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[GreenYes] Re: Economic Value of trash for waste to energy plants?

Title: Re: [GreenYes] Re: Economic Value of trash for waste to energy plants?
Are we still in 1985?

Obviously this whole issue of waste-to-energy vs. recycling is going to get played out again on a grand scale (and local scales) for the next few years. Time for Neil Seldman and company to rev up the old Burning is Dumb machine. It’s a shame really: the memory that this country has. Nukes and incinerators have already been proven to be boondoggles. Now we have to go back to war making sure they don’t get government subsidies; and this time the stakes are higher, their industries more savvy, and the “dangerous knowledge” of lay people that much more prevalent.

But to answer Michael’s original question: right now, here in Philadelphia, cardboard is worth about $120 a ton and burning it costs about (-$85) a ton. Paper, PET, HDPE, Steel, and non-ferrous metals have similar swings. The only material that is even close to economically problematic is glass — which doesn’t usually have any real Btu content. More jobs get created, tax revenues are higher, and CO2 emissions mitigated through recycling.

Finally, remember incinerators typically use more energy in combustion than they do in output.

David Biddle, Executive Director
Greater Philadelphia Commercial Recycling Council
P.O. Box 4037
Philadelphia, PA 19118

215-247-3090 (desk)
215-432-8225 (cell)

on 4/20/08 2:01 PM, Helen Spiegelman at hspie@no.address wrote:

As climate change pressure intensifies, it seems like there will have to be
credits for diverting plastics (fossil carbon) from incinerators. They are
safer in landfills, archived underground where they belong, that dumped in
the atmosphere.

At 02:01 AM 4/20/2008, paul_illich@no.address wrote:

>......... Plastics, one of the things we have been
>most concerned should not go to incinerators due to dioxins and
>furans, are amongst the most sought after waste for incinerator
>companies (that take advantage of the corporate lobby's success
>in changing EU law to allow incineration, rebadged waste-to-energy,
>to be classed a recycling, despite the fact it is a final end use,
>ash too toxic for a further cycle). This is due to the high calorific
>value of plastics as compared to most other waste. It is therefore
>logical that it would command a higher value - except that, with
>contracts to supply to the incinerators drawn up in favour of the
>corporations over the local community or local govt finance, I
>expect that it is fairly rigidly controlled. In a free market? Yes,
>I imagine plastics would be more valuable than some other
>wastes, even with the surfeit of it that the world has.

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