Incinerators

Report
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.
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PROBLEMS WITH INCINERATORS

Makes landfills more toxic
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Use the ash as the daily cover layer
Air Pollution
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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
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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

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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?
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