Incinerators not financially viable
IN RESPONSE to Gordon Taylor’s letter, “Consider new waste management technology” (Weekend Argus, August 5), I quote Neil Seldman, the author of The US Recycling Movement, who says: “Incinerators don’t make financial sense when other approaches are cheaper. Cities cannot afford the cost of building Waste Incinerator plants, which typically cost $650 million (R8.7 billion) per plant.
“Recycling and composting are 10% the cost of incineration. The raw materials returned to industry and agriculture creates about 5 to 10 times more jobs compared to incineration in just processing, and much more in manufacturing.”
Waste incinerators are complex devices and monitoring the facility is a huge issue. A full inspection, even when conducted by a government official, takes five days.
In the US, the government realised the adverse environmental threats these facilities posed and implemented policies like the Clean Air Act (1970).
Plants that did not comply with these regulations were shut down.
There is a big difference between Stockholm and Wellington.
Wellington generates a tiny fraction of waste compared to Stockholm. Sweden has more incinerators than waste to burn.
Most incinerators are subsidised. These subsidies exacerbate the current oversupply of incinerators – hence the need to import waste to ensure their financial sustainability.
The under-utilisation, lack of flexibility, and design constraints of these hazardous plants can hardly be considered “efficient technology”.