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Incineration, Is It Really Worth It Essay, Research Paper

When we think of incineration we naturally think of burning. Rightfully so seeing as incineration is essentially the burning of an object or objects. When we think of incineration we dont think of wasting, we think of burning. When our general public thinks of using incineration to dispose of garbage they assume that our the incinerator is going to have a filter on it that gets rid of all the harmful byproducts of this combustion. When people think of a garbage incinerator they dont normally think of waste or pollution. Yet incineration of our garbage is both of these things.

Incineration as a waste disposal method is basically the burning of waste. The one primary rule of our universe is that matter cannot be destroyed but rather converted into different forms. Incineration is not exempt from this rule, there is a byproduct to incineration just like there is a byproduct to a normal fire. As seen in the informative 3M Canada video, the gaseous byproduct of incineration passes through various cleaning agent, a lime treatment, and 4 stages of filters. This is done to make the gaseous element of incineration as non harmful as possible. The keyword there is possible. No matter what filters are applied there is still a significant amount of Carbon Dioxide and other harmful gases such as furons and dioxins being released. This makes an incinerator equivalent to a giant bonfire that burns 24hours a day, 7 days a week. This isnt good for our atmosphere, carbon dioxide can act as a greenhouse gas. We are trying not to have the icecaps melt, not encourage it. If incineration became widespread the environmental results could be devastating. We have 6 billion people living on this earth and if everyone of those peoples garbage was burned in incinerators we would all be dead soon enough.

Incineration is also inefficent. For all the energy put into incineration you get two main products, harmful gases and hazardous ash. The ash is not only hazardous and hard to handle, but it is also costly to store. At up to $200 dollars a tonne to store, the ash is not exactly cheap to store. The ash also needs to be checked periodically and neutralized with chemicals upon entering the secured landfill site. The ash checking process is also obsenely costly and just adds to the long list of bad things that incineration brings. Incineration plants are also an eyesore, often causing whole neihbourhoods to come up in revolt when one is planned near them.

Finally incineration is wasteful. When waste comes to a incinerator there is no attempt to make use or recycle it, the waste is just burned. Taking Guelph, Ontario’s program as an example up to 60% of that waste could have been recycled rather than incinerated. Not only that but all this energy is being wasted just to burn the garbage when most of it can be used again. If an incinerator had to burn 100 tonnes of aluminum cans it wouldnt think twice about saving a single one for metal recovery, it would simply burn them and probably release one dangerous metal into our air and leave a lot of expensive ash.

Incineration is a dangerous thing. A lot of energy is used and the product is pollution. It is like a giant pollution machine. All that just to dispose of garbage. Most of the garbage can be recycled too but is burned anyways wasting precious commodities like paper, metal, and plastics of which most are nonrenewable and when burned are gone forever. It doesnt make sense to use incineration for anything. Even the waste left over from recycling is cheaper to store than the expensive prices asscosiated with storing incinerator ash. When you think of incineration you should think of waste, pollution, and innanity. Incineration is a counterproductive way of getting rid of our waste. We must all remember that the greenhouse gases from incinerators are no laughing matter, if incineration were to become a widespread way of disposing of garbage it could not only cost us our economy but our future.


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