Circular enerG LLC is proposing a waste-to-energy incinerator in the town of Romulus as an alternative to landfill disposal. In today’s Up for Debate, we present two opposing views on the problem of solid waste disposal and the Circular enerG proposal.
I must admit it feels like insider sabotage to have a Rochester company propose one of the largest trash incinerators in the United States for tiny Romulus (population 4,345 in 2017) in the heart of the Finger Lakes. The region has spent most of the past decade trying to keep a billion-dollar Texas gas company from industrializing Watkins Glen. Circular enerG is attempting to inundate the Finger Lakes with an endless supply of garbage from outside the region, much of it probably from New York City. Our air, our soil, and our water will suffer the consequences of decades of trash burning if the region allows the construction of this facility. According to this proposal, nearly 3,000 additional tons of New York City trash would be burned in Romulus every day.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that municipal solid waste totaled 262 million tons in 2015, up 26 percent from 1990. Reducing, reusing and recycling are proven methods to cut the amount of municipal solid waste, but a significant quantity is sent to landfills every year. Modern incineration technology can dramatically reduce the amount of municipal solid waste that needs to be landfilled and also generate electrical energy for nearby residents. The charts below show trends in municipal solid waste from 1960 to 2015, as reported by the EPA. The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization reports that food is the largest component of materials sent to landfills and the primary source of landfill gas.
Rochester is not the only city with students born into poverty. As others have shown, great schools emerge only when they operate autonomously and when teachers and school leaders are fully accountable for student performance.