Zero Waste and the Municipal Solid Waste Combustion Moratorium


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Policy Workshop- The Municipal Solid Waste Combustion Moratorium: Janet Domenitz, MassPIRG defines zero waste and makes a case for incineration processes to not be inclusive in this definition.

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Zero Waste and the Municipal Solid Waste Combustion Moratorium

  1. 1. Let me introduce myself#1-I’m from New York#2-My grandparents came of age in theGreat Depression#3-I’m not getting older, I’m getting angrier
  2. 2. Three Topics I Will Cover• #1- What is “Zero Waste”• #2-Should the incinerator moratorium belifted• #3-George Carlin
  3. 3. #1-What is zero waste: (a)• Let me tell you about my recent trip toFlorida.• In summary, there will be disagreement aboutthe definition, that’s acknowledged.
  4. 4. #1: What is “zero waste”: (b)• “Zero Waste means designing and managingproducts and processes to systematicallyavoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity ofwaste and materials, conserve and recover allresources, and not burn or bury them.” –ZeroWaste International Alliance, 2004
  5. 5. #1-What is zero waste: (c)• Whether you think the policy of zero wastedoes or does not include burning, let’s allagree, with apologies to all in the medicalprofession, on a new sort of Hippocratic Oath:“First, don’t (use , for the strict constructionists,or) dispose.” (I will not read my newspaperon a screen, ever).
  6. 6. #2: Should the moratorium onincineration be lifted? (a)• We should maintain the moratorium on incineration for many reasons; distilled here to three:Reason Number 1: If you build it, recyclables will come= Waste-to-energy (WtE) is the process of creating energy in the form of electricity or heat from theincineration of waste (defined w/50 subcategories including household waste)---Wikipedia= Municipal solid waste (MSW) refers to the stream of garbage collected through communitysanitation services. Paper and yard wastes account for the largest share of the municipal wastestream,2and much of this can be recycled directly or composted. Currently, over 30 percent ofMSW generated in the United States is recycled annually. The majority of MSW (mainly renewableresources such as food, paper, and wood products) that is not recycled is typically sent to landfillsafter it is collected. As an alternative, MSW can be directly combusted in waste-to-energy facilitiesto generate electricity. ---US EPA= Waste-to-energy (WTE) is when municipal solid waste is burned in a controlled environment tocreate steam or electricity---. (KeepAmericaBeautiful website)
  7. 7. #2-Should the moratorium onincineration be lifted? (b)• Most of what is currently disposed in landfillsand incinerators is recyclable• According to a DEP waste composition studyconducted in 2011, over 65% of waste headed to6 incinerators was recyclable materials (paper,plastic, organics, glass and metal).• At the same time, DEP is saying “…we’re runningout of capacity to dispose of waste.”• It’s an old analogy but works in this case: if thedoctor tells you you’re overweight….
  8. 8. #2-Should the moratorium onincineration be lifted? (c)• You can’t have your cake and eat it too:“The proverb literally means ‘…you cannot both possessyour cake and eat it.’ It can be used to say that one…can‘t have or shouldnt try to have two incompatiblethings. “Danish:Man kan ikke både blæse og have mel i munden –You cannot both blow and have flour in your mouth.German: wasch mich, aber mach mich nicht naß! –please wash me, but dont get me wet!Yiddish: You can‘t dance at two weddings with onetuckus.
  9. 9. #3 George Carlin• “Why do they bother saying ‘raw sewage’”?
  10. 10. #3 George Carlin• “Why do they bother saying ‘raw sewage’”?