Trash Incinerator Ash - Nearly 30 tons for every 100 tons burned

For every 100 tons burned in an incinerator, about 30 tons of toxic ash are produced.

This is evidenced by the data from various incinerators. Below is data from trash incinerators in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, where state waste disposal databases provide the tonnages burned and tons of ash disposed. Pennsylvania now provides this raw data online.

Waste burned (tons)
Ash disposed (tons)
% Ash by Tonnage
1991-2020 PA Delaware Covanta Delaware Valley 32,837,620 9,685,859 29%
1991-2020 PA Montgomery Covanta Plymouth Renewable Energy 11,895,753 3,142,549 26%
1988-2020 PA Dauphin Susquehanna Resource Management Complex (Harrisburg Incinerator) 6,382,799 1,922,622 30%
1990-2020 PA Lancaster LCSWMA Resource Recovery Facility 11,252,432 2,825,722 25%
1994-2020 PA Bucks Wheelabrator Falls 13,787,772 4,176,223 30%
2016-2019 MD Montgomery Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility 2,352,579 700,724 30%
2016-2019 MD Baltimore City Wheelabrator Baltimore 2,810,737 779,121 28%
2015-2016 VA Portsmouth City Wheelabrator Portsmouth 1,346,729 359,165 27%
TOTAL 82,666,421 23,591,985 29%

Note: A sixth incinerator in Pennsylvania was left out of the analysis above because some of the ash went to an ash recycling scheme for years, and due to impossibly low ash numbers, more may have been disposed of out-of-state, which goes untracked by Pennsylvania's reporting system. The numbers above may be slightly low, as Covanta now has an ash "recycling" plant in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where some ash goes, escaping reporting.

There is also a certain portion of the municipal solid waste stream that cannot be burned in an incinerator and which is bypassed and sent directly to landfills, so these numbers are also conservative in the sense that they do not cover this bypassed waste.