RCBC Background Paper: Examining The Waste-to-Energy Option


The objectives of this background
paper are to provide unbiased
information aboutWaste-to-
Energy (WTE) technology and the
proposals that have recently been
submitted to Metro Vancouver, and the
expected environmental performance of
the technology.

The purpose of this document is to aid
observers in shaping an informed position
on Metro Vancouver’s inclusion of
WTE as part of the proposed waste
management “solution” for the region.

This report focuses on Plasco Energy
Group’s WTE technology since this
company has provided one of the
more detailed, serious and innovative
proposals to Metro Vancouver. In
recognition of the fact that a number of
other companies have similarly lobbied
the region, it should be noted that this
report is neither a statement against or
in favour of Plasco Energy Group’s

While some of the research undertaken
for this report is specific to the Metro
Vancouver area, much of the
information is general in nature and
many of the conclusions are broad
enough to guide the general debate on
WTE. The research on avoided
emissions and the GHG impacts of
WTE facilities and landfills, outlined in
Section 2.2, is particularly specific to
Metro Vancouver and the province of
BC. Care is required when comparing
these findings to other jurisdictions
where the composition of waste and the
GHG intensity of electricity sold on the
grid are different than that in Metro

The Recycling Council of B.C. (RCBC)
recently reaffirmed its position against
using WTE as part of the solid waste
management regime in B.C. It is
RCBC’s position that the use of WTE
does nothing to encourage waste
reduction and that WTE would, in fact,
be quite unnecessary if full extended
producer responsibility programs
(product stewardship) and full organics
diversion were in place.

If one examines the entire life cycle of
the products that make up MSW, and
does not focus solely on the disposal
stage of this process, it is clear that
there are other waste management
strategies that can achieve higher
environmental standards than either
landfilling or WTE. A ZeroWaste
strategy that relies on reducing, reusing
and recycling waste will conserve more
energy, produce fewer air pollutants and
GHG emissions, and will help solve the
residual problem still present in any
WTE scenario.




Author: admin

Enjoy this Post? Share it on your favorite social bookmarking site...

Submit to Mixx Submit to StumbleUpon Submit to Delicious Submit to Digg