Philadelphia Waste Contracts
Dear Mayor Kenney:
Your Streets Department is currently considering new contracts for where Philadelphia’s trash will go for the next seven years. As business leaders, we are writing to urge you to instruct your Streets Department NOT to award any contracts for burning trash in incinerators or to market trash as “fuel” to be burned in industrial facilities like cement kilns. Under the current contracts, Philadelphia has been sending trash to three incinerators that are the largest air polluters in Chester City, Montgomery County, and Bucks County. Through the trash and recycling contracts with Waste Management, additional waste is sent to be burned as fuel in cement kilns that are the largest air polluters in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.
There is no good business case for incineration. Burning trash costs the most, contributes to excessive pollution that raises health costs to the public, destroys valuable resources, and produces the fewest jobs.
Trash incineration (and dumping toxic ash in landfills) is more expensive than direct landfilling. It’s also the most expensive way to make energy, and is clearly not happening for the sake of energy production.
The health care costs from incinerator pollution far exceed the value of the city’s waste contracts, and cannot be justified.
Moreover, incineration destroys valuable compostable and recyclable materials that could be contributing to the economy, producing 5-10 times as many jobs as incineration does.
Please instruct your Streets Department to reject any contracts that rely on incineration and to explicitly forbid the burning of Philadelphia’s trash in any contract they award.
Cc: Philadelphia City Council