochemical companies. While public information on actual operations is rare to find, some of the companies appear to be struggling with technological and economic challenges.

Download the factsheet.


Prepared Fuels for Cement Kilns

Waste 360 (January 9, 2020) reports that NuCycle Energy has launched a facility in Plant City, Fla., to make alternative renewable fuel primarily as a coal substitute exclusively for one nearby cement manufacturer.

The plant, which came online in April, is fully operational and ramping up to process 150,000 tons a year of postindustrial materials, primarily process and packaging residuals from manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Among suppliers are major brands, such as Walmart, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Tropicana and Williams-Sonoma.The 30-ton-per-hour automated process involves shredding and grinding material to a finished particle size of 4-inch minus. Next, ferrous and nonferrous metals are removed, and then begins the densification process to compact the material into the finished product—Enviro-Fuelcubes that replace coal as power to make cement. One ton on average replaces 0.9 tons of coal.

Read more here.

Tire Pyrolysis in India

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up 270 tire pyrolysis units in 19 States for employing technology that is polluting and harmful to the health of workers employed.

Read more here.

Pyrolysis is a method of recycling old tyres through a thermochemical treatment under high temperature to produce industrial oil and other matters.

The activity emits highly carcinogenic/cancer-causing pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), dioxin, furans and oxides of nitrogen which are extremely harmful to the respiratory system, according to PCPB.

The watchdog agency exercised its powers under Environment (Protection) Act 1986, and ordered state pollution control boards to close down all pyrolysis units which are not complying with proper standards. States boards also have to use strict vigilance and monitoring in complying industries to ensure continued compliance of consent conditions and the SOP of the ministry.

The central pollution authority further directed that import of polluting hazardous waste material shall be strictly regulated. The CPCB order came with regard to a plea filed, alleging that use of waste tires by the pyrolysis industry is engaged in producing inferior quality pyrolysis oil, pyrolysis gas (pyro gas), solid residue (char), carbon black and steel through the pyrolysis process needs to be banned to prevent environmental damage.


Governor Hogan for Phasing Out Subsidies for Incineration in MD — Update from Montgomery County Sierra Club

In late December 2019, the landscape suddenly drastically changed around subsidies for trash incineration.

First, the larger environmental community voted to add it as our fourth priority. This will give citizens the opportunity to highlight the issues surrounding subsidies for trash incineration at the annual summit (January 29th).

Immediately after that, Hogan announced more details about his Clean And Renewable Energy Standard program, which included phasing out subsidies for trash incineration. Oftentimes what happens with these bills, is the dems will either amend it heavily (and let him keep the name) or introduce a response bill that passes with what they liked from his proposal.

Read more here.

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Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D, directs the Waste to Wealth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and businesses recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy through new processing and manufacturing facilities. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.