There have been a spate of proposals from overseas companies to introduce incineration for rubbish in Aotearoa New Zealand, the most recent being in Waimate, South Canterbury. These proposals are touted as “waste to energy” solutions to the problem of waste. While we are obviously no fans of landfills, we oppose replacing landfills with incineration of rubbish because:
- Incineration of rubbish encourages waste and a throwaway culture, locking in wasteful practices for the future.
- Wastebusters encourages people to rethink, reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle resources. Incineration destroys them.
- Incineration creates hazardous waste. About 30% of incinerated rubbish is converted into toxic bottom ash which has to be landfilled in a specialised landfill.
- Toxins released during incineration, which include dioxins, mercury and cadmium, can enter our waterways and food chain.
- Incinerators release greenhouse gases and work against climate change emission goals and current reliance on high levels of renewable energy.
- The incinerators rely on high levels of waste, which would result in rubbish being trucked around the South Island.
- Incineration throws away the green jobs of the future. For every one job created from incineration of rubbish, reuse creates 296 jobs and recycling centres create 36.
If you want to find more information on the problems associated with burning rubbish, our friends at Zero Waste Network Aotearoa have compiled a list of resources on their website and Wasties’ Gina Dempster has written this piece about it for the ODT.
(Featured image: Poolbeg incinerator, Ireland, image by Wikimedia Commons)