69 Individuals and 136 Organizations Call on Leaders To Stop Illegal U.S. Export of Waste to Africa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 22 JUNE, 2022

Civil society organizations, including the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and Break Free from Plastic, are calling on leaders in the U.S. and Africa to stop waste colonialism—the illegal importing of waste from countries in the Global North to African nations already impacted by the waste and climate crises. 

Their demand letter was first introduced at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention in Geneva, Switzerland, the first of a series of negotiations following the March adoption at UNEA-5 of a global, legally-binding treaty addressing the full lifecycle of plastics.

The U.S. is one of only three countries that have not ratified the Basel Convention, which prohibits the export of hazardous waste from OECD countries (primarily wealthier nations) to non-OECD countries (primarily low-income countries in the Global South). Recent research from the Basel Action Network found that U.S. ports exported 150 tons of PVC waste to Nigeria in 2021, in violation of the Convention. Many of the exporting ports are located in environmental justice communities, which like their counterparts in Africa are impacted by the waste and climate crises. 

“Whatever waste is not burned in our communities is being illegally sent to relatives and grassroots partners in the global South,” says Chris Tandazo, Community Connections Program Coordinator at New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance. “Fighting for waste justice here would mean waste justice for communities in the Global South. We cannot allow the white supremacist colonial practice of dumping waste in low-income and communities of color to continue. We will continue to organize against polluting industries at home, and globally.”

Rather than stopping plastic pollution at its source, waste colonialism encourages waste management approaches that create severe health implications for workers, communities and the environment by generating significant amounts of greenhouse gases, toxic air pollutants, highly toxic ash, and other potentially hazardous residues. This includes waste incineration, chemical “recycling”, plastic-to-fuel or plastic-to-chemical processes, pyrolysis, and gasification.

“Colonialism is alive and fully functioning in the ways that waste, toxicants, and end-of-life products produced by and for overdeveloped societies move to Indigenous lands,” says Dr. Max Liboiron, director of the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) at Memorial University, Canada. “Without access to other people’s lands and waters, the economic systems of overdeveloped countries simply don’t work. This assumed access to other’s lands and waters is colonialism.”

“Nigeria is already overwhelmed with plastic waste—we barely have enough facilities to recycle internally generated plastics in Nigeria,” says Weyinmi Okotie, Intervention Officer of Green Knowledge Foundation (GKF) Nigeria. “I’m urging the Federal Government of Nigeria to sign the Bamako convention on toxic waste, as it will be an effective legal tool in stemming the importation of toxic wastes into Africa.”  

“Ensuring that countries manage their own waste is the best way to prevent global environmental injustice. It is also essential for countries to truly come to terms with their waste footprint rather than shipping it off in containers. Once countries fully realize the absurdity of wasting precious materials and resources, harming the planet, our climate, and human health in the process, they become ready to shift to local zero waste economies centered around reuse, repair and composting of bio-waste,” says Sirine Rached, Global Plastics Policy Coordinator for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). 

Media Contact:

Zoë Beery, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternative
zoe@no-burn.org

For more information, see no-burn.org/stopwastecolonialism. 

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Contact

Claire Arkin, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), claire@no-burn.org 

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GAIA US Canada’s Community Tools for Anti-Incineration Organizing resource is designed to support community organizers and advocates in both new and existing incineration campaigns. The toolkit is informed by the experiences of GAIA members around the world who have mobilized their own communities and allies to fight for a world without waste-burning. 

 

It includes detailed information on: 

  • The history of incineration and its ongoing environmental, health, and safety impacts
  • How to find out crucial information about your incinerator, including how it works and who controls its continued operation 
  • Strategies and timelines for organizing your community to shut down your incinerator and guide a just transition for workers and residents
  • Case studies of two communities fighting incineration and landfilling, which can provide blueprints for your own campaign 

 

About the Report

For decades, U.S. cities have collected mixed plastic in recycling programs in an unsuccessful attempt to solve the plastic waste crisis. Analyzing the municipal solid waste (MSW) streams of five U.S. cities, this new report sheds light on the different ways legitimate recycling efforts are undermined, and how the simplest and most ethical solution to our plastic problem is to remove all non-recyclable plastic from the system. A key finding of the study is that 64% of plastic in these cities’ MSW streams cannot be recycled. It’s time for policy and regulations to prioritize reduction and reuse over recycling, and to rethink public programs and budgets for healthier outcomes.

 

In five major U.S. cities, 64% of plastic collected is NOT recyclable.

Key Takeaways

Lack of data transparency obstructs solutions. Good data leads to good policy. Data on municipal waste flows is absent, old and difficult to find. This allows the plastic industry to exploit loopholes and push self-serving narratives, and creates challenges for cities and communities that want to shift to true zero waste systems.

Most plastic is designed to be dumped or burned, harming communities. Cities can reduce pollution by banning non-recyclable plastic. Only 8.8% of all plastic in the waste stream in the five cities is actually recycled. The remainder is incinerated, landfilled or could supply plastic-for-fuel or chemical recycling facilities, all of which are harmful to our health and environment.

Recycling rates are low because most plastic produced is not recyclable. Companies, not cities, should pay. 64.3% of all plastic in the waste stream in the five cities is not recyclable through municipal recycling or state redemption programs, and yet communities are paying for it with their health and their pocketbooks. 

 

 

People (understandably) don’t know what’s actually recyclable. Cities should prioritize collecting only plastic that can be recycled. In the five cities, only 24% of potentially recyclable plastic (#1, #2, #5) gets recycled; 76% gets incinerated or landfilled. Conversely, 12%-55% of all plastic that ended up in single-stream recycling programs was not recyclable.

While plastic recycling must be improved, it has its limits. Plastic reduction and zero waste systems must be prioritized.  Zero waste infrastructure like reuse, refill, and repair provides up to 200x as many jobs as disposal, furthers environmental justice, and improves sustainability.

The Project

Across the United States, waste incinerators have plagued communities for decades with harmful air emissions, accidents, and other health and safety-related concerns. As their contracts with these aging incinerators expire in the next few years, cities have a choice to make: they can choose to bind themselves to a new generation of incinerators that will cost millions and continue to pollute our most vulnerable communities, or they can make a just transition to a sustainable system that improves public health and saves money. Communities most impacted by these facilities are taking the lead to create livable communities that manage waste effectively for the health of generations to come.

 

The Campaigns

“Recycling is part of a zero waste future, but it isn’t the solution to the plastic crisis we find ourselves in.”
Whitney Amaya, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice
“Because of a lack of data collection, communities are not fully aware of how serious this problem is.”
Natalia Figueredo, Ironbound Community Corporation
“We have been sold the myth that recycling is the solution to plastics and the waste that it produces.”
Akira Yano, Minnesota Environmental & Climate Justice Table
“The life cycle of plastic is harming communities all along the way; from extraction, to refinery, to single-use litter, to incineration.”
KT Andresky, Breathe Free Detroit
This is the default image

Baltimore, MD

Over 65% of the plastic collected through the single-stream program in Baltimore is trash, and likely ends up in the incinerator, threatening the health of the surrounding community. South Baltimore Community Land Trust (SBCLT) is working to change neighborhoods from dumping grounds surrounded by polluting industries to healthy zero waste communities. As a result of SBCLT’s work, in collaboration with other local organizations and institutions, the Baltimore City Council unanimously adopted the Fair Development Plan for Zero Waste.

 

Image by South Baltimore Community Land Trust

Detroit, MI

After decades of community activism, the Detroit Renewable Power Incinerator announced the facility’s immediate closure. Now that an end has been put to municipal waste incineration in Detroit, Breathe Free Detroit in collaboration with grassroots groups is working to build new zero waste systems for the city. One major hurdle is that only 1.3% of plastic collected in single-stream is recyclable, and residents have to foot the bill for the resulting waste.

 

Image by Breathe Free Detroit

Long Beach, CA

East Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles, and Long Beach have been plagued with two of the three incinerators in California, as well as several oil and plastic production facilities. East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ) is a community-based environmental health and justice organization that has succeeded in shutting down one incinerator, and is advocating for a zero waste plan that will eliminate single-use plastic and build a network of reuse, refill, and repair shops across the city and a transition away from fossil fuel extraction, refining, and distribution.

 

Image by East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice

Minneapolis, MN

Of all of the cities in the study, Minneapolis has the most effective municipal recycling program, due to strong citizen advocates and the work of mission-based recycler Eureka Recycling to highlight the importance of recycling with the goal of waste reduction. Nevertheless, a lot of non-recyclable plastic is still sent to the incinerator, located near where the majority of Minneapolis’ Black population lives, which has the highest asthma rate in the state. The Minnesota Environmental & Climate Justice Table is working to show the county that Minneapolis doesn’t have to choose between burning and dumping its trash because zero waste is possible, feasible, and affordable. 

 

Image by Grounding Minnesota

Newark, NJ

In Newark, the Essex County Resource Recovery incinerator burns about 2.8 tons of waste per day.  It emits more lead into the air than any other U.S. incinerator, in addition to dozens of other toxic chemicals. At least 89.2% of plastic collected is incinerated. The Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) has been fighting incineration and all other major sources of pollution for more than forty years. Last year,  ICC succeeded in passing an environmental justice bill for New Jersey designed to prevent the siting of new industrial facilities or the expansion of current facilities in communities like Newark that are already overburdened with pollution.

 

Image by Ironbound Community Corporation

Minnesota Environmental Justice Table

We caught up with GAIA US member, Akira Yano, Community Organizer with the Minnesota Environmental Justice Table. Learn more about the transformative work they’re doing in the state to transition away from waste incineration and towards a zero waste future! 

What are your main ongoing campaigns (please describe)?

The main campaign that the MN Environmental Justice Table is working on is around the issue of incinerators in Minnesota and building more infrastructure around zero waste. The primary incinerator that we are working to shut down right now is the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center in Downtown Minneapolis, which is the #1 point-source producer of toxic air emissions in Minneapolis. These emissions have been attacking the health of North Minneapolis residents, who are predominantly BIPOC and/or low-income, for decades. The HERC relies upon a consistent stream of waste to exist; without that stream, its purpose becomes obsolete. Our campaign demands that the county replace incineration waste management infrastructure with zero waste through community-based action.

What challenges are you facing?

One of the largest challenges that we are facing is Hennepin County’s defensive response to community critique about the HERC. We constantly find ourselves having to push back against false narratives from the county claiming that HERC is a viable source of renewable energy, that it’s a beneficial “waste-to-energy” facility, and that we are simply misinformed about the reality of its impacts because we don’t fall under their narrow definition of “experts.”  This came to a head when Hennepin County was finalizing their climate action plan, which included incineration within the definition of renewable energy, but was then altered to not include the HERC specifically after the MN Environmental Justice Table and other organizations intervened.

How do you see your organization’s work evolving in the next few years?

I see our organization building capacity and creating a nourishing, exciting, and communal space for people (especially BIPOC folks) to learn about, and take action on environmental justice. I see our organization building capacity through community outreach and hiring more people to work full-time on future campaigns. As it currently stands, the incinerator and Zero Waste campaign is the sole campaign coming out of the Minnesota Environmental Justice Table, but i know that as it grows, so will our ability to support community members in addressing a myriad of other environmental injustices as well.

What are your thoughts on the waste crisis that we are living right now?

I think that the current waste crisis is immense, unnecessary, and solvable. It’s the result of unfettered racial capitalism which has prioritized cheap, unsustainable production over viable strategies for harmonious relationships with the Earth and people. We have been fed the lie that the main reason that we are in this crisis is because people overall are wasteful and that if we just recycled or composted enough, that we wouldn’t be in this crisis. This perspective diverts the responsibility for the vast majority of unsustainable waste away from the producer of these environmentally-unfriendly products and puts it on the consumers instead. 

Yes, people need to learn how to reduce their waste, re-use what they have, and recycle what they’re not using, but what would make that task significantly easier is if products were created with that in mind in the first place. Instead, they’re created with the mindset of “how can we do this in the way that will make us the most money?” I know that it’s possible to solve this waste because if this last year has taught me anything, it’s that systems which we are told are concrete, can change whenever those in power feel like changing them. Just as easily as this country can push immense amounts of funding into research for a vaccine, it can invest a similar degree of resources into addressing this waste issue.

How does your work relate to social justice? 

The existence of our work is due to social injustice. Fossil fuels have become the bedrock of economic growth and the basis of most social infrastructure. Some of the most horrific acts in US history were done in the name of economic growth. Things such as slavery, the attempted genocide of Native Americans, and countless wars all have roots in white supremacy and capitalism’s thirst for growth and profit. The latest manifestation of these crimes is a web of systems built upon fossil fuel infrastructure designed to benefit privileged classes and ensure that they don’t bear the consequences of fossil fuel extraction first. This can be seen in the U.S. response to the Line 3 pipeline or any pipeline before then, the Flint water crisis, or how Hennepin County has placed a trash incinerator near one of the largest Black communities in the state. Our work relates to social justice because the goal of safe and healthy communities necessitates the dismantling of all systems of oppression, not just those explicitly related to climate.

How has your work been impacted by the COVID crisis?

Like many others, the COVID crisis has forced a vast majority of our work to be done remotely, which has made it harder to do direct outreach with community members. Events which previously were great opportunities to build connections with others have become near non-existent and replaced with Zoom calls. In addition to creating barriers for us to interact with our community, COVID has also created another immediate crisis that requires everybody’s attention to navigate, adding on to the long list of issues that those with less privilege have to deal with on a daily basis. This means that less people have the capacity to organize around environmental issues because they’re understandably more concerned with things like making sure food is on the table, they have a roof over their head, and they don’t have to go to the hospital.

How do you envision a just and equitable recovery from COVID-19, and how can your organization’s work be part of the solution?

This is a difficult question that I feel like we are still trying to figure out the answer to as the COVID crisis has evolved over time. One of the main things that would contribute greatly to a just and equitable recovery from COVID-19 is universal healthcare to ensure that no matter who gets sick, they would be able to receive the necessary care without the debilitating financial burden. Another main thing would be access to the vaccine, and outreach programs that are geared towards addressing people’s fears fueled by misinformation. Another important aspect is  concentrated efforts to acknowledge the racist and classist history of US healthcare and take proper steps to ensure 

that the same travesties are not replicated. The biggest way that I see the MN Environmental Justice Table contributing to that solution is by ensuring that people have options for how they would like to engage with us and the work, whether that is in-person or virtually.

What is your favorite quote?

Our ancestors, our antennas
Reaching for a place
Somewhere outta space
Or just somewhere
Now I’m running circles in my labyrinth
Many just avoid the pain, I had to decongest it

Fools just manifest it – Erick the Architect

Who we are

Founded in 1969, Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) is based in and named after the Ironbound community of Newark, New Jersey. ICC’s mission is to engage and empower individuals, families, and groups in realizing their aspirations and, together, work to create a just, vibrant, and sustainable community. ICC upholds and builds upon the principles of “Justice and Equality for All.” We strive to practice and build equity, work towards a just JTransition, and organize community on the basis of the Jemez Principles. We envision a safe, healthy, just, and nurturing Ironbound community; a welcoming and fully inclusive community that supports equal and accessible opportunity for a better life. For us, revitalization means uplifting both people and place. We are leadingthe transformation of Ironbound into a neighborhood where anyone might choose to live, and current residents can remain in their homes and community without fear of being displaced.

The Fight to Close the Essex County Incinerator

Ironbound has been fighting incineration and all other major sources of pollution in our community and state for over forty years. In addition to New Jersey’s largest garbage incinerator, Ironbound is home to one of the country’s most contaminated land sites — a former Agent Orange dioxin factory — and has both active and abandoned industrial facilities, nearby flight paths, and active truck routes. In the 1980s, members of ICC stopped 13 proposed incinerators from being built, but lost their 1990 campaign against an incinerator in their backyard, the Essex County Resource Recovery incinerator. Owned and operated by behemoth incinerator company Covanta, it is the largest garbage incinerator in the state , burning about 2.8 tons of waste per day and emitting more lead into the air than any other U.S. incinerator. 

ICC is working to pass an environmental justice bill for New Jersey designed to prevent  the siting of new industrial facilities or the expansion of current facilities in communities already overburdened with pollution. We are also working to develop a zero waste action plan so that our community can advance alternatives to burning waste.

The Basics 

Incinerator:  Wheelabrator Baltimore

Incinerator:  Essex County Resource Recovery Facility

Location: 187 Raymond Boulevard, Newark, NJ

Pounds of pollutants (annually): total HAPs 38,076.96 (2017)

Mercury: 29.06 (2017)

PM2.5: 54,520.90 (2017)

Lead: 247.16 (2017)

NOx: 2,202,482.00 (2017)

Community: 71% minority, 37% below poverty line

Critical Date: (Permit expiration date): not available

The Fight to Close the Essex County Incinerator

Ironbound has been fighting incineration and all other major sources of pollution in our community and state for over forty years. In addition to New Jersey’s largest garbage incinerator, Ironbound is home to one of the country’s most contaminated land sites — a former Agent Orange dioxin factory — and has both active and abandoned industrial facilities, nearby flight paths, and active truck routes. In the 1980s, members of ICC stopped 13 proposed incinerators from being built, but lost their 1990 campaign against an incinerator in their backyard, the Essex County Resource Recovery incinerator. Owned and operated by behemoth incinerator company Covanta, it is the largest garbage incinerator in the state , burning about 2.8 tons of waste per day and emitting more lead into the air than any other U.S. incinerator. 

ICC is working to pass an environmental justice bill for New Jersey designed to prevent  the siting of new industrial facilities or the expansion of current facilities in communities already overburdened with pollution. We are also working to develop a zero waste action plan so that our community can advance alternatives to burning waste.

Fair Development Plan for Zero Waste

In addition to advocating for the closure of BRESCO, we are pushing the City of Baltimore to replace polluting waste infrastructure with just, equitable, and safe zero waste infrastructure. Working in collaboration with United Workers, other local organizations and institutions, and Zero Waste USA, we developed the Fair Development Plan for Zero Waste. This tool is a first step in transitioning the city to zero waste and reversing the health and economic disparities that have plagued our communities for generations. By implementing the plan, our city will legitimize and reinforce community power through land ownership, financial resources, jobs, and democratic governance. Thanks to the efforts of our community members, organizers, and allies, the Baltimore City Council unanimously adopted the Fair Development Plan for Zero Waste on April, 6th, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and pledged $16 million towards its implementation.  Currently SBCLT is working to ensure that the Department of Public Works actually allots the promised funding to create zero waste infrastructure, carries out zero waste education, and promotes zero waste businesses.

The Fight to Close BRESCO

The Wheelabrator Baltimore trash incinerator – formerly known as BRESCO – has been the city’s largest source of air pollutants, and similar developments in South Baltimore continue to pose serious public health risks.   Our community members are the most affected: they have higher rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses and die an average of 15 years earlier than those in wealthier, white Baltimore communities located a few miles away. Our city-wide campaign for a just transition to zero waste sees the closure of BRESCO as the first step in reversing these injustices. Although the outgoing mayor renewed BRESCO’s contract in November 2020,  our “Starve the Beast” campaign is addressing this setback by pushing for an early closure of the incinerator and shifting the city and every major contributing institution towards zero waste.

What you Can Do

Learn More and Join the Fight!

Contact: Mysbclt@gmail.com

Follow on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook- Twitter: @baltimoresouth FB:South Baltimore Community Land Trust IG: southbaltimoreclt

The Basics 

Incinerator:  Wheelabrator Baltimore

Incinerator:  Essex County Resource Recovery Facility

Location: 187 Raymond Boulevard, Newark, NJ

Pounds of pollutants (annually): total HAPs 38,076.96 (2017)

Mercury: 29.06 (2017)

PM2.5: 54,520.90 (2017)

Lead: 247.16 (2017)

NOx: 2,202,482.00 (2017)

Community: 71% minority, 37% below poverty line

Critical Date: (Permit expiration date): not available

The organizer

Shashawanda Campbell grew up in Baltimore City and leads SBCLT’s campaign to close the BRESCO incinerator. Previously, she co-founded Free Your Voice, a student-led group that ran a successful campaign to stop what would have been the nation’s largest incinerator from being built less than a mile away from her high school.  Shashawanda sees her role as an organizer as a way to challenge and restructure the current system that picks and chooses who deserves to have dignity, opportunities, and rights. She continues to work with Baltimore residents to shut down the BRESCO incinerator, develop city-wide recycling/composting programs with free bins, and create infrastructure to manage these resources once collected.

In the news

Black History Month Voices: Shashawnda Campbell | Commentary

During February, Maryland residents are commemorating Black History Month by studying and celebrating the past. Meanwhile, what’s being called theracial reckoning of 2020 is barely in the rearview mirror. Those recent events — Black people killed by police and marches demanding systemic change — are prompting some Baltimore residents to explore what needs to be done to ensure there is substantial progress toward achieving racial justice and equity.

Published by the Baltimore Sun

Baltimore is burning trash, so we’re starving the fire – video

Residents in South Baltimore are fighting to ‘starve’ their nearby Bresco incinerator due to health concerns over the amount of pollution it creates. Of the 72 remaining facilities in the US, the vast majority are located in predominantly low-income or minority communities, raising concerns about compounding pollutants in already overburdened neighborhoods.

Published by The Guardian

Meet 30 Women Who Are Shaping Baltimore’s Future

“There are so many amazing women in Baltimore who are doing great things and working together for a cause,” says our cover model, Black Girls Vote founder and CEO Nykidra “Nyki” Robinson. Baltimore has always been a town that honors and elevates women. They are our politicians and business leaders, our artists and activists. The 30 emerging leaders featured in this story are simply following in that long, great tradition.

Published by Baltimore Magazine

Baltimore’s Community Land Trusts Offer a Pathway to Housing Justice

After years of grassroots activism, the city has found success in addressing historical housing discrimination through community land trusts.

Published by Yes Magazine

The Fight to Close the Essex County Incinerator

Ironbound has been fighting incineration and all other major sources of pollution in our community and state for over forty years. In addition to New Jersey’s largest garbage incinerator, Ironbound is home to one of the country’s most contaminated land sites — a former Agent Orange dioxin factory — and has both active and abandoned industrial facilities, nearby flight paths, and active truck routes. In the 1980s, members of ICC stopped 13 proposed incinerators from being built, but lost their 1990 campaign against an incinerator in their backyard, the Essex County Resource Recovery incinerator. Owned and operated by behemoth incinerator company Covanta, it is the largest garbage incinerator in the state , burning about 2.8 tons of waste per day and emitting more lead into the air than any other U.S. incinerator. 

ICC is working to pass an environmental justice bill for New Jersey designed to prevent  the siting of new industrial facilities or the expansion of current facilities in communities already overburdened with pollution. We are also working to develop a zero waste action plan so that our community can advance alternatives to burning waste.

The Fight to Close SERFF

Two out of the three incinerators in California were built in our communities. After decades of residents advocating for the closure of the incinerator in Commerce, the facility closed its doors in June 2018, citing financial reasons. Prior to its shutdown, EYCEJ, Valley Improvement Project, GAIA, and other groups organized to defeat legislation that would have provided the incinerators with much-needed subsidies in the form of renewable energy credits, despite incineration being a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, the Long Beach incinerator, SERRF, is co-owned by the City of Long Beach and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, and operated by Covanta. As in the case with the Commerce incinerator, EYCEJ community members see the impacts of the incinerator on their health, their quality of life, and how long they live. We are calling on the City of Long Beach to shut down the incinerator and facilitate a Just Transition to Zero Waste.

What you Can do

 

Learn More and Join the Fight: www.eycej.org

Contact: info@eycej.org

Follow on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook: @EYCEJ

The Basics 

Incinerator:  Wheelabrator Baltimore

Incinerator:  Essex County Resource Recovery Facility

Location: 187 Raymond Boulevard, Newark, NJ

Pounds of pollutants (annually): total HAPs 38,076.96 (2017)

Mercury: 29.06 (2017)

PM2.5: 54,520.90 (2017)

Lead: 247.16 (2017)

NOx: 2,202,482.00 (2017)

Community: 71% minority, 37% below poverty line

Critical Date: (Permit expiration date): not available

The organizer

Shashawanda Campbell grew up in Baltimore City and leads SBCLT’s campaign to close the BRESCO incinerator. Previously, she co-founded Free Your Voice, a student-led group that ran a successful campaign to stop what would have been the nation’s largest incinerator from being built less than a mile away from her high school.  Shashawanda sees her role as an organizer as a way to challenge and restructure the current system that picks and chooses who deserves to have dignity, opportunities, and rights. She continues to work with Baltimore residents to shut down the BRESCO incinerator, develop city-wide recycling/composting programs with free bins, and create infrastructure to manage these resources once collected.

The Fight to Close the Essex County Incinerator

Ironbound has been fighting incineration and all other major sources of pollution in our community and state for over forty years. In addition to New Jersey’s largest garbage incinerator, Ironbound is home to one of the country’s most contaminated land sites — a former Agent Orange dioxin factory — and has both active and abandoned industrial facilities, nearby flight paths, and active truck routes. In the 1980s, members of ICC stopped 13 proposed incinerators from being built, but lost their 1990 campaign against an incinerator in their backyard, the Essex County Resource Recovery incinerator. Owned and operated by behemoth incinerator company Covanta, it is the largest garbage incinerator in the state , burning about 2.8 tons of waste per day and emitting more lead into the air than any other U.S. incinerator. 

ICC is working to pass an environmental justice bill for New Jersey designed to prevent  the siting of new industrial facilities or the expansion of current facilities in communities already overburdened with pollution. We are also working to develop a zero waste action plan so that our community can advance alternatives to burning waste.

The Fight to Close SERFF

Two out of the three incinerators in California were built in our communities. After decades of residents advocating for the closure of the incinerator in Commerce, the facility closed its doors in June 2018, citing financial reasons. Prior to its shutdown, EYCEJ, Valley Improvement Project, GAIA, and other groups organized to defeat legislation that would have provided the incinerators with much-needed subsidies in the form of renewable energy credits, despite incineration being a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, the Long Beach incinerator, SERRF, is co-owned by the City of Long Beach and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, and operated by Covanta. As in the case with the Commerce incinerator, EYCEJ community members see the impacts of the incinerator on their health, their quality of life, and how long they live. We are calling on the City of Long Beach to shut down the incinerator and facilitate a Just Transition to Zero Waste.

What you Can do

 

Learn More and Join the Fight: www.eycej.org

Contact: info@eycej.org

Follow on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook: @EYCEJ

The Basics 

Incinerator:  Wheelabrator Baltimore

Incinerator:  Essex County Resource Recovery Facility

Location: 187 Raymond Boulevard, Newark, NJ

Pounds of pollutants (annually): total HAPs 38,076.96 (2017)

Mercury: 29.06 (2017)

PM2.5: 54,520.90 (2017)

Lead: 247.16 (2017)

NOx: 2,202,482.00 (2017)

Community: 71% minority, 37% below poverty line

Critical Date: (Permit expiration date): not available

The organizer

Shashawanda Campbell grew up in Baltimore City and leads SBCLT’s campaign to close the BRESCO incinerator. Previously, she co-founded Free Your Voice, a student-led group that ran a successful campaign to stop what would have been the nation’s largest incinerator from being built less than a mile away from her high school.  Shashawanda sees her role as an organizer as a way to challenge and restructure the current system that picks and chooses who deserves to have dignity, opportunities, and rights. She continues to work with Baltimore residents to shut down the BRESCO incinerator, develop city-wide recycling/composting programs with free bins, and create infrastructure to manage these resources once collected.

 

Krystle D’Alencar works as an Environmental Justice Organizer with the MN EJ Table, focusing on solid waste alternatives to incineration and landfills. They are currently getting their master’s in computer engineering and urban planning to apply innovation and tech to sustainable development, and investigate the relationship between waste and racial justice. Krystle grew up in Boston but has lived in the Twin Cities for almost a decade, developing strong ties to their greater community and joining movements against police brutality, housing injustice, and other forms of systemic racism. They see closing HERC as a step toward reclaiming the fundamental right to good health, and ending an inequitable waste system that is tightly intertwined with all other injustices against marginalized people. 

In the news

Assessing the Hennepin County Climate Action Plan

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Published by the MinnPost

Environmental Justice Advocates Push for Zero Waste After New Report Highlights Shortcomings in Plastics Recycling

Most plastic waste in Minneapolis is not recycled, a new report has found, but instead is burned at a downtown incinerator adjacent to low-income communities of color, perpetuating a system in which vulnerable groups are exposed to high levels of pollution.

Published by Sahan Journal

The Fight to Close the Essex County Incinerator

Ironbound has been fighting incineration and all other major sources of pollution in our community and state for over forty years. In addition to New Jersey’s largest garbage incinerator, Ironbound is home to one of the country’s most contaminated land sites — a former Agent Orange dioxin factory — and has both active and abandoned industrial facilities, nearby flight paths, and active truck routes. In the 1980s, members of ICC stopped 13 proposed incinerators from being built, but lost their 1990 campaign against an incinerator in their backyard, the Essex County Resource Recovery incinerator. Owned and operated by behemoth incinerator company Covanta, it is the largest garbage incinerator in the state , burning about 2.8 tons of waste per day and emitting more lead into the air than any other U.S. incinerator. 

ICC is working to pass an environmental justice bill for New Jersey designed to prevent  the siting of new industrial facilities or the expansion of current facilities in communities already overburdened with pollution. We are also working to develop a zero waste action plan so that our community can advance alternatives to burning waste.

The Fight to Close SERFF

Two out of the three incinerators in California were built in our communities. After decades of residents advocating for the closure of the incinerator in Commerce, the facility closed its doors in June 2018, citing financial reasons. Prior to its shutdown, EYCEJ, Valley Improvement Project, GAIA, and other groups organized to defeat legislation that would have provided the incinerators with much-needed subsidies in the form of renewable energy credits, despite incineration being a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, the Long Beach incinerator, SERRF, is co-owned by the City of Long Beach and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, and operated by Covanta. As in the case with the Commerce incinerator, EYCEJ community members see the impacts of the incinerator on their health, their quality of life, and how long they live. We are calling on the City of Long Beach to shut down the incinerator and facilitate a Just Transition to Zero Waste.

What you Can do

 

Learn More and Join the Fight: www.eycej.org

Contact: info@eycej.org

Follow on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook: @EYCEJ

The Basics 

Incinerator:  Wheelabrator Baltimore

Incinerator:  Essex County Resource Recovery Facility

Location: 187 Raymond Boulevard, Newark, NJ

Pounds of pollutants (annually): total HAPs 38,076.96 (2017)

Mercury: 29.06 (2017)

PM2.5: 54,520.90 (2017)

Lead: 247.16 (2017)

NOx: 2,202,482.00 (2017)

Community: 71% minority, 37% below poverty line

Critical Date: (Permit expiration date): not available

The organizer

Shashawanda Campbell grew up in Baltimore City and leads SBCLT’s campaign to close the BRESCO incinerator. Previously, she co-founded Free Your Voice, a student-led group that ran a successful campaign to stop what would have been the nation’s largest incinerator from being built less than a mile away from her high school.  Shashawanda sees her role as an organizer as a way to challenge and restructure the current system that picks and chooses who deserves to have dignity, opportunities, and rights. She continues to work with Baltimore residents to shut down the BRESCO incinerator, develop city-wide recycling/composting programs with free bins, and create infrastructure to manage these resources once collected.

In the news

Oregon PSR 40th Anniversary Celebration & Fundraiser

Oregon PSR celebrated its 40th year of work for a more healthy, peaceful, and just world in 2021. “We began from the powerful vision of our founders who sat on Dr. Karen Steingart’s living room floor and strategized about how a health message could help prevent nuclear war. Over the next forty years, our members, volunteers, and donors contributed their passion and leadership to the organization, bringing a broad public health frame to issues such as environmental justice, gun violence, and climate health, learning and growing along the way.”

Explore Oregon PSR’s Interactive Timeline

Explore this interactive timeline to learn about some of the highlights of Oregon PSR’s 40 years of work for peace, health, and justice.