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Leftovers to Electricity

virgin-island1With 2 million tourists visiting the Virgin Island every year, it is not surprising that the small island of about 100,000 has a problem with tourist waste.  In fact, they have so much of it that the EPA has fined the territory for the excessive solid waste and is now running out of places to put it 146,000 tons of garbage.

Alpine Energy Group to the rescue.  They plan on building 2 waste-to-energy plants that would essentially burn all the excess municipal solid waste in order to create steam that will create electricity.

The process starts by making the waste into a homogeneous material called “fluff”.  Then the remaining metal scraps are taken out and the fluff is compressed into pellets that are then burned.  The steam produced will then power turbines which will in turn produce electricity.  This seems like a great solution to an overwhelming problem…right?

I hate to be the one that simply points out faults in a plan instead of coming up with something better, but aren’t we just replacing one kind of pollution (trash) into another kind of pollution (air)?  The vast majority of municipal solid waste is either biodegradable or recyclable.  Is this a case of out of sight out of mind?  Is it not possible that the organic matter could be composted and sold and the paper and plastic could be recycled?

Overall, I am glad that they are less dependent on fossil fuels, but this cannot be the best solution to ultimate problem of pollution.  What are your thoughts?

via cleantechnica

image via snorkelingguide.info

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