Incineration is sheer folly

Landfill is bad. But incineration is worse. The decision to allow an incineration plant in Cork will be regretted for a long time. And it sends incineration our way too.

The biggest problem with incineration is that it is an acceptance that we will never stop producing waste or polluting the environment. Just when it appears that Ireland has turned a corner in the fight against waste, we set up an industry to maintain demand for that waste.

At the moment we export some 300,000 tonnes of hazardous waste. On the face of it we should deal with this waste ourselves. But the question has to be asked: why are we producing such volumes of waste?

It apparantly arises from two main areas. These are the health service and the pharmaceutical industry. 

In the case of health service waste the need for incineration is hotly contested by environmentalists. They maintain that only 10% of hospital waste is potentially infectious and that this could be dealt with using heat or microwaves.

In the case of the pharmaceutical industry more basic, and perhaps painful, questions need to be asked. Is there not a fundamental problem with an industry whose raison d’etre is to cure us producing stuff which will potientially kill us?

Secondly, are we buying jobs by accepting dirty industries? Isn’t the future of industry in a sustainable environment predicated on the concept that they produce clean products but that they also work cleanly?

OK, so we can’t change things by tomorrow. In that case I would rather see material being sent to landfill or being stored for future rehabilitation. In this case the producers pay the cost, the full cost of polluting.

And on top of all the environmental stupidity, there’s the danger to local health posed by dioxens and ash. And the CO2 pumped into the air as if we hadn’t enough already.

If people in Dublin don’t want incineration as a policy for all these reasons, then don’t forget about it when the Euro and local elections come in the summer.

Have you an ecobaby?

Around 4% of domestic waste by volume is made up of nappies. If all the recyclables were recycled it would rise to 15%.

Nappies are bad – that much is agreed. But the argument over disposable and reusable is fierce. It doesn’t look as if the modern generation can overcome the convenience and yuk factors to return to cloth nappies.

Cloth nappies have to be washed, which can also be environmentally dodgy. (No babies is the green thing to do).

A company called Ecobaby, here in Dublin, is offering an alternative. They’re selling cellulose disposable nappies. 

These nappies have all the nasty stuff like bleaches and brighteners taken out and they can be composted in your own garden, if you like, by building a wormery. Even if you bin them they are less environmentally damaging than normal nappies.

You can get free samples if you want to give it a try. Ecobaby will deliver to anywhere in Ireland. They are at 1850-525253 or