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Irish Examiner - 26/03/05
Zero waste better than poison burners

TWO items that emerged from the recent EPA oral hearings into incinerator proposals for counties Meath and Cork bring the contrast between zero waste sustainability and the quick-fix solution into sharp focus.

1. Items listed for burning by the applicant includes old tyres. These are now in short supply to make recycled rubber crumb used in running tracks, playgrounds, etc. This is creating jobs at two companies in counties Kildare and Louth. These jobs would be at risk if the tyres were burned and the ash would have to go to landfill.

2. As long as we use PVC products that eventually end up in an incinerator there will be deadly dioxin emissions. Vinyl is the second most used plastic toys, imitation leather bags, cables, raincoats, shoe soles, floor tiles, etc. When burned its chlorine content converts to dioxins. More importantly, it creates the same amount of waste per kg in incineration ash that it does per kg of product going into the incinerator.

So it all gets landfilled in the end, except this time it's even more concentrated in dioxins and heavy metals. We gain no advantage by burning it we just poison ourselves. The solution is to avoid PVC where possible in the product design stage so that we have no disposal problem. This is the essence of zero waste philosophy avoid creating problems later in the product lifecycle.

Sean Cronin
Chairman
Zero Waste Alliance Ireland
Ballybrado
Cahir
Co Tipperary

     

Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email - info@chaseireland.org
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