College Trash Habits Cause Concern, as Does Incinerator in Chester

- by Bobby Zipp, November 20, 2014,  Swarthmore Phoenix

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"311","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 333px; height: 189px; margin: 3px 10px; float: left;"}}]]Two weeks ago, a group of the Green Advisors conducted a waste audit of Kohlberg Hall and the Science Center. The purpose of the annual audit is to create a visual representation of the amount of waste produced by those buildings and test how well the Swarthmore community knows what to compost, recycle and put in the trash. Spearheaded by Green Advisor coordinators Kelley Langhans ’16,  Indy Reid-Shaw ’17 and Laura Laderman ’18, a team of GAs spent a day sorting through the 347 pounds of waste that was produced by Kohlberg and the Science Center on a single day and recorded the amount of waste in each of the three categories that was incorrectly disposed of. They found that out of everything that had been placed in trash bins, 35.3 percent of it was actually trash, and the rest could have been composted or recycled. Trash at Swarthmore is burned at Covanta Waste facility in Chester, the largest energy-from-waste incinerator in the country, which is located about eight miles away from the college.

Unforeseen Dioxin Formation in Waste Incineration

- by  Ingrid Söderbergh, September 18, 2014,

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"265","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"line-height: 20.6719989776611px; width: 333px; height: 166px; margin: 3px 10px; float: left;"}}]]Dioxins forms faster, at lower temperatures and under other conditions than previously thought. This may affect how we in the future construct sampling equipment, flue gas filtering systems for waste incineration and how to treat waste incineration fly ash. These are some of the conclusions Eva Weidemann draws in her doctoral thesis, which she defends at Umeå University on Friday the 26 of September.

Dioxins is a collective name for a specific group of chlorinated organic molecules where some exhibit hormone disrupting and carcinogenic properties. Dioxins can form in waste incineration, as the flue gases cool down.

"When you incinerate waste, some dioxin formation is inevitable, but with the modern flue gas cleaning systems the emission through the stack is minimized, The dioxins are filtered from the flue gases and end up in the fly ash", says Eva Weidemann.