Waste Incineration

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If incineration is not a desirable option, what could Latvia do instead?

Waste-To-Energy Incineration Plants

Please see the information below. According to the early warning report by the European Commission, Latvia might not reach the EU Waste directive goals set for the year and, possibly, neither the ones for the year [1]. Latvia wants household waste incineration to be counted towards the waste recycling objectives.

Waste incineration

However, even if incineration reduces the amount of waste that ends-up in landfills, it does not increase recycling. Therefore, investing public money into household waste incinerators is a waste of funding into unsustainable technologies that will not help achieve recycling goals.

Is burning trash a good way to dispose of it? Waste incineration in charts

In spite of that, Latvia is planning to build an incinerator in Ventspils City, which will be operational as of In addition, incinerators have some serious negative side-effects. They emit harmful substances, even if there is no visible smoke, and leave toxic slag which has to be disposed of. The residue can also be reused if purified beforehand, however the legislative requirements are not sufficiently stringent. Secondly, incinerators need a constant input of waste, which means that waste that might be recycled will be burnt [4].


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This is also inconsistent with the principles of circular economy and the EU waste management hierarchy, where energy recovery is at a lower position than prevention and recycling. In Latvia, a third of all household waste is organic waste, and packaging accounts for almost another third.

So a lot of countries incorporated the heat and energy produced from waste incinerators for the generation of power by using steam turbines. Moreover, Europe and Japan have now integrated incinerators into modern heating systems.

Waste incineration | IPEN

Furthermore, other countries that have cold weather utilize the heat from the incinerators for warming their homes and places of work in areas near the plant. Research has shown that solid waste incinerators are less likely to pollute the environment than landfills do. One particular study done during a lawsuit in the US showed that a waste incinerator location was more environment-friendly compared to a landfill.

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The research discovered that the landfill was releasing higher quantities of greenhouse gases , nitrogen oxides, dioxin, hydrocarbons, and non-methane organic compounds. Landfills also leach poisonous chemicals into the water below thus contaminating underground water systems. The main problem concerning the incineration of solid waste was the release of hazardous compounds, particularly dioxin. Nonetheless, up to date incinerator plants use filters to trap hazardous gases and particulate dioxin.

The current incineration plants operate within the required pollution limits recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency and international protocols. Incineration plants can be near cities or towns. This is advantageous since it means waste does not have to be driven for long distances for dumping. It significantly reduces the cost of transport; the money can then be spent on the wellbeing of the community and sustaining the growth of a city or district.

Additionally, it reduces the harmful gases released by vehicles during transportation, thus drastically reducing the overall carbon footprint. Incineration plants are able to provide less bad smells because waste gets burnt, unlike landfills where waste is allowed to decay thereby emitting unpleasant smells, which cause air pollution. The production of methane in landfills may also lead to explosions that cause noise pollution, which is unheard-of when it comes to the use of incineration plants.

In landfills, when the waste is decaying methane gas is generated which if not controlled, may explode causing further global warming. Unlike landfills, incineration plants do not produce methane, therefore making them safer. Incineration plants function at very high temperatures that can destroy germs and chemicals that are harmful. Thus, it is a very effective method when it comes to eliminating clinical waste.

Another advantage of incinerators is that they can function in any type of weather. For instance, during a rainy season, waste cannot be dumped in a landfill because the rain will possibly wash down poisonous chemicals into the ground and consequently create leachate thus contaminating the underground water as well as the neighboring land. After incineration, the waste is reduced to ash which is about 10 per cent of its original volume.

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An efficient flue gas cleaning system comprising electrostatic precipitators, lime powder dosing equipment and catalytic bag filters remove dust and pollutants from the flue gas before it is released into the atmosphere via m tall chimneys. Ferrous scrap metal contained in the ash is recovered and sold to a local steel mill for recycling. Ask Jamie NEA.