The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


April 17, 2010

Trash burning could be smart energy source

"Don't throw your trash in my back yard, my back yard, my back yard. Don't throw your trash in my back yard "" my back yard's full."

My kids learned that catchy tune in music class as kindergartners, and it popped into my head the other day as I was reading a New York Times article on the success of trash-burning energy plants in Denmark.

Unlike conventional incinerators, these waste-to-energy plants have a high-tech system of filters and scrubbers that removes pollutants and toxic chemicals while converting household garbage and industrial waste into heat and electricity for nearby homes. Proponents cite several reasons for the rise in popularity of these plants (Denmark's 29 plants are among about 400 throughout Europe) "" including reduced trash hauling costs, less reliance on oil and gas, diminished landfill use and lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Cheaper energy costs have made the plants attractive to homeowners, too. In Horsholm, Denmark, for example, a plant is located literally in a neighborhood's back yard "" about 400 yards over a fence that borders the homes' carports "" and 80 percent of the town's heat and 20 percent of its electricity come from burning trash.

The issue of turning trash into energy raises some important questions about the hard choices we are facing. Most can agree that the ideal systems for creating and transporting goods, producing energy and disposing of waste need to be, first and foremost, safe, posing little or no risk to the air we breathe and the water we drink.

Are waste-to-energy plants safe? I've seen conflicting reports. The Times article says the plants are so clean that they emit lower levels of cancer-causing dioxins than a home fireplace or backyard barbecue. However, some environmentalists claim the chemicals these plants emit still pose a serious public health threat.

Text Only
Big Chuck D'Imperio
Cary Brunswick

Chuck Pinkey
Guest Column

Lisa Miller

Mark Simonson
Rick Brockway

Sam Pollak
William Masters
  • Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues

    As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.

    September 18, 2012

  • Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner

    An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.

    September 4, 2012

  • Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity

    Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.

    August 21, 2012

  • Romney shows little regard for common man

    The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.

    August 7, 2012

  • Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists

    The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.

    July 24, 2012

Additional Content
Join the Debate
Additional Resources
CNHI News Service

Do you plan to attend the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction?

Not sure
     View Results