Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Lack Of Trash Challenges Waste-To-Energy Plants"

It appears that eco-minded individuals in Maine created a waste-to-energy plant, but with the economy flailing, there's less waste!

Trash collectors aren't the only ones noticing the lightened load in garbage trucks. Employees of ecomaine, the waste management facility in Portland where O'Donnell's truck will dump its load, have also observed the decline in trash. And while less trash might seem like a good thing, it's a worrying trend for Kevin Roche, ecomaine's General Manager.

"So we were definitely concerned that we were going to run out of waste and have to shut down the waste to energy facility because we didn't have enough fuel-trash in our case-to keep the waste to energy facility going full time,", said Roche.

The waste to energy facility is essentially a trash burning power plant that incinerates 170,000 tons of waste a year, generating electricity and reducing the volume of that waste by 90% in the process. Normally, ecomaine has no problem getting the amount of trash it needs. But in the past two years, says Roche, the amount of waste generated by ecomaine's member communities has fallen over 20%.

"When businesses aren't doing well they're not making enough waste," said Roche.

You see, they wanted to treat waste as any other capital good -- an input to a production process. But garbage is, as we see here, a very tricky energy source and, thus, unsuitable for making energy intended for anything important. In that respect it's like wind and solar power.

The only dependable capital is that which is contracted for with another person. He hopes to make a profit from his sale and is therefore motivated to work hard to maintain the supply. It's not easy to do business with Gaia -- she's sort of flighty that way.

The left detests the laws of economics, though, and tries constantly to ignore them or bend them to its will. It never works, and the rest of us always have to step in and bail them out -- usually with our taxes.

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