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Resources on Plastics in the Environment (June 2022): Incineration

By Margaret Manion


As mid-pandemic readers are aware, a crucial beneficial use for plastics is in personal protective equipment for use in health care. Hazardous waste that is potentially infectious is normally incinerated to prevent spreading pathogens, rather than contributed to the usual waste stream along with household items. Most current plastic waste incinerators are in waste-to-energy plants, where energy from plastics combustion is captured and converted to heat or electrical energy. In his book Plastics to Energy, Sultan Al-Salem focuses attention (for those who need to know) on the processes involved in energy conversion: topics covered include life cycle analysis and cost analysis of various waste management systems, equipment, release of hazardous chemicals, and newly available options for treatment of biodegradable plastics.

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