Pile of plastic waste

Blocking a New Wave of Trash Burners

We Don’t Need a “New” Way to Burn Trash

Trash burning companies, along with the oil and gas industry, are pitching deceptively named high-heat technologies like “advanced recycling” as a solution to our waste and plastic crises. Why? Because the real solution, which is to stop producing so much trash in the first place, would cut into their profits. It’s time for real Zero Waste reforms that put people over profits.

The Problem with “New” High-Heat Facilities

First things first, supposedly “new” high-heat technologies backed by the fossil fuel industry – including “advanced recycling” – are not new at all. Most of these technologies involve processes known as gasification or pyrolysis, which people have been using for thousands of years. Oil and gas giants are rebranding this old technology so that they can keep producing stuff we don’t need and burning it in facilities near our homes and schools. And all to make more money.

Trash burning companies and oil lobbyists insist these “new” technologies don’t burn anything – but that isn’t true. Gasification and pyrolysis facilities superheat plastic and trash – essentially melting and boiling it into dirty fuels, monomers (the building blocks of plastic), and waste byproducts.  Almost all of what comes out of these processes – the fuels, the monomers, and the waste – ends up being burned elsewhere.

Turning trash into fuel and then burning that fuel doesn’t make it any less polluting. This process still spews out dangerous toxics and climate-damaging gases. If a rose by any other name is just as sweet, then burning trash by any other name is just as polluting.


Of U.S. commercial scale “advanced recycling” facilities generate hazardous waste and toxic air pollution


Stopping the Next Generation of Trash Burners Before They’re Built

The trash-burning and fossil fuel industries aren’t content selling us a miraculous (and false) story about these “new” high-heat facilities. No – they want to pass laws that make these facilities easier to build. That way, when they come to our towns and cities with “new” trash-burning proposals in hand, we can’t stop them.

Disposable, plastic form set on fire is melting and smoking.

Oil and gas giants do this by lobbying at the state and federal level to deregulate high-heat waste technologies like gasification and pyrolysis. They want lawmakers and regulators to exempt deceptively named “advanced recycling” facilities and other high-heat trash burners from public permitting processes, siting restrictions, operating conditions, and other rules that apply to waste and recycling facilities.

Just Zero will not stand by as corporate interests deprive communities of their rights for the sake of “new” trash burners. We work to turn the tide on these deregulatory laws and make it harder, rather than easier, to build facilities that poison communities, damage our climate, and keep us hooked on a cycle of making and burning trash.

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