Friday, August 30, 2013

Zero Waste vs. Waste-to-Energy: European debate heats up

I've written many times in the past about recycling and also waste incineration, but never together. The two are a natural fit, but the topic gets mighty complex mighty fast when you get down to the nitty gritty of making sense of it all, particularly as far as separating hype from fact when it comes to evaluating incineration's impact on recycling, and vice versa. Throw in a discussion of the zero waste movement and its unflattering take on waste incineration -- based both on principle and on logic -- and the issue gets thornier. Mix in a fair consideration of incineration's benefits -- and they certainly exist -- plus a brief discussion of the history of waste-to-energy and a broad overview of solid waste management throughout Europe today, and you get a downright unwieldy story. BUT, thanks for the help of my editor Fen Montaigne at Yale Environment 360, we wielded the unwieldy and wrangled the unwrangle-able (quite the wordsmith, eth?). What we ended up with was, I think, a compelling, clear, balanced, explanatory tale of waste, energy, and sustainability. Read it here.