Environmentalists Press Detroit to Stop Trash Incineration

Environmentalists Press Detroit to Stop Trash Incineration

- by Jim Lynch, November 20, 2013, Source: The Detroit News

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"33","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 275px; height: 213px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]The city’s new solid-waste disposal contract represents an open door to local environmentalists, and some are trying to push the city for further action.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s office law week said the city selected a pair of firms to handle Detroit’s garbage. Advanced Disposal Services and Rizzo Environmental Services are expected to begin trash pickup and curbside recycling in May.

The introduction of curbside recycling means a reduction in the amount of material going to the Detroit incinerator. Some activists said Wednesday they would like to see the city go further and divert all garbage from being burned at the energy-from-waste facility.

“This is an opportunity for the city to move from (being) a lagger to a leader,” said Margaret Weber, an official with the Zero Waste Detroit Coalition, at a small press conference outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

“We don’t see (the incinerator) as a renewable source for energy,” she said. “We see it as a detriment.”

For years, the city has sent its waste to the incinerator, where the facility converts it into energy and steam. Resulting odor issues have plagued surrounding neighborhoods, and residents in those areas have complained of experiencing higher rates of respiratory issues.

“The incinerator is a major contributor of ozone, and ozone is a major contributor to asthma,” said Ahmina Maxey, an outreach coordinator with Zero Waste Detroit. “Also, the incinerator is stinking up the neighborhoods around it.”

The emergency manager’s office said the city is looking to negotiate a final contract of $23 million to $25 million within the next 30 days.