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Environmental Balance:
Solid Waste Management

by John W. Norton, P.E., B.C.E.E.

Every day in America each person generates about 4.5 pounds of solid waste as a result of living, playing and working.

Every year the amount of waste being buried in landfills is increasing despite ever higher claims of recycling and composting.

These increasing recycling rate claims are largely the result of changing definitions, not actual reductions in solid waste being landfilled. USEPA documents this increasing amount of landfilling each year, but they don't broadcast it because too many EPA staff people keep promising that "reduction, reuse, and recycling" will "solve the problem."

What we do with that trash here in America (bigger and bigger landfills) may seem to be a crime, but what else can we do?

Modern incineration with energy recovery and ash processing (and recovery) is the high tech solution for most of Europe and Japan. And in those countries it is standard practice to capture and use the energy released in the burning by making steam and/or electricity (which, in turn reduces the amount of coal and oil being burned to make that same electricity).

Modern incineration should be the major component of solid waste management in the United States. It integrates well with all the other management techniques: composting, recycling, reduction, and reuse. It is safe, it reduces traffic, and its impacts on the environment cannot be detected at the fence line with any of today's high tech sensors. Yep, that's right, it's undetectable at the fence line.



Disclaimer:
The author's intent is offering the best environmental balance advice available; the user is free to use it, although no guarantee can be implied. All user circumstances are unique and require individual analysis.





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