Why is incineration in direct opposition with Zero Waste and social and environmental justice? Hear from local and international groups working together for solutions to the pollution created in facilities located in predominantly low-income, people of color communities.
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Why is Incineration Not a Zero Waste Solution?
Incineration – the burning of trash…
- Does not eliminate waste, but transforms it into hazardous air emissions and toxic ash;
- It converts 30% of the waste burned into toxic ash, which EPA allows to be used as daily landfill cover;
- Spreads hazardous contamination worldwide, contaminating air, soil, and water;
- Release carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and toxic chemicals from their smoke stacks into working class communities of color, a source of 210 different dioxin compounds, plus mercury, cadmium, nitrous oxide, hydrogen chloride, sulfuric acid, fluorides, and particulate matter small enough to lodge permanently in the lungs.
Per the internationally recognized definition of Zero Waste, products should be managed in a way that avoids and eliminates toxicity, conserves resources and does not burn nor bury them. It also states that any and all elements there in should work to eliminate toxic discharges to land, water and air. Burning our waste falls short of this equation while negatively effecting front line communities!
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. – New England proverb
Ahmina Maxey has served in leadership at the Transforming Power Fund since its launch in 2019, ensuring that grassroots expertise is valued and strengthened as we work for transformative and systemic change. She formerly worked for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has over 10 years experience in local and national non-profits, helping provide financial and capacity-building resources to communities of color combating environmental racism in Detroit and across the country. Ahmina is an active volunteer in Breathe Free Detroit and the Michigan EJ Coalition.
Angelo Logan, Campaign Director of the Moving Forward Network is the co-founder of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ), and has worked with a wide variety of coalitions to achieve health protective policies, particularly regarding goods movement and Green Zones. Angelo currently serves on several organizations working to protect community health in the Los Angeles/Long Beach region, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District Environmental Justice Advisory Group, I-710 Corridor Advisory Committees, Southern California Association of Governments Goods Movement Task Force and the City of Commerce’s Environmental Justice Task Force and Green Zones-Policy Working Group.
Jessica Aldridge, co-host of EcoJustice Radio, is a long-time environmental steward, non-profit and community organizer, and waste industry leader. As Director of Sustainability and Zero Waste Programs for Athens Services, a waste hauler in Los Angeles County, Jessica works closely with businesses, schools and municipalities to provide closed-loop solutions, paying special attention to program design, employee training, and customer education. As founder of Adventures in Waste, she also consults with major corporate brands on their waste reduction efforts.
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Interview by Jessica Aldridge
Engineer: JP Morris
Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Updated 20 February 2021