Previously, we have seen the main arguments against incineration, and to be fair and present all the information now is the turn of the positive points of view. The main arguments for incineration focus on the safety of these facilities, energy recovery in an environment of a global energy crisis, the reduction of emissions that cause climate change, the low occupancy of public land and the improvement of technology to reduce the pollution generated:

Incinerators are modern facilities that enable energy recovery with little impact on the landscape

In an environment of a global energy crisis, which depends on a limited resource like oil, one must ask oneself whether burying waste with that has an energetic value in landfills is acceptable or not. It’ is clear that the energy needed to produce new products[1](which will become waste) is higher than that which one we can be extracted from the product material through incineration. Therefore, recycling is the best way to recover the energy of from these materials, as long as it’ is viable.

Recycling is the best way to recover energy from waste energy recovery

That said, if the waste is mixed (as in the mixed o rejected fraction), once it has passed through the Ecopark, it can no longer be recovered, because the energy (and economic) costs of recovery increase and the balance is no longer favorable, so the only option is to send this rejection rejected material to an incinerator or to landfill. Adding energy from non-recyclable municipal, industrial, forestry and livestock waste, in Spain, could save at least 8% of the energy[2] consumed in one year.

Concerning the emission of dioxins emission, it is no longer a problem[3] thanks to the gas purification systems featured in the current incinerators. According to the German Ministry for the Environment, between 1990 and 2000, emissions from waste incineration facilities in Germany were reduced by a factor of almost 1,000 times and currently constitute less than 1% of emissions produced as a result of from the human activity. In this the same direction, and according to several studies[4] of by AEVERSU (Spanish Association of Energy Valorization of municipal solid waste) made carried out in the surroundings of the several of the Spanish incineration facilities such as Reus, Mataró, Tarragona or Zabalgarbi in Bilbao, these types of waste treatment facilities neither have an impact on their environment nor on the human health. Equally, the Basque government department[5] pronounces affirms that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that modern incineration and with limited emission levels suppose implies a significant additional risk for to the population health of the population.

It should be noted that the incinerators are municipal property, and are regulated, controlled and legislated,in such a wayso that they do not supposepose any risk to the environment or to people.[6] .

What’s more, today’’s incineration facilities are not just incineration facilities; they are high-tech power facilities.[7]

Incinerators occupy less land than landfills and reduce the volume of waste volume that goes into landfills (around 85%).

Want to know more?

 The book Stop garbage. The truth about recycling, Alex Pascual, February 2019

► Interview with Dr. Eduard Rodríguez Farré at the Vilafranca del Penedès Regional Hospital (CAT)

► Award-winning documentary TRASHED, starring Jeremy Irons. Very instructive, easy to understand, with good images, good content and good technical details (ENG)

► VI State meeting against the incineration of waste in cement factories. Villafranca del Penedés 2015 (CAST and CAT)

► “Purifying fire?”El Escarabajo Vverde Program, RTVE, (CAST)

►On the case “Txingudi incinerator (Basque Country)” (CAST)

► The reality of living near an incinerator, RTVE (CAST)

Effects on health and the environment of dioxins and furans, Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment,15634,11,2007.html

Several studies on the non-impact of incineration on the environment and humans, by AEVERSU (Spanish Association for the Energy Recovery of RSU) (CAST)

“The activity of urban waste incineration does not imply an additional risk for the surrounding population.”Universitat Rovira i Virgili (CAT)

►Incineración and health. Osasuna eta errausketa. April 2016. Legazpi (CAST)

[1]. “The incineration and future of waste management policies,” Official Association of Industrial Engineers of Catalonia, March 2009

[2]. Alvaro Feliu, Luis Otero, Recuperación ecoficiente de residuos. Su potencial en España, Fundación Gas Natural, 2007

[3]. “”The incineration and future of waste management policies,” op. cit.

[4]. Health and environment.

[5]. A study by Osakidtza concludes that incineration does not represent a “significant risk” to health.Guipuzkoa News, 7 March 2016

[6]. Catalan waste Agency

[7].“”The incineration and future of waste management policies,” op. cit.


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