King’s Lynn Incinerator a medieval approach!!

I am appalled about the release of £91m in private finance (PFI) credits by Caroline Spelman to build the incinerator in King’s Lynn.  

The incinerator industry rose from the economic collapse of the nuclear industry in the 1970s and ’80s.  As cost and safety concerns began to erode nuclear power’s allure, the companies that had most benefited from building the plants got into the resource recovery business, also know as trash to cash.  Incineration does not eliminate waste; it changes its form.  Emissions are spread downwind across towns and the countryside.  Incinerators have tall smokestacks so that the ash does not fall on the local community.  One study in New Jersey showed that a state-of-the-art incinerator consuming 2,250 tons of household waste daily would annually emit 5 tons of lead, 17 tons of mercury, 580 pounds of cadmium, 2,248 tons of nitrous oxide, 853 tons of sulfur dioxide, 777 tons of hydrogen chloride, 87 tons of sulfuric acid, 18 tons of flourides, and 98 tons of particulate matter small enough to lodge permanently in the lungs.  Most important, incinerators turn out to be dioxin generators.  The lignin from paper and wood combines with chlorine gases to form 210 different dioxin compounds.  For every 100 tons of waste, incinerators produce 30 tons of fly ash, a granular substance that contains most of the toxins.  The fly ash is trucked to a landfill where is has to be be enclosed in plastic liners.  The plastic presently used in fly-ash landfills is guaranteed for twenty years; landfills containing toxic fly ash in New York and New Jersey have reported leaks within months after installation.  

Waste incineration is not an environmental solution, and the cost is enormous.  Incinerator companies demand long-term contracts requiring cities to pay for pre-established amounts of waste.  If those levels of waste are not achieved because of recycling or other conservation measures, the cities must still pay for the phantom waste.  Incinerators do generate electricity through the use of steam turbines, but the utilities are required to purchase this power at avoided costs, which is the highest rate paid.

Let’s not go back to a medieval way of processing our waste because there are alternatives.

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