Monday, April 16, 2012

Scientific American on "Does it make sense to get energy from garbage?

A reporter from New York Public Radio brought to my attention today (April 14, 2012) the above article in Scientific American. I found it to be factual until I came to the following statement by Laura Haight of NYPIRG:
"Laura Haight, senior environmental associate at New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), says that if the petition passes, waste will take incentives away from more sustainable technologies like wind and solar. She also says that presenting the issue as though incineration offsets landfill emissions is the wrong approach."
I don't know in what other environmental areas NYPIRG is involved but when it comes to waste management in New York State, I think it is doing a great disservice to New York and the City by constantly maintaining that the alternative to WTE is not landfilling but recycling. They have been propagating this myth for years and regrettably are successful, thereby perpetuating sending hundreds of thousands of garbage trucks annually over GWB to distant states for landfilling. In fact, the tons recycled in NYC have not changed much since 2002, when Mayor Bloomberg read our Life After Fresh Kills report. Also, recycling tonnage did not change much between 2008 and 2010, according to data provided on the web by the Department of Sanitation of NYC. NYPIRG obviously do not want to be confused by the facts.

If one goes to Theses, they will see a list of Theses sponsored by the Earth Engineering Center (EEC) in recent years that has included all means of sustainable waste management. Each thesis represents over one year of intense study by highly qualified young engineers (we have room for only one out of about ten applicants) who have come to Columbia's Earth and Environmental Engineering program because they want to contribute, in their career, to sustainable development. They report the facts.

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