Letter: Incineration is not environmentally friendly

Fiona Brown’s wild claim that waste incineration is a “more environmentally friendly option than landfills” (£1.6billion plan to burn our rubbish, 29th January) cannily avoids a key point – incineration is not ‘environmentally friendly’.

Incinerators under the euphemistic title of ‘energy from waste’ belch out more greenhouse gas emissions than gas-fired power stations. The waste burning process also produces smoke, gases and ash containing toxic chemicals that have been linked with several cancers, all whilst destroying useful material.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle makes more sense – it uses less energy and produces less carbon dioxide emissions than is generated by burning waste – because it means making fewer new things from raw materials.  As if those benefits aren’t good enough, there’s an added bonus that the construction of recycling infrastructure is quicker and cheaper than building incinerators.

We should be moving towards a zero waste culture, reducing the waste produced in the first place, maximising the range of products that are reused and expanding the possibilities of recycling.  Resorting to the lazy and dirty dinosaur of incineration provides none of these opportunities.

Our planet’s resources are finite – it makes no sense to send them up in smoke.


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