14 Major Advantages of Incineration

The most recent estimates show that the globe currently generates roughly 1.3 billion tons of trash annually. To put it into perspective, consider that if we put all of the world’s people on an impossibly large scale, their combined weight would be only one-fourth of that much.

Sadly, or maybe ominously would be a better term, over 60% of this trash will wind up in landfills, which are expanding globally at a rate that is almost as fast as the reproductive rate of the rat populations that reside in them.

Our collective problems with waste disposal cannot be solved by simply dumping and burying everything in landfills. Simply said, there isn’t enough useful space, either vertically or horizontally, to safely dispose of billions of tons of this highly polluted trash every year.

Other solutions are required, and some people think incineration plants but, what are the advantages of incineration? Municipal incineration plants have been around for a long even if they are not as prevalent as landfills, thus this alternative is neither experimental nor theoretical.

What does it mean to incinerate something?

Incineration is a waste management technique that involves burning organic waste components. Thermal treatments refer to incinerating waste and other high-temperature waste management techniques.

In waste incineration, waste is transformed into ash, flue gas, and heat. The majority of the ash is made up of inorganic waste components, and it may take the form of solid lumps or tiny particles carried by the flue gas.

Prior to being discharged into the atmosphere, the flue gases—excess gas byproducts of incineration—are meant to be cleared of particle and gaseous contaminants. Sometimes the heat produced by incineration is put to good use, like making power.

In many regions, the use of garbage incinerators is growing due to their greater efficiency and fewer emissions when compared to landfills. It does have some significant drawbacks, though. We’ll go into more detail about the benefits and drawbacks of rubbish incineration below.

Major Advantages of Incineration

  • Reduced Waste Quantity
  • Efficient Waste Management
  • Generation of Power and Heat
  • Pollution Reduction in Comparison to Landfills
  • Reduced Reliance on Transportation
  • Improved Noise and Odor Control
  • Offers improved odor and noise control
  • Prevents Methane Gas Production
  • Eliminates Harmful Germs and Chemicals
  • Works in All Conditions
  • Effective Material Recycling
  • A computerized monitoring system is present
  • Much better use of available area
  • Eliminating contamination of the groundwater
  • Reduce carbon emissions

1. Reduced Waste Quantity

Depending on the components that made up solid waste, incinerators can reduce the total amount of waste by up to 95% and the amount of solid waste by up to 80–85%. Thus, incineration lessens reliance on landfills.

Thus, even while incinerators do not entirely eliminate the requirement for a dumping site, they greatly reduce the amount of land required. This is especially useful for nations with constrained space like Japan because landfills use up a lot of areas that could be put to other useful purposes.

Additionally, compared to unburned garbage, the ash produced by waste combustion is less expensive to transport, which will also lower liability concerns.

2. Efficient Waste Management

Waste management may be simplified and made more effective with the help of incineration. Up to 90% of the total trash produced can be burned through incineration, and occasionally even more. On the other hand, landfills only permit organic decomposition, which doesn’t really change anything, while non-organic garbage continues to build up.

3. Generation of Power and Heat

Incineration facilities produce energy from waste that can be utilized to produce heat or power. For instance, many nations utilized the heat and energy produced by waste incinerators for the generation of power by using steam turbines during the 1950s, a time when energy costs were rising. The demands of surrounding residents can then be met using the energy generated.

Countries with chilly climates use the heat from the incinerators to warm their residences and workplaces in the vicinity of the facility. Examples include the integration of incinerators into contemporary heating systems in Europe and Japan, as well as Sweden’s use of waste incinerators to meet 8% of its heating demands.

A single facility can typically burn up to 300 million tons of waste annually, turning some of it into electricity while also lessening the load on coal-fired power plants, which are terrible for the environment.

4. Pollution Reduction in Comparison to Landfills

According to research, landfills are more likely to contaminate the environment than solid waste incinerators. An environmental assessment conducted as part of a 1994 lawsuit in the US revealed that a garbage incinerator location was preferable to a landfill.

According to the study, compared to an incineration facility, the landfill released more greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides, dioxin, hydrocarbons, and non-methane organic compounds. Additionally, landfills contaminate subsurface water systems by releasing toxic substances into the water below.

Leachate is the term for the pea-soup-like thick slurry of liquid waste that forms whenever precipitation falls on landfills.

This polluted mixture has the ability to enter underground aquifers and introduce contaminants including dangerous levels of salt, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, as well as other poisonous or corrosive chemicals or substances discovered in household waste.

In contrast to landfills, incineration doesn’t produce any hazardous byproducts in the groundwater.

The emission of dangerous substances, particularly dioxin, during the combustion of solid waste, was one of the original worries. As a result, regulations were made mandating the use of filters at incineration facilities to capture dangerous gases and dioxin particulates.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s and international standards’ suggested pollutant limitations must be adhered to by incinerator plants.

5. Reduced Reliance on Transportation

Waste incineration facilities can be located close to cities or towns because of their decreased land need. This is beneficial since it eliminates the need for waste to be transported across vast distances for dumping.

This dramatically lowers the cost of transportation as well as the harmful gases that are emitted by moving cars, greatly lowering the overall carbon footprint. The money saved on transportation can then be used for other things, such as community development and sustaining a city’s or district’s growth.

6. Improved Noise and Odor Control

Because garbage is burned inside a facility where the byproducts of the incineration process can be regulated, waste incineration plants release less foul odor than landfills. This is because instead of letting waste deteriorate in the open air, which contributes to air pollution, waste is burned inside the facility.

Additionally, methane generation in landfills may result in explosions that generate noise pollution, which is unheard of when using incineration facilities.

7. Offers improved odor and noise control

Because waste is burned instead of being allowed to decompose in landfills, which releases foul odors that pollute the air, incinerators can produce fewer unpleasant odors.

In addition to producing noise pollution, methane production in landfills has the potential to result in explosions, which are unheard of when using incineration facilities.

7. Prevents Methane Gas Production

Methane, a major greenhouse gas that is produced by the decomposition of trash in landfills, is produced in enormous quantities. Methane poses a safety risk because it is flammable and harmful to the environment. Waste incineration plants are safer and more environmentally friendly because they don’t emit methane.

8. Eliminates Harmful Germs and Chemicals

By burning processed trash at extremely high temperatures, incineration facilities eliminate dangerous bacteria and chemicals. Thus, it is a very efficient technique for getting rid of medical waste.

9. Works in All Conditions

Waste incinerators can operate in any weather because they are largely enclosed. For example, during the rainy season, waste cannot be put in a landfill since the rain will probably wash dangerous chemicals into the ground and then produce leachate, poisoning both the nearby land and the subsurface water.

Additionally, it is not advisable to dump waste while it is windy since it will be blown into the neighborhood. Incinerators, on the other hand, are not constrained by weather variations because they burn waste without leaks. In addition to operating around the clock, incinerators are more effective at controlling waste than landfills.

10. Effective Material Recycling

When incinerators are burning waste, the metals remain whole because they have a high point of melting. The remaining metal is taken out and recycled once the garbage has been burned. This eliminates the requirement for metal separation prior to trash disposal. The remaining ash can be disposed of in landfills or used in buildings.

Raw waste is typically not structured when it is transported to a landfill, squandering resources that could have been recycled. Therefore, it is simpler to remove and reuse materials when utilizing an incinerator.

11. A computerized monitoring system is present

An incinerator that includes a computer device can be purchased by governments, cities, institutions, and commercial waste management businesses to enable the troubleshooting of the majority of issues. Operators will be able to identify issues before they worsen and become significantly more expensive to fix.

Operators will work more efficiently thanks to computers because they will be able to monitor the incineration plant’s operational effectiveness.

12. Much better use of available area

The leftover waste can have an overall mass reduction of up to 85% and a volume reduction of up to 95% when the incineration process is complete. This kind of mass and volume decrease can be a lifesaver in tiny countries or in towns where landfills are full and additional room is limited.

13. Eliminating contamination of the groundwater

Every time precipitation falls on an area, a thick, pea-soup-like slurry of liquid trash called leachate is created.

This contaminated mixture has the potential to seep into subterranean aquifers and contaminate them with dangerous levels of salts, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, as well as other poisonous or corrosive chemicals or substances discovered in household waste.

14. Reduce carbon emissions

The bad news is that carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas created by human activity, is still released in substantial amounts when organic matter (the combustible component of rubbish) is burned.

One ton of carbon dioxide is discharged into the atmosphere for every ton of trash burned.

However, this is still preferable to landfills. Methane, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere much more effectively than carbon dioxide, is released when organic matter biodegrades in landfills.

According to calculations, burning the same amount of organic material in an incinerator instead of letting it decompose in a landfill will reduce global warming emissions by around 30%, which is still a positive step.

The ability to put waste incineration facilities close to where waste is produced reduces the costs, energy use, and emissions involved with waste transportation.


Than allowing waste to be littered in the surrounding, we have seen that we can incinerate these waste which can be beneficial to the environment in various ways. We have also seen that incineration can be used to produce electricity.


A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

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