What are the pros and cons of Waste to energy?
Waste-to-energy (WTE), also known as energy-from-waste, is the process through which energy is produced, utilizing waste as a fuel source (usually heat and electricity). This is frequently accomplished by burning waste directly in waste incinerators, or by turning gases like methane into combustible fuel. The latter approach, calls for procedures like gasification or anaerobic digestion.
Pros and drawbacks of waste-to-energy
WTE has advantages and disadvantages, just like any waste management technique. The following are some of the primary benefits and drawbacks of waste-to-energy:
· It provides a chance for energy recovery
Waste-to-energy is employed for a cause, and when compared to conventional waste management techniques, it unquestionably offers certain advantages, such as the chance for resource recovery and the use of an otherwise wasted resource.
· It is better than standard incineration
When compared to the wasteful incineration procedures of the past, waste-to-energy is frequently marketed as "clean energy."
In this way, it reduces the quantity of waste burned while still using energy that would otherwise be wasted. However, this argument only applies if incineration is the only choice, and the majority of responsible waste management strategies are currently focusing on less harmful, more circular solutions that have a smaller impact on climate change.
· It helps in avoiding using landfills
When it comes to waste disposal, landfills are the last choice that comes with a number of drawbacks, including the release of greenhouse gases, the need for substantial amounts of land, the possibility of contaminants seeping into the ground and groundwater, and more.
· It helps in the recovery of resources
Post-incineration resource recovery, including rich materials like metals, is another advantage of waste-to-energy versus landfilling. They can then be recycled and used to support the economy.
Even mixed materials, which are notoriously challenging to recycle, fall under this category. In comparison to landfills, where recyclable goods are merely buried, incineration burns away things like plastics, while leaving the metals behind.
Cons of waste-to-energy
Waste-to-energy has many drawbacks, many of which have surfaced in recent years. Its negative effects include the pollution and particulates it produces, the destruction of good materials, and the possibility that it will disincentivize the use of renewable energy, and more environmentally friendly waste management techniques.
· It results in the elevated CO2 emissions
One of the most prominent greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide is released when waste is burned for WTE, making up nearly all of the carbon content in the waste. Having said that, if the waste fuel is biomass, or of natural origin, such as food waste, paper and paperboard, wood, or natural fabrics like cotton, then the CO2 it contains is first taken from the atmosphere.
· There is a possibility of destroying salvageable materials
Waste to energy offers the chance to recover some resources, such as metals, but it typically destroys a lot more. The process has the potential to deplete resources like minerals, timber, polymers, and other materials that could have been recovered. This is especially true if municipal solid waste is not strictly separated before being burned.
How can we assist?
Netsol Water provides both the solutions for treating solid waste, and advice on how to make your waste more ecologically friendly. Speak to one of our consultants today, to find out more about waste management strategies and how your company can go green.