Waste to Energy Essay

3482 Words Nov 23rd, 2010 14 Pages
Waste-to-energy
Taking Care of Garbage
Michelle Rowland
Buena Vista University

Waste-to-energy
Taking Care of Garbage

We all have to share this world with its limited resources. We must take advantage of all resources we have, regardless if they came from the earth, are man made, or are waste products. The average person in America throws away 3.7 pounds of garbage every day (Resource Recovery Public Works, 2009). It is no surprise that this leads to landfills that are filling faster than we ever thought due to more people and the increasing throwaway economy. We are facing geological limits for landfills in many areas. Waste-to-energy is a productive method of relieving stresses on natural and man made resources.
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Garbage is being used at 89 plants in the United States and over 700 others throughout the world (Michaels, 2008). Let’s take a closer look at this miracle fuel.
Waste-to-energy is a process of creating energy in the form of electricity or heat from the incineration of garbage. The process has been endorsed by leading environmental scientists. The waste-to-energy facilities of the United States are required to meet the most stringent environmental standards in the world. The facilities are equipped with advanced emissions control equipment available. The US EPA concluded that the plants have dramatic decreases in air emissions, and produce electricity with less environmental impact than almost any other source of electricity. America’s Own Energy Source revealed the EPA has estimated that waste-to-energy avoids the release of 33 million metric tons of carbon dioxide yearly (America’s Own Energy Source). The technology to burn garbage with lower emissions than conventional fuels burned in most power plants is readily available today. The new waste-to-energy plants are reducing greenhouse gas emissions in three ways. One way is by producing electricity that would have been generated by a conventional power plant. Another way they reduce greenhouse gas is by disposing of solid waste that would have gone to a landfill, decomposed, and then generated methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas. Waste-to-energy plants also recover metals for recycling,…