To you, incinerators generate a lot of toxic pollutants, but if you research this topic more closely you will see that most of the toxic pollutants don't reach the atmosphere.
Landfills are the main destination for Canadian solid waste. In 1998 nearly 21 million tones of waste was disposed of in 767 landfills, and in 45 incinerators across the country. Landfill sites generate over a quarter of the methane emissions caused by human activity in Canada, sending 1.2 million tones of this potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere each year. Because the global warming effect of methane is 21 times greater than that of carbon dioxide, this is the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from more than six million cars - or 40 per cent of all the passenger vehicles in the country.
While innovative technologies have been developed to capture this gas for use as fuel in heating buildings or generating electricity, landfills are not a long term solution to waste management for future generations. Innovative programs to reduce and ultimately eliminate the need to use valuable land as garbage dumps are what is needed to ensure a continuation of the quality of life Canadians have enjoyed.
A Leader in Converting Waste into Energy Strict environmental monitoring shows that the Burnaby Incinerator is one of the cleanest facilities of its kind. The Solid Waste Association of North America recognizes it as one of the best incineration plants on this continent.
Located in an industrial area of Burnaby, British Columbia, the Burnaby municipal solid waste incinerator is a key part of the integrated waste management system in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD). Built in 1988 the incinerator is designed to attain a minimum 85 per cent availability and a minimum plant throughput of 210,000 tones per year. The plan exceeds these expectations: availability averages 94 per cent and throughput averages 250,000 tones per year.