Westchester Celebrates 25 years of Waste-to-Energy

The Westchester waste-to-energy facility in Peekskill, NY marked its 25th anniversary in operation this week. The Journal News asserts that there is nothing glamorous about the trash-to-energy plant, but its construction did solve one of the most monumental problems in county history - how to dispose of hundreds of thousands of tons of household and commercial garbage in a safe, environmental way. The facility was opened on Oct. 21, 1984, at Charles Point in Peekskill under a contract by Wheelabrator. The steam produced in the burning process generates enough electricity daily to cover the needs of some 40,000 residents served by Con Edison.  This article provides an excellent case study on how a community decided that waste-to-energy was the best way to manage their trash.

G.W. University Uses WTE to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

According to the GW Hatchet, George Washington University plans to send 3,500 tons of trash to a waste-to-energy plant this year in hopes of eliminating the University's solid waste carbon emissions. The 3,500 tons of waste produced each year at the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses will be converted into 1,800 megawatt hours of electricity, generating enough power to run 100 homes for an entire year, officials said this week. "By switching to waste-to-energy (WTE), our greenhouse gas emissions for solid waste will be reduced to zero," said Nancy Giammatteo, director of Planning and Environmental Management.  The disposal and conversion program started on Oct. 5.  The new initiative is part of the University's proposal to lessen overall greenhouse gas emissions as part of the obligation to the American College and University President's Climate Commitment and GW's climate action plan. The WTE project will have a "large impact on the current dialogue and the next generation of leaders," said Meghan Chapple-Brown, Director of GWU’s Office of Sustainability.

Bay County WTE Facility Assists with Proper Flag Disposal

Going above and beyond the call of duty, the Bay County, Florida waste-to-energy facility is performing patriotic services by offering a free program to properly dispose of American flags that are no longer fit for use. After a sufficient amount of unserviceable flags are collected, Bay County Solid Waste Division will cease collection operations and hold a private flag burning ceremony at the waste-to-energy facility to dispose of them in a dignified manner. The flags will not be mixed with garbage and will never be placed on the tipping floor with the garbage, but rather they will be fed directly into the combustor and burned by themselves. Bay County staff will ensure the flags are properly folded.

WTE Recognized as Renewable in President Obama's Latest Executive Order

President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order that defines waste-to-energy as a renewable energy source. The Executive Order requires Federal agencies to set a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target within 90 days; increase energy efficiency; reduce fleet petroleum consumption; conserve water; reduce waste; support sustainable communities; and leverage Federal purchasing power to promote environmentally-responsible products and technologies. The Executive Order builds on and expands the energy reduction and environmental requirements of Executive Order 13423 (which also defined waste-to-energy as renewable) by making reductions of greenhouse gas emissions a priority of the Federal government. This new Executive Order provides another leading example of waste-to-energy receiving broad support as renewable.

Why Burning Garbage is the Best Option

The Vancouver Sun published an excellent article entitled "Why Burning Garbage is the Best Option" written by Mayor Lois E. Jackson of Delta, British Columbia, who also serves as the chairwoman of the Metro Vancouver board of directors.  The Mayor states that independent advice provided to the Board suggests a modern waste-to-energy facility which generates heat and electricity from the combustion of garbage is the best way to dispose of the trash we can't recycle.  Metro Vancouver is currently considering construction of six new waste-to-energy plants to manage the waste currently going to landfills.  Mayor Jackson asserts unequivocally that, "Unlike landfills, air emissions from waste-to-energy facilities can be continuously monitored and regulated. Our air emissions would remain the same or become even smaller with waste-to-energy.  Waste-to-energy is also the best option for reducing the gases that cause global warming."