Conversion of waste to energy falls low in the hierarchy of waste management. It is less preferred in comparison to reduce, reuse and recycle. But in present times it may not always be possible to follow the 3Rs in many cases. Also, what are the options for managing waste after it has already been created and is not recyclable? Conversion of waste to energy is hence a very valid and viable route for managing waste and utilizing its products. Here we look at the various advantages of waste to energy conversion.
- Production and use of energy: Electricity and heat can be generated from waste which provide an alternative and more environment-friendly source of energy
- Reduction of waste going to landfill: Waste that would have normally gone to landfills is diverted to an energy processing unit thereby saving valuable land.
- Avoidance of disposal costs and landfill taxes: The cost associated with the transport of wastes to landfill is reduced and also landfill taxes imposed by governing bodies are avoided.
- Use of by-products as fertilizers: The by-product of some waste to energy processes such as anaerobic digestion can be used as fertilizers and improves the nutrient content of soil.
- Avoid methane emissions from landfills: When waste is delivered to a waste to energy facility, the methane that would have been generated if it were sent to a landfill is avoided
- Reduction in carbon emitted: On generating energy from waste, the carbon emission that would have been generated from a fossil fuel source is avoided.
- Reduction of reliance on fossil fuel: Fluctuations in oil prices and rising costs can be avoided. Waste to energy does not rely on fossil fuel hence the dependence on oil reduced.
- Domestic production of energy: Plenty of waste is generated locally and hence there is no requirement of transportation of materials or this process from far out.
- Benefit to the local community and economy: As waste to energy plants are generally setup locally it creates jobs, the local community benefits and materials are sourced locally.
- Stability in availability of energy and its price: Using of waste to generate electricity can help reduce fluctuations of price. Also, there are no wide fluctuations and shortages in availability.
There might be various other benefits for waste to energy. What other benefits have you seen in using waste as a source of energy?