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Webinar: Waste Incineration: A Dirty Secret in How States Define Renewable Energy

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The Institute for Local Self-Reliance invited local officials, communities fighting waste incinerators, and both clean energy and waste management advocates, to join a webinar exploring our latest report on the economic and environmental impacts of power-generating waste incinerators.

The webinar –– which was hosted on Wednesday, January 9th at 1:00PM CST –– covered incineration as an issue connecting waste management and energy sectors, drawing from ILSR's Energy Democracy, Waste to Wealth, and Composting for Community Initiatives. The session dug into the implications of classifying this process as “renewable" and outlined ways to combat this aging, dirty industry and alternative strategies to support more equitable, economic, and sustainable local solutions in both the waste and energy sectors.

Presenters:
Marie Donahue, research associate with Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Energy Democracy Initiative, presented the results of the team's December report, Waste Incineration: A Dirty Secret in How States Define Renewable Energy.

In addition, Donahue was joined by allies Aiko Fukuchi from GAIA, a worldwide alliance whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration, and Mike Ewall, Founder and Executive Director of the Energy Justice Network, a national support network for grassroots community groups fighting dirty energy and waste industry facilities. These two speakers provided additional perspective and on-the-ground strategies communities can use to fight dirty incinerators.

More information: http://www.ilsr.org/webinar-waste-incineration-january-2019

Published in: Environment
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Webinar: Waste Incineration: A Dirty Secret in How States Define Renewable Energy

  1. 1. WASTE INCINERATION: A Dirty Secret in How States Define Renewable Energy Marie Donahue | January 9, 2019 image:  takomabibelot / Flickr CC 2.0
  2. 2. Webinar Presenters Mike EwallMarie DonahueAiko Fukuchi
  3. 3. POLL: BY ILSR’S COUNT, HOW MANY POWER- GENERATING, MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE INCINERATORS ARE OPERATING IN THE U.S. TODAY? A. 10 B. 25 C. 56 D. 76 E. 382
  4. 4. Aiko Fukuchi GAIA
  5. 5. Marie Donahue ILSR
  6. 6. Worldwide alliance with of members who are grassroots organizers, researchers, Zero Waste experts in over 90 countries with the shared goals of building a future free from all forms of incineration, absent of the misuse of finite resources with a strong presence of zero waste systems. Because of this, in addition to our anti-incineration work, GAIA also opposes landfills and other end-of-pipe interventions.
  7. 7. Waste Incineration Overview ● Approx. 76 Incinerators in operation in the U.S ● Included in the definition of incineration are newer technologies such as pyrolysis, gasification, and Waste-to-Energy (WTE) ● Core impacts of incinerators: ○ Toxic to public health ○ Harmful to the economy, environment, and climate ● In the 70s, 80s, 90s over 300 incineration proposals were stopped, though around 100 were built ● Recent wave of proposals in U.S. - almost all stopped by community organizing, only 1 built (Florida) ● Major Incineration pollutants ○ Dioxins, Particulate Matter, Cadmium, Arsenic, Chromium, Mercury, Lead, Acidic ● A note on ash...
  8. 8. GAIA Work and Priorities ● Failing Incinerators Project (FIP) ● Break Free From Plastics (BFFP) ○ ZW Communities ● Member engagement ○ Providing resources and support ● Research
  9. 9. It’s time for the Extinction of Dinosaur Incinerators: Success Stories ● Commerce Incinerator (Commerce, CA) shut down June 30th, 2018 ● Key point of strategy, RPS and collectively opposing AB 655 ○ AB 655
  10. 10. GAIA Resources Incinerators in Trouble http://www.no-burn.org
  11. 11. Marie Donahue ILSR
  12. 12. MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE INCINERATION “We refer to incineration as ‘wasted energy’ or ‘waste-of-energy’ because this process really burns up more energy than it produces.” — Neil Seldman, co-founder of ILSR and director of Waste to Wealth initiative Credits (clockwise from top left): Mike Ewall / Envision Frederick County, Hennepin County, Covanta
  13. 13. POLL: WHICH FORMS OF ELECTRICITY GENERATION ARE CLEAN AND RENEWABLE? A. WIND B. WASTE INCINERATION C. NATURAL GAS D. SOLAR E. A & D
  14. 14. Source: US EIA (2016) MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE INCINERATORS WITH ELECTRICITY GENERATION CAPACITY (2015) Plant Capacity 100 MW 1 MW
  15. 15. Source: U.S. EPA (2018) December 2018 U.S. SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT BY SHARE OF ACTIVITY Compost 9% Incineration 13% Recycling 26% Landfill 53% Total U.S. Municipal Solid Waste Generation (2015) 262.4 million tons
  16. 16. POLL: HOW MUCH ENERGY CAN BE SAVED BY USING ALTERNATIVES TO INCINERATORS SUCH AS RECYCLING OR COMPOSTING? A. NONE, INCINERATION SAVES MORE ENERGY. B. 1-2X MORE. C. 3-5X MORE. D. 6-8X MORE.
  17. 17. December 2018 INCINERATION VS. RECYCLINGEnergyinmegajoules(MJ) 0 10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 Energy in megajoules (MJ) from treating one ton of paper INCINERATION (energy generated) RECYCLING (energy saved) Sources: GAIA (2012) and Morris (1996)
  18. 18. Economics of incinerators don’t add up.
  19. 19. Credits: Christine Baker, PennLive (left), BizJournals Twin Cities (right) RISKY SPENDING — CAPITAL AND OPERATING COSTS Harrisburg, Pa. Hennepin Co., Minn.
  20. 20. Waste Management Strategy Cost Comparison ($/ton) Sources: ILSR (2017), Clement (2005), Hennepin County (2018) December 2018 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Baltimore, Md. Hennepin County, Minn. Incineration IncinerationRecycling Organics Composting Savings of $32 per ton Savings of $60 per ton Est. Annual Savings: $6.57 million Assumes composting diverts 30% of average waste incinerated at HERC (365,000 tons per year) Est. Annual Savings: $800,000 Assumes city recycling rate diverts 25,000 tons per year from Wheelabrator
  21. 21. Classic case of environmental injustice.
  22. 22. Source: Energy Justice Network (2018) using JusticeMap.org, Census Data, and Energy Justice DEMOGRAPHICS VS DISTANCE TO INCINERATORS Race Ratio is Percent Race compared to US Mean
  23. 23. Source: Energy Justice Network (2018) Panel A: Race (Percent Black) by U.S. Census block DETROIT INCINERATOR COMMUNITY DEMOGRAPHICS Black Percent Detroit Renewable Power (Greater Detroit Resource Recovery) Plant Detroit, MI Trash Incinerator
  24. 24. Panel B: Household Income by U.S. Census block Detroit Renewable Power (Greater Detroit Resource Recovery) Plant Detroit, MI Trash Incinerator Income Source: Energy Justice Network (2018)
  25. 25. Renewable Trash is an Oxymoron.
  26. 26. POLL: HOW MANY U.S. STATES CLASSIFY WASTE INCINERATION AS “RENEWABLE” IN THEIR ENERGY GOALS AND STANDARDS? A. NONE B. 5 C. 16 D. 23 E. 43
  27. 27. December 2018 MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE (MSW) INCINERATION IN STATE “RENEWABLE” ENERGY DEFINITIONS Sources: DSIRE (2018); EJN (2018); F&WW (2018); state statutes; Energy Recovery Council (2016) (X) Number of operating MSW incinerators, if any Excludes MSW incineration as eligible in RPS or goal Classifies MSW incineration as “renewable” in RPS or goal, under certain conditions Classifies MSW incineration as “renewable” in renewable portfolio standard (RPS) or goal No known statewide renewable definition, RPS, or goal Explicit ban on MSW incineration (1) (1) (2)* (8) (2)* (2) (1) (1) (1) (1) (6) DC HI (1) (11) CT (5) MD (2) NJ (5) MA (7) NH (1) (10) (5) DE RI ME (3) *Policy grandfathers existing, but not new, incinerators NOTE: States excluding MSW incineration from RPS may still count other forms of incineration (e.g., biomass) and/or subsidize MSW incineration through other state or local policies
  28. 28. Promoting Energy Democracy and Waste to Wealth, Instead.
  29. 29. RECOMMENDATIONS AND ALTERNATIVES TO BURNING TRASH • Remove incineration from renewable energy definitions. • Support grassroots campaigns fighting incinerators locally. • Implement Pay As You Throw (unit pricing) to incentivize customers to reduce garbage and reduce disposal costs. • Develop organics recycling or community composting programs to divert food waste to community or home composting sites and support local entrepreneurs for hauling. • Invest in robust (such as dual-stream) recycling programs, to recover valuable materials (e.g., separate paper) and reduce disposal costs. • Procure distributed solar resources on municipal property to address local energy needs, cut energy bills, and generate additional savings over time.
  30. 30. Mike Ewall Energy Justice Network
  31. 31. …helping communities protect themselves from polluting energy and waste technologies
  32. 32. Trash Incineration www.EnergyJustice.net/incineration/
  33. 33. www.EnergyJustice.net/map
  34. 34. Victory City State Waste to be burned Local group Nov-14 Frederick Maryland Trash / Tires / Sewage Sludge No Incinerator Alliance; Waste Not! Carroll Oct-14 Bloomington-Normal Illinois Trash / Tires Don’t Waste Bloomington-Normal Sept-14 Allentown Pennsylvania Trash / Sewage Sludge Allentown Residents for Clean Air Aug-14 Stafford County Virginia Trash / Tires Stop the Stafford Incinerator Apr-14 Jasper Indiana Miscanthus grass Healthy Dubois County Apr-14 Port Townsend Washington Wood Port Townsend Airwatchers Mar-14 North Las Vegas Nevada Construction/demolition waste & tires Citizens of North Las Vegas United Mar-14 Bristol Pennsylvania Hazardous Waste Ban the Burn in Bristol Feb-14 North Springfield Vermont Wood / Wood Waste North Springfield Action Group Feb-14 Minneapolis Minnesota Trash (expansion blocked) Minneapolis Neighbors for Clean Air Jan-14 White Deer Pennsylvania Tires Tire Burner Team; Organizations United for the Environment / Shale Justice Jul-13 Transylvania County North Carolina Trash / Wood Waste People for Clean Mountains Jun-13 Klamath Falls Oregon Wood / Wood Waste Save Our Rural Oregon Apr-13 Greenfield Massachusetts Wood / Wood Waste Concerned Citizensof Franklin County Jan-13 Peters Township Pennsylvania Crematorium Peters Township residents Jul-12 St. Lucie Florida Trash Floridians Against Incinerators in Disguise Apr-12 Biscoe North Carolina Poultry Waste Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League Feb-12 Montgomery County North Carolina Poultry Waste Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League Jan-12 Pichidegua Chile Poultry Waste Comite en defensa del medio ambiente de Pichidegua Nov-11 Port St. Joe Florida Wood / Wood Waste Gulf Citizens for Renewable Energy Nov-11 Vancouver Washington Wood / Wood Waste Clark County Clean Air Oct-11 Milltown Indiana Wood / Wood Waste Concerned Citizensof Crawford County Jun-11 Hamilton County Florida Wood / Wood Waste Floridians Against Incinerators in Disguise Jun-11 Valdosta Georgia Sewage Sludge / Wood Waste Valdosta-Lowndes NAACP; Wiregrass Activists for a Clean Environment May-11 Springfield Massachusetts Construction / demolition wood waste Stop Toxic Incineration in Springfield May-11 Mecklenburg County North Carolina Trash Central Piedmont Sierra Club; SustainCharlotte May-11 Attleboro Massachusetts Railroad Ties, Utility Poles & Plastics Attleboro Residents with Important Safety Concerns Apr-11 Pownal Vermont Wood / Wood Waste Bennington-Berkshire Citizens Coalition Mar-11 Shelton Washington Wood / Wood Waste Concerned Citizensof Mason County Mar-11 DeKalb County Georgia Wood / Wood Waste Lithonia residents; Unhappy Taxpayer Voter Association Feb-11 Somerset Massachusetts Coal / Wood Waste Toxics Action Center; Somerset residents Dec-10 Olympia Washington Wood / Wood Waste Olympia Rising Tide; No Biomass Burn Dec-10 Salem Missouri Wood / Wood Waste Concerned Citizensof Perryville Dec-10 Elbert County Georgia Trash / Wood Waste Citizens for Public Awareness Nov-10 Shadyside Ohio Coal-to-Biomass Conversion Buckeye Forest Council Nov-10 Clackamas County Oregon Wood / Wood Waste Redland Community Action Group Aug-10 Hart County Georgia Poultry Waste Stop Fibrowatt in Northeast Georgia Aug-10 Sampson County North Carolina Poultry Waste Sampson Citizens for a Safe Environment; NAACP Jul-10 Scottsburg Indiana Wood / Wood Waste Concerned Citizensof Scott County Jun-10 Traverse City Michigan Wood / Wood Waste (5 proposals defeated) Michigan Citizensfor Energy, the Economy and Environment May-10 Erie Pennsylvania Tires Keep Erie's Environment Protected Apr-10 Port St. Joe Florida Wood / Wood Waste Floridians Against Incinerators in Disguise Apr-10 Elkin North Carolina Poultry Waste Citizens Alliance for a Clean, Healthy Economy Mar-10 Gretna Florida Wood / Wood Waste Concerned Citizensof Gadsden County Feb-10 Page County Virginia Poultry Waste Page County Citizens Energy Justice Network Victories Against Biomass & Waste Incinerators (2010 - 2014)
  35. 35. World’s largest waste corporation driving away from incineration Jan 3, 2014: “Big Waste Hauler Rethinks Startups” [pulls out of gasification, pyrolysis, plasma and trash-to-ethanol investments, selling off Agilyx, Enerkem, Fulcrum, Genomatica & InEnTec] Jul 29, 2014: “Waste Management to Sell Wheelabrator for $1.94 Billion” [pulls out of long-standing ownership of Wheelabrator, the second-largest operator of conventional incinerators in U.S.]
  36. 36. EPA: “Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials” rule Waste is now “Fuel” [Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) or “SpecFuel” or “Processed Engineered Fuel”]
  37. 37. Emerging Threats • Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) (fuel pellets to burn in coal plants, cement kilns and other boilers) • Processed Engineered Fuel • SpecFuel • Waste to fuels • Trash to ethanol, methanol, jet fuel, naphtha, asphalt… • Two-stage incinerators • Pyrolysis • Gasification • Plasma Arc • Anaerobic digestion • Digestated trash marketed as burnable fuel, or as fertilizer or soil amendment; ok if just to pre-process before landfill
  38. 38. “Waste-to-energy is an additional capital cost. That is not in dispute, compared to a landfill... compared to a landfill, which is a less capital-intense structure – it is more expensive. If you had a landfill next to a waste-to-energy facility, then almost in every case, you would think the landfill is going to be cheaper.” Most Expensive Way to Manage Waste Ted Michaels, President, Energy Recovery Council, March 18, 2013 testimony before Washington, DC City Council
  39. 39. Most Expensive Way to Manage Waste Source: National Solid Waste Management Association 2005 Tip Fee Survey, p4. www.environmentalistseveryday.org/docs/Tipping-Fee-Bulletin-2005.pdf
  40. 40. Most Expensive Way to Make Energy Source: "Updated Capital Cost Estimates for Utility Scale Electricity Generating Plants," Energy Information Administration, April 2013, p.6, Table 1. Full report here: www.eia.gov/forecasts/capitalcost/pdf/updated_capcost.pdf
  41. 41. Toxic Air Emissions are… • Dioxins / furans (28 times as much) • Mercury (6-14 times as much) • Lead (6 times as much) • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) (3.2 times as much) • Carbon Monoxide (CO) (1.9 times as much) • Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) (20% worse) • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) (2.5 times as much) Incineration Worse than Coal www.energyjustice.net/incineration/worsethancoal
  42. 42. Incineration Worse than Coal Ratios of pollution levels emitted per unit of energy produced by U.S. coal power plants and trash incinerators
  43. 43. “a waste-to-energy plant is designed to manage solid waste... the electricity output is a secondary function” Incinerator, Not a Power Plant Ted Michaels, President, Energy Recovery Council, March 18, 2013 testimony before Washington, DC City Council
  44. 44. Global Warming Pollution Smokestack CO2 Emissions from U.S. Power Plants Data is in pounds of CO2 per unit of energy produced (lbs/MWh) Source: U.S. EPA Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) v.9, released 2/24/2014 (2010 data)
  45. 45. Dioxin Facts • Dioxins and furans are the most toxic chemicals known to science. They are highly toxic even in miniscule amounts. • Dioxins cause infertility, learning disabilities, endometriosis, birth defects, sexual reproductive disorders, damage to the immune system, cancer and more. • 93% of dioxin exposure is from eating meat and dairy products. www.ejnet.org/dioxin/
  46. 46. Exposure to Dioxins
  47. 47. • Makes landfills more toxic (from ash or slag dumped) …or worse, they try to reuse them • Liquid wastes (more common to fuels conversion technologies) • Air Pollution – Organic pollutants (Dioxins/furans, Volatile Organic Compounds / PAHs) – Toxic metals (mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium, etc.) – Acid Gases (Hydrogen Fluoride, Hydrochloric Acid, Sulfuric Acid) – Particulate matter – Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulfur Oxides (SOx) Incineration Worse than Landfills
  48. 48. Incineration worse than Landfills
  49. 49. “In our industry, and in the waste industry as a whole, fires are becoming more prevalent.” -Mark Harlacker – Covanta’s Commercial Business Director for Mid- Atlantic Region, 4/26/2017 testimony before DC City Council
  50. 50. Racism isn’t usually this obvious… Zulene Mayfield shows signs of vandalism at office of Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living in Chester, PA in 1996 “Laid to Waste” documentary.
  51. 51. Who Lives Near Trash Incinerators? Source: www.spatialjusticetest.org/test/1127.html
  52. 52. Zero Waste Hierarchy • Rethink / Redesign • Reduce • Source Separate: – Reusables – Recycle (multi-stream) – Compost – Waste • Research to see what is left, and encourage redesign • Recovery: mechanically remove additional recyclables • Anaerobically digest, then aerobically compost residuals • Stabilized (digested) residuals to landfill www.energyjustice.net/zerowaste
  53. 53. State-to-Local Air Pollution Savings Clauses Green = Local laws allowed Yellow = In-between (allowed only in certain areas or subject to state approval) Red = Local laws preempted Blue = Local air regulation programs allowed
  54. 54. Maryland In-State “Renewable” Generation Supported by MD RPS
  55. 55. www.energyjustice.net/md
  56. 56. MD Ratepayer money to trash incinerators via RPS RECs
  57. 57. Mike Ewall, Esq. Founder & Director 215-436-9511
  58. 58. image:  takomabibelot / Flickr CC 2.0 Discussion
  59. 59. Thank you! Additional comments or questions? Contact Marie Donahue: mdonahue@ilsr.org Follow us on Twitter: @mlynndonahue @ILSR Find the complete ILSR Report: Waste Incineration: A Dirty Secret in How States Define Renewable Energy, on our website: https://ilsr.org/waste-incineration- renewable-energy

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