MAKE YOUR WASTE ENERGY

Waste to energy means producing energy from burning trash, and is the least ideal option in our waste-management circle. If done intelligently, waste to energy plants can reduce the volume of garbage going into a landfill by 90% [1], and recoup some of the energy present in the trash. Irresponsible waste incineration, however, can make the toxins present in trash both more mobile and more lethal, further exacerbating the problem of what to do with what we throw away.

Waste to energy still sends some materials – usually ash – to a landfill, where most of our trash is still being buried. Landfills are fraught with environmental problems. These include household and industrial wastes leaking into the ground and contaminating our food and drinking water, the release of greenhouse gasses such as methane, and the permanent loss of valuable materials and nutrients – many of which were just recently dug up out of the ground. The limited and leaky nature of landfills only highlights the old adage – There is no such place as away.

 

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GOING GREEN WITH RECYCLING

Well-run recycling programs cost less to operate than waste collection, landfilling, and incineration.

The more people recycle, the cheaper it gets.

Two years after calling recycling a $40 million drain on the city, New York City leaders realized that a redesigned, efficient recycling system could actually save the city $20 million and they have now signed a 20-year recycling contract.

Recycling helps families save money, especially in communities with pay-as-you-throw programs.

Well-designed programs save money. Communities have many options available to make their programs more cost-effective, including maximizing their recycling rates, implementing pay-as-you-throw programs, and including incentives in waste management contracts that encourage disposal companies to recycle more and dispose of less.

Recycling creates 1.1 million U.S. jobs, $236 billion in gross annual sales and $37 billion in annual payrolls.

Public sector investment in local recycling programs pays great dividends by creating private sector jobs. For every job collecting recyclables, there are 26 jobs in processing the materials and manufacturing them into new products.

Recycling creates four jobs for every one job created in the waste management and disposal industries.

Thousands of U.S. companies have saved millions of dollars through their voluntary recycling programs. They wouldn’t recycle if it didn’t make economic sense.