The pros and cons of waste to energy — a disposal strategy that’s making a comeback.
Municipalities across Canada are enticed by the prospect of what seems to be an elegant solution to their waste disposal problem. Once termed “incineration” or “energy from waste,” today the politically correct terminology is “waste to energy” (WTE) or “thermal treatment.” After falling out of favor for decades, it’s being hailed by many as the optimal solution for our growing waste disposal problem, and a looming energy crisis. In some circles, proponents even suggest that thermally treating waste for energy helps mitigate climate change. York Region (north of Toronto) has announced the short list of preferred sites for a large mass-burn waste incinerator.