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[greenyes] NYC Incineration Plans Revived
City Limits WEEKLY-October 14, 2003

Sanitation is mulling over Visy Paper's plans for a high-tech incinerator on
Staten Island. > By Ruth Ford

New York City moved a step closer to building its first municipal
incinerator in over four decades with the announcement by the Department of
Sanitation last week that it would entertain proposals for "alternative"
technology to handle Staten Island's trash and recycling. The October 1
announcement represents a complete about-face for the department, which
until last month insisted that no existing alternative energy plant could
handle the city's trash.
It also opens the way for Staten Island-based Visy Paper, which handles 40
percent of the city's paper recycling, to make the leap into handling all of
Staten Island's trash and recycling for the next 20 years.
Environmental groups, which have praised Sanitation for opting to issue
20-year contracts on the city's recycling of metal, glass and plastic,
rather than dribbling out the contracts in five year intervals as it has
done in the past, reacted cautiously to the news.
"There are real environmental, public health and economic concerns about
moving forward any incineration proposal in New York City," said Marc
Izeman, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Besides,
he said, it may be more expensive. "From the preliminary details that have
been released it's not clear that this is a good economic deal for New York
Under the proposal, Visy Paper, a subsidiary of Austrialian paper giant
Pratt Industries, would build a "recycle and recovery" plant that would dry
waste and turn it into fuel pellets, which would then be burned to power its
paper recycling mill. Visy spokesperson Mike O'Regan insists that the new
method is a far cry from traditional incineration. "This is not normal
combustion. Less oxygen is used, which in turn means lower levels of
nitrogen oxide" emissions.
This isn't the first time alternative technology has been proposed to ease
the city's trash burden. Several companies have introduced similar plans
[See "Hot Trash," City Limits magazine July/August 2003]. But it is the
first time the DOS has gotten serious about the idea. DOS spokesperson Kathy
Dawkins declined to speculate on the change of heart. "I think we are just
looking at different ideas, and if someone has a proposal we will take a
look at it and see if it fits our needs," she said.
That's good news for Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, who in
September traveled to Germany to learn more about the new technology, and
for Staten Island council member and Sanitation committee chair Michael
"I think the city has to take a serious look at the developing technologies
for long-term planning," said McMahon, a frequent and outspoken critic of
DOS' waste handling. "Sooner or later landfill space is going to run out,
and unless the city actively pursues this, we are going to be stuck."

Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
Ph:    (608) 231-1100
Fax:   (608) 233-0011
Cell    (608) 438-9062
email: anderson@no.address

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