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In 2013, Americans generated about 254 million

tons of trash and recycled and composed about

87 million tons of this material
(US Environmental Protection Agency, 2016))

By: Vanessa Wingate

Figure 1, this is an image of an animal eating the garbage that we leave

around. (Corinne Henn, 2017)
created from using waste. There are many

or years our universe has reasons why this process is
been trying to come up with controversial. For instance, some people
ways to get waste and trash think that it will cost too much money. On
off of our earth. The waste floats around in the other side, money will not matter
our oceans and in big bodies of water. What because if electricity is made by waste
will we do after there are landfills on

every block? When every street is

covered in garbage? When our nature

and wildlife go extinct due to the

massive amounts of trash on earth?

Scientists have come up with a way to

turn garbage into energy. Therefore, we

will get rid of trash and produce more

Figure 2, this is a picture taken from under the ocean looking up at all
of the garbage. (National Geographic, 2016)
energy, which produces a win-win
electricity will not cost as much money.

History of Converting Waste to


The first traces of turning waste

into energy was in 2000 B.C when the

Figure 3, this is a sea lion being chocked by a PVC pipe. Trash moves to
the water by wind from the landfills and just trash around the earth.
(Maria Muir, 2014) Chinese burned coal to produce heat
situation. Turning waste to energy is the energy. Shortly after this the Greeks started
process where heat energy/electricity is landfills and we now use this method to

dispose of trash ever since. In 1874, Britain officials have advised the public about what

was the first country to produce a waste to landfills and failure to decompose of trash

energy incinerator. They started to combine can cause. In 2002, Florida had 13 waste to

gasification and plasma to create clean gas energy facilities and each facility would

which would not harm our burn a total of 19,178 tons of waste per day,



Figure 4, this is an image of how to incinerators break down the garbage and turn it into energy (Miss
V, 2014)

environment. These gases were used for gas megawatts of electric current. Ever since

engines, fuel cells, and gas then, countries have come up with new

turbines. Landfills became very popular techniques, machines, and methods to

after the 1970s even though they created a convert waste into energy.

lot of pollution in the air due to Currently the US is confused on

chemicals. Because of this, waste to energy whether to turn trash into energy. Since the

United States is a first world country, process to decompose the trash and turn it

garbage doesn't affect us as much as it into garbage uses the same method that

affects third world countries. This is fossil fuels do. These fossil fuels have a lot

because the United States pays third world of air pollutants in them and this causes

countries so that we can export our garbage harm to the environment which makes the

to their county. Then, these third world public oppose these ideas. Recycling and

countries accept

the United States

offer because they

are desperate for

money. This

creates more

pollution of our

earth as a whole.

Viewpoints Figure 5, this is a statistic of how much trash in included in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Zeebran Ariff,

Some of the
decomposing would be more beneficial for
arguments against converting garbage to
the environment rather than using these
make energy is that it would cost a lot of
machines and incinerators. The US
money. The government would have to pay
Environmental Protection Agency
for this to happen or an organization would
(EPA) stated that burning solid waste has
have to start to come up with the money to
higher nitrogen and sulfur dioxide than
be able to function their incinerators. The

natural gas does causing more harm to the countries but it will worsen the third world

environment. countries. If garbage turns into energy that

On the other side, turning garbage to means less trash in the landfills which

energy can be very useful. The landfills we means no more flies and horrible odors. It

use now give off methane and powerful also means that we can preserve land and

heat-trapping greenhouse gases and can lower the greenhouse gasses.

cause other gases to form due to Garbage to Energy IS Beneficial

In my opinion

I think that turning

garbage to energy

will benefit

everyone. People

don't want to because

it costs too much

money. Although, if

Figure 6, this is a landfill in Poland showing all of the trash that is collected (2017).
we spend the

environmental problems such as money to make these incinerators then we

leaching. Humans are consuming a large don't have to pay as much for electricity

amount of food causing garbage to wonder because we can get it from the

everywhere. For example the Great Pacific garbage. Also, it would benefit our

Garbage Patch. Also, first world countries environment because landfills give off a lot

are sending their garbage to third world of greenhouse gasses. It would clean up our

countries. This might help the first world land and seas and prevent the Great Pacific

Garbage Patch from expanding. Some natural food, ingesting toxicants that cause

technologies produce more electric power liver and stomach abnormalities in fish and

from the same amount of fuel from garbage birds, often choking them to death, (Moore,

therefore I 2014). This

believe this means that

would be a good littering not only

change for our makes our

environment. environment

Humans are look horrific, it

consuming also can kill

more and more animals.

food every day Therefore,

and the trash converting waste

from these to energy would

Figure 7, this is an image showing the greenhouse gases that landfills give off.
consumables (The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers, 2016)
benefit the

pollutes our earth. The Great Pacific environment because we wouldn't have so

Garbage patch is an outcome of this. It is much garbage around on land and in the

comprised of litter or marine debris that end water. This is an important change in our

up in water. Charles Moore from the New environment because it will provide the

York Times newspaper states that, We same amount of energy that fuel does except

know that plastic debris entangles and it won't be produced by fuel, the energy will

slowly kills millions of sea creatures; that be produced from the garbage. The trash

hundreds of species mistake plastics for their will be cleaned up from the streets and

oceans and there will not be as many WtE technologies. Also, landfills should be

landfills. kept to a minimum due to their releases of

Some potential solutions and ways to help greenhouse gases that pollute our

turn waste to energy are to make people earth. You can also join an Energy from

aware of the garbage epidemic that our earth Waste organization conference that you can

is facing. They may come on board with the sign up on at rewconference.com.


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LaMonica, M., & 0700, 32 -. (2011, October 21). Waste to energy: Green or greenwash?

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