the-waste-to-energy-mythDozens of start-up companies are trying to build a new generation of toxic incinerators in disguise in communities throughout the world. These are incinerators with names like gasification, pyrolysis, and plasma arc that are promoted by waste companies as “safe and green” for community health and the environment. Many of today’s incinerator companies claim that they can safely, cost-effectively, and sustainably turn any type of material such as household trash, tires, medical waste, forest matter, and hazardous waste into electricity and fuel. Some companies go so far as to claim that their technology is “zero emissions” or “pollution-free” and not, in fact, incineration at all. Based on these unsubstantiated claims, they seek climate or renewable energy subsidies to underwrite their high costs.

Yet despite their impressive claims, these technologies have failed repeatedly in every country where they have been piloted. In addition to being expensive and failing to produce the promised energy, all of these so-called “waste-to-energy” incinerators emit harmful pollutants into the air, soil, and water, and they continue to be defined as incinerators by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the European Union.

GAIA members work to debunk the myth of “waste-to-energy” and to promote real zero waste and clean energy solutions. We want to save climate funding for real solutions, not dirty energy masquerading as renewable.