INCINERATORS D18 Explain the short- and long-term impacts of landfills and incineration of waste materials on the quality of the environment. LEARNING TARGETS I can explain how an incinerator works. I can explain the short-term environmental effects of an incinerator. I can explain the long-term environmental effects of an incinerator. WHAT IS AN INCINERATOR? A building designed to burn solid waste at extremely high temperatures (as high as 2000° C) Accounts for 14% of US waste disposal The burning of refuse drastically reduces the volume of the solid waste. INCINERATOR PROCESS HOW A WASTE-TO-ENERGY PLANT WORKS Video Clip HOW MUCH MSW CAN BE INCINERATED? Virtually all of the contents of the municipal solid waste stream are combustible at the high temperature Examples of combustible material include paper, food, yard waste, plastic, rubber, and wood. Non-combustible materials in the waste stream include glass, metals, ceramics, and clay. PROBLEMS WITH INCINERATORS Makes landfills more toxic Use the ash as the daily cover layer Air Pollution Lack of monitoring Toxic metals (mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium, etc.) Acid Gases (Hydrogen Fluoride, Hydrochloric Acid, Sulfuric Acid) Particulate matter – health effects Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulfur Oxides (SOx) PROBLEMS WITH INCINERATORS Destroys materials instead of recycling Global warming contribution worse than zero waste solutions Makes the problem "invisible" rather than making it very visible Very costly to build (up to $200 million) BENEFITS OF INCINERATORS Ash has virtually no groundwater contamination risk if landfill is properly designed Smaller amount of land needed Does not have to be capped off They can be used continuously Dumping in landfills is becoming expensive which makes incinerators more cost-effective Possible solution to the nation’s energy needs BENEFITS OF INCINERATORS Reduces the amount of waste that must be landfilled Allows us to use the non-recyclable trash LEARNING TARGET CHECKPOINT How does an incinerator work? What are the short-term environmental effects of an incinerator? What are the long-term environmental effects of an incinerator?