Waste to Energy is NOT a Zero Waste Solution
The pioneers of the Zero Waste movement in the U.S. —Eco-Cycle among them—were very clear in the mid-90s that zero waste to landfill was not the same thing as Zero Waste. Zero Waste is about making the best choice with our natural resources — from extraction to production to consumption to disposal. It involves a constant evaluation about our materials’ choices and a strong commitment to eliminating waste, not just treating it.
The Zero Waste movement and Eco-Cycle continue to be, very clear on our view that the current waste-to-
energy (WTE) technologies in the marketplace are actually a waste of energy, money and natural resources. For all the fancy talk about “conversion technologies” (including plasma, gasification and pyrolysis), the workhorse of the industry remains mass burn systems that make some of the dirtiest, most expensive electricity on the planet.
WTE makes no sense environmentally, economically or socially:
- it has the most greenhouse gases (GHG) per fuel type
- its emissions contain dangerous air pollutants
- it’s the most expensive form of electricity
- it fails to create a fraction of the jobs created by recycling and composting
- WTE produces only a fraction of the energy that can be saved through recycling
Get the facts on why WTE makes no sense environmentally, economically or socially. Download Waste OF Energy: Why Incineration is Bad for our Environment, Economy and Community.
See how Zero Waste and WTE compare on the community level with this report for the city of Boulder, Colorado: Why Zero Waste is better than Waste to Energy for Boulder