Thursday, September 9, 2010

What to do with all that garbage?

A typical landfill. Photo courtesy of The Evirosax Blog.

A power plant in Long Beach, CA is setting an example for LA County where they intend to build an additional three more power plants which will turn trash into energy. Nicknamed “biorefineries,” these plants would burn trash to produce heat or use microorganisms which eat through organic matter, emitting powerful methane.

Proponents of biorefineries explain that this would cut down our dependence on non-renewable landfills currently being filled by 33,000 tons of garbage per day in LA County alone. Additionally, it will increase our power production using a renewable source of energy. However, critics suggest that this may add to air pollution and are no different than 1970’s toxic incinerators. Emissions expert of UC Riverside Bill Welch disagrees, explaining that the technology is highly sophisticated and has been effective in reducing waste and producing energy overseas. Other benefits include compost and ash byproducts which could be used for fertilizer and paving roads.

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