Environmentalists to City: Your Long-Term Trash Plan is a Burning Pile of Garbage

Categories: The Environment

WasteIncineration.jpg
European Commission
Does Dallas want to burn its trash? Environmentalists think so.
On Tuesday, you saw a glimpse of Dallas' garbage future. The city's long-term solid waste plan had some relatively progressive ideas -- mandatory recycling, a plastic bag ban and "zero waste," for example -- but those won't even be up for actual discussion for another couple of decades. Once the ideas aren't so, you know, progressive.

Local environmentalists are greeting the proposal with "extreme disappointment," per a press release from the Dallas Sierra Club and Texas Campaign for the Environment. They think the city is kicking the can down the road.

"While this recycling plan sets strong long-term goals, in the short term it makes excuses for bad practices and uses big talk to cover up for little action," says Zac Trahan, TCE's local program director.

And then, per the release, there's this: "Among the chief concerns activists expressed is a provision to start burning Dallas' waste."

Come again?

According to Trahan, the "advanced waste diversion" very, very briefly touched upon in this week's City Council committee briefing, is a fancy way of saying "we're gonna light it on fire." I glanced back at the briefing material, which tells me advanced waste diversion includes "converting waste to electricity and/or other fuels." I've emailed city spokesman Frank Librio for clarification.

The environmentalists' overall message though is that the city needs to do something significant now, rather than simply saying it will in 2020 or 2025. Case in point: Under Dallas' plan, the city can put off requiring apartment complexes and offices to offer recycling for more than a decade when San Antonio, Austin and San Marcos have implemented the same proposal in the matter of a couple years.

"For the next 15 years we will hear politicians tell us how we cannot expect apartments to offer recycling, we cannot deal with single-use, disposable bags, we should hold off offering municipal composting or otherwise do anything over and above what we are already doing," Trahan said. "Future administrations will always have an excuse if they want to delay making critical waste reduction programs a reality."


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13 comments
dunbar
dunbar

If this Texas Campaign for the Environment is the same group as in Austin, they are being paid by the landfill owner there so they want nothing to do with keeping garbage out of the landfill.  One of their lackey's, "Dobbs" he calls himself, admitted they take funding from a local landfill owner in a Zero Waste Advisory Commission meeting a few days ago!  If they are talking about burning as diversion, it is no more than smoke, pardon the pun!  These guys want to scare everyone about diverting garbage from the landfill at all costs and get big bucks from the landfill owner to spew their verbal garbage.  They are bought and paid for and should be called out as turncoats.  Zac, are you the same group?  If so, you have sold your credibility for $250,000.

abby
abby

No way is the city going to burn anything, they don't have to.  Resource recovery is about capturing the recyclables and the organics and diverting them from the landfill.  The key is diversion from the landfill.  Sell the recyclables, sequester the organics, siphon the methane so it doesn't go into the air and use the solids and liquids remaining for compost.  This is a good plan.  It has some holes but is basically a good plan.  In fact, it is very much like Austin.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

basically, if it will burn, it can be composted. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Environmental groups should not have standing in federal court to represent us all.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Yeah, Dallas needs to get their heads out of their asses now. But burning garbage is going to be a near-future technology that can do wonderful things--cheap electricity and they are developing ways to re-burn the fumes and remains to where waste and pollution is much, much less than a landfill, so please don't shit on that concept either. Come 2030 or 2040 it'll be pretty sweet.

claytonauger
claytonauger

 @holmantx They don't. They represent their members, or the law that isn't being followed.

zactrahan
zactrahan

 @Scruffygeist No, burning garbage is atrocious for the environment. No matter what these incineration companies promise, it is not cutting edge technology, it is not cheap electricity, and it is worse than putting our waste in a landfill.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @claytonauger Crikey!  I think you are right?!  At least as far as suing the federal agencies.  

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @pharmerzac Think Scruffy was being Ironic, you know, like suggesting that burning garbage is a NEW technology.  If no one thought of it before, then our scout troop revolutionized the concept.  Actually, every scout troop/any group of kids want to burn trash for fun.  Nothing new about it.  A fan of Futurama, wouldn't miss such a venerable source of entertainment as burning trash.  Fun? yes, green? no

claytonauger
claytonauger

 @pharmerzac Yep. Landfills can leak, but also contained. Plumes spew and once released, cannot be contained.

 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @Rix1 low energy too?  The melding the laws of physics is just around the corner. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

 @Rix1 Thank you for remembering plasma gasification, I sure couldn't and I was too lazy to look it up.

 

Give it a couple decades and it will render landfills a thing of the past. Anyone who pays attention to environmental science (not all that hard, the Science Channel is good) realizes we're close to many breakthroughs.

Rix1
Rix1

 @claytonauger It never ceases to amaze me how anti-science the so-called environmentalists are. No matter the evidence to the contrary, they cannot stand someone with facts bursting their pre-conceived notions. Plasma gasification incinerators burn all toxins with zero emissions. They create much of the electricity needed to operate, They recycle metals into inert blocks, that can be recycled or easily disposed of. Landfills and recycling are 20th century throwbacks. 

 

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