Members of ECCC invited to webinar on incineration

Une version en français est disponible ici !

On April 8, we sent a letter to the members of City Council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee (ECCC), inviting them to attend a webinar on incineration. This webinar is timely: Council is considering incineration as an option for dealing with Ottawa’s waste, since staff has warned Council that the Trail Road Landfill—which currently receives the majority of Ottawans’ garbage—will fill up soon under our current approach.

Ecology Ottawa attended a similar webinar on April 3, and it was illuminating—and sobering. Incinerator can seem promising: we truck in our waste, burn it to generate some electricity, and dispose of the residual ash. If this seems too simple, it is. 

Here are several of the red flags raised in this webinar:

  • GHG emissions: while proponents claim that incineration produces lower GHG emissions than landfills, this is because reporting omits important information
  • Incentives to waste: incinerators decline in efficiency as volume incinerated decreases, and contracts often require certain volumes—thus we would have no incentive to reduce waste
  • Toxification: despite pollution control devices, incinerators still release many pollutants that contaminate air, soil, and water, and even enter the food chain.
  • Electricity generation: while proponents argue that incinerators can produce electricity, they do so inefficiently—and landfills (including Trail Road) also have this capacity, and even have excess capacity
  • Cost: incinerators are often expensive, and their actual costs often exceed their projected costs—and maintenance costs are also high
  • Residual waste: incinerators still produce waste—residual ashes—that not only still require landfill disposal, but also are highly toxic

Ottawa made a huge mistake with the Plasco Fiasco. It’s critical that Council make an informed decision this time around, whether for our ecosystem, the air we breathe and food we eat, or for good stewardship of our taxes.

You can read our letter to the ECCC members below. For more information on these webinars, see here—and for more information on incineration, see this myth-busting page, this fact sheet (PDF), or this research.



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