Advantages of an Incinerator

Written by kimberly turtenwald
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Advantages of an Incinerator
Incinerators can be used to help generate heat or electricity. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Some areas use incinerators as a method of waste disposal. Waste products are fed into the incinerator where they are burnt and thus destroyed. While using an incinerator to get rid of waste can be expensive to build and operate, it also offers advantages to the environment and the people who live in the area.

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Waste Reduction

If cities transport their waste directly to landfills, the landfill becomes full quickly because of the build up of the waste. When waste is fed into an incinerator instead, it is reduced to ashes, which takes up less space. The ashes can then be placed into the landfill instead of the straight waste. Ashes take up only about 10 per cent of the room the waste would have. In addition, the landfill does not smell as badly as it would if waste was present.

Energy

Incinerators cost money and manpower to run because someone must maintain the fire that burns. However, a city can harness the energy obtained by burning the waste and transforming it into heat or electricity that can be used by residents. Heat or electricity produced by an incinerator contributes to the city's energy grid and reduces the amount of power that the local power plant must produce. The energy savings can make up for the cost of building and operating an incinerator.

Metal Recycling

When waste burns in an incinerator, any metal remains intact. After the fire has burnt out, the operator removes the metal and recycles it. This eliminates the need to separate out any metal before disposing of the waste. If the waste goes straight to a landfill, it may not be sorted, which can result in metal and other items that do not break down ending up in the landfill. Using the incinerator makes it easier to find the metal and reuse it.

Transportation Costs

It costs money to transport waste from the city to the landfills. Trucks load up the waste and drive it out to dump into the landfill. This requires paying someone to drive the truck, fuel expenses and other maintenance costs for the truck. However, incinerators are usually located much closer to the source of the waste, reducing or eliminating the cost of transporting the waste. In some cases, incinerators can be added to factories and apartments so waste does not need to be taken anywhere.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction

When waste sits in a landfill and decomposes, it emits methane gases that contaminate the environment. If the waste is incinerated instead, the ashes do not emit the methane gases. This reduces the pollution that plays a role in the greenhouse effect. The methane gas may be just a small part of the problem, but eliminating every little bit helps. In addition, because the incinerator can be used to create usable energy, it reduces the fossil fuel emissions, which also helps slow down the greenhouse effect.

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