Waste and Injustice
All waste problems are rooted in systems of social, economic, and ecological injustice. Supporting global justice is the very foundation of our work to challenge unjust waste practices and advance sustainable alternatives.
Burning waste has many negative environmental, social and health consequences. From polluting our air, land and water to harming our economies, warming the climate, violating the principles of environmental justice, and fueling an unsustainable system of consumption and wasting, incinerators are simply the worst of all waste management options.
Incinerators in Disguise
Incinerators with names like "gasification," "pyrolysis," "plasma arc," and "waste-to-energy plants" all emit dioxins and other harmful pollutants, despite industry claims that they are "green" technologies.
Waste and Climate
Burning and landfilling waste drives climate change by releasing greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide from incinerators and methane from landfills. Waste disposal also drives climate change by depriving the economy of reused, recycled and composted materials, fueling a linear consumption system that requires the use of more energy and raw materials to create new goods.
Landfills pollute our air, land, and water, and their use fuels an unsustainable linear system of consumption and wasting. As the largest human-created source of methane gas in the world, landfills are also a significant contributor to global climate change.
The incineration of waste burns up resources and results in emissions and residues that are harmful to people's health. Incinerating waste in cement kilns, which are not designed for this nor regulated for it, is a dangerous practice which should not be allowed under any circumstances.
Hospitals generate large volumes of waste that can be highly toxic and infectious, and burning and dumping this waste threatens human and environmental health. In order to fulfill the medical ethic to "first do no harm," the health care industry has a responsibility to manage waste in ways that protect the public and the environment.
Toxic materials are everywhere - from heavy metals in electronics to flame retardants in furniture and clothing, pesticides in our food, and harmful chemicals in plastics. Yet safer alternatives exist, and governments have a responsibility to protect public health by ensuring that all products be made in a way that's safe for humans and the environment.
Our current consumption habits are fueling a global waste crisis. We simply cannot run a one-way, linear system of extraction->production->distribution->consumption->disposal indefinitely on a finite planet. The solution lies in decreasing the amount we consume, and making sure that products are designed to be less toxic, longer-lasting, and easy to recycle.