Energy-from-waste (EFW) is a proven process for the safe disposal of
post-recycled municipal solid waste (MSW) and the generation of clean, renewable energy.
These sophisticated, efficient power plants operate with state-of-the-art air emissions control systems run by qualified and experienced professionals certified by relevant state agencies and provincial authorities.
These modern facilities work very differently from old-fashioned municipal incinerators that burned trash inefficiently, had minimal, if any, air emission control systems, did not recover energy and did not recover metals for recycling.
The waste hierarchies of the US EPA and the European Union identify EFW as the preferred management approach for materials remaining after recycling.
EFW facilities are net reducers of greenhouse gases and help to combat climate change.
EFW facilities significantly contribute to local recycling efforts by recovering thousands of tons of scrap metal from the waste stream that would otherwise be landfilled.
Every ton of waste diverted from a landfill offsets one (1) ton of GHG emissions (CO2 equivalent), while saving the energy equivalent of a barrel of oil or a quarter ton of coal.
Studies of modern EFW operations in the U.S. and Europe have shown them to be environmentally sound, cost-effective, and safe for employees and local residents.
A typical 1,500 tonnes per day (TPD) EfW facility produces enough clean, renewable electricity for 26,000 homes, saving more than 260,000 barrels of oil each year and lessening any reliance on fossil fuel power plants that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when coal or oil are burned.
Modern EFW facilities typically operate in close proximity to commercial business parks, restaurants, marinas, and other activities important to the community. The plants often contribute to increased economic growth.
Trash coming into an EFW facility is handled in an enclosed tipping hall maintained under negative pressure to pull air and dust directly into the boilers and destroy odors, thereby eliminating nuisance conditions. EFW facilities are also designed to enclose all stationary equipment and machinery indoors or within noise shrouds to minimize or eliminate any ambient or transitory sounds.
EFW facilities use municipal solid waste (MSW) as a fuel to generate renewable energy in a similar way that traditional power plants produce electricity by creating steam that drives turbine generators, or a secondsary feedstock to run a reciprocating engine. The US EPA has said that “communities greatly benefit from dependable, sustainable capacity of municipal waste-to-energy plants.”
US EPA models have shown that EFW facilities actually reduce the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere compared to landfilling. The savings are estimated to be about one ton of GHGs saved per ton of MSW combusted.
 USEPA letter from Assistant Administrators Marianne Horinko, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, and Jeffery Holmstead, Office of Air and Radiation to Integrated Waste Services Association, 2/14/03.