Sylvia Broude Execu1ve Director, Toxics Ac1on Center MASSRECYCLE R3 Conference Plenary Remarks -‐ Zero Waste and the Incinerator Moratorium
Case against li7ing the incinerator moratorium: • High heat gasiﬁca1on and other forms of staged incinera1on are incinera1on and have similar environmental impacts • Gasiﬁca1on, plasma arc, and pyrolysis are pollu1ng and threaten public health • These technologies do not work: they have a history of economic and technological failures • Gasiﬁca1on competes with recycling • We can solve our waste problem in-‐state without expanding incinera1on
“Disposal of waste carries a signiﬁcant cost to the economy and the environment, and represents lost opportuni9es.” -‐MassDEP Dra7 Solid Waste Master Plan, 2010
An incinerator is an incinerator is an incinerator
Comparing mass burn and staged incinerators (gasiﬁcaIon, plasma arc, pyrolysis) • Very similar concerns around: types of emissions, impact on zero waste approaches, waste of resources and energy, jobs, climate • Staged incinerators may have less air emissions than mass burn incinerators (but the same pollutants) • Staged incinerators would likely have less boRom ash than mass burn incinerators • Staged incinerators would likely cost more than mass burn, and thus have more ﬁnancial risk
“Many of the perceived benefits ofgasification and pyrolysis over combustiontechnology proved to be unfounded. Theseperceptions have arisen mainly frominconsistent comparisons in the absence ofquality information.”The Viability of Advanced Thermal Treatment in the UK,Fichtner Consulting Engineers Limited, 2004, p.4
Staged incineraIon is polluIng and harmful to public health • Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, and mercury,halogenated hydrocarbons, acid gases, particulate matter, and volatileorganic compounds such as dioxin and furans• Nano-particles or ultrafines• Solid, liquid, gaseous releases• Discharges to surface and groundwater that may be highly toxic• Have been accidents and unexpectedly high emissions released inoperating facilities (see examples to follow)
Findings in report on Plasco Energy demonstraIon pilot project: • They say “there are no air emissions during the conversion of the waste to synthe1c fuel gas,” but during their pilot program 2008-‐2010, they documented: • 29 non-‐compliant emissions incidents • 13 non-‐compliant spills • Their picture/ar1st’s rendering is misleading, doesn’t include a smokestack • They only operated 25% of the 1me • They used MSW mixed with “high carbon feed” = plas1c
“Plascos demonstraIon facility is sIll in what theyre calling a "campaign" phase, and hasnt operated in a sustained manner.”
GasiﬁcaIon faciliIes have a history of economic and operaIonal failure No commercial facili,es in the United States have succeeded at using gasiﬁca,on, plasma arc or pyrolysis to generate energy from MSW. Pilots and plants worldwide have been plagued with problems. This is because of two problems inherent in MSW gasiﬁcaIon: 1. Gasiﬁca1on needs a consistent, homogenous material for feedstock – which garbage is not 2. MSW does not have enough high-‐carbon material to produce energy or fuel – especially if all the paper, cardboard, and plas1c were removed for recycling.
GasiﬁcaIon facility closes because of bankruptcy
¨ “The performance record is poor as demonstratedby the continuing problems in operation ofThermoselect and others (billed as Thermodefect byDerSpiegel) together with the failures of highprofile projects like SWERF and GEM; the delayswith Novera at Dagenham and the lack ofdevelopment of even the relatively promising plantslike Compact Power.” European Commission (2006). Integrated Pollu1on Preven1on and Control Reference Document on the Best Available Techniques for Waste Incinera1on.
Gasiﬁca1on competes with recycling • Records from gasiﬁca,on plants and pilots overseas and in North America indicate that industrial waste, plas,cs, or other materials are added to MSW to make fuel or electricity. A chart of recycling and incinera1on from the ﬁve regions of Denmark shows an inverse rela1onship between recycling and incinera1on
“Perhaps Sweden has gone too far down the incinera,on route and is not recovering enough materials by recycling.” -‐ Catarina Ostlund, Swedish Environmental Protec1on Agency.
We won’t have a capacity problem if MassDEP enforces and strengthens exisIng regulaIons • For waste bans, a history of lack of enforcement – Recently, the South Hadley Board of Health documented viola1ons of waste ban regula1ons by haulers and the landﬁll operator and complained to DEP. – DEP issued a no1ce of non-‐compliance but no penalty.
Problems with waste ban compliance: not only limited to the South Hadley landﬁll • Since August 2009, DEP has issued only 3 ﬁnancial penal1es • With approximately 230 waste disposal facili1es in MassachuseRs, in 2010 DEP conducted only 8 waste ban inspec1ons dedicated to waste ban compliance; in 2011 only 5 waste ban inspec1ons, in 2012 only 8. • Because no ‘ac1on threshold’ for banned material has been established for a garbage truckload, according to the current waste ban compliance guidance, a truck that is 2/3 full of banned material can s1ll pass a waste ban inspec1on. Fortunately, DEP is working to strengthen waste ban regs and enforcement.
Enforcement is also cheaper • Developing disposal facili1es uses public money. – By 2010, Taunton, MA had reportedly spent at least 5 million dollars on land, consultants, and lawyers to develop a gasiﬁca1on plant that three years later has not been designed or built. – If garbage gasiﬁca1on plants are allowed, DEP will have to develop regula1ons for facility performance, review proposals and draj permits, hire consultants and monitor facili1es. DEP resources would be beRer spent on waste reduc1on programs.
MassDEP’s own consultant recommended against lijing the incinerator moratorium • A report by the Tellus Ins1tute, commissioned by MassDEP, advised that MassachuseRs should not pursue gasiﬁcaIon in the Solid Waste Master Plan, 2010-‐2020. • www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/priori1es/tellusmmr.pdf, p1.
MassachuseRs can be a leader na1onwide by adop1ng zero waste • There are ci1es and towns in MassachuseRs that are leading the way at waste reduc1on and recycling: curbside pick-‐up of organics in Hamilton and Wenham, 90% diversion in Nantucket, etc. • Incinera1on is a bad approach to address the problem of residual waste (material that cannot be reused or recycled) • Expanding incinera1on is out of step with zero waste, a move in the wrong direc1on