Thanks to the latest filtering and firing technology, waste incineration plants fulfil higher environmental standards than other industrial plants. The amendment of the 17th Directive of Germany's Federal Immission Control Act (17th BImSchV) resulted in the definition of the most stringent emission limit values worldwide as well as strict emission monitoring requirements.
This has made waste incineration plants the most stringently regulated industrial plants in Germany. These Europe-wide standards are exemplary.
Less Emissions from Waste Incineration.
Emissions attributable to waste incineration have decreased continuously since 1990. The output of dioxin from all of the 66 waste incineration plants in Germany reported for 2005 has for instance decreased to a thousandth of the original value: less than 0.5 g compared to 400 g in the early 90s. This is all the more impressive in view of the fact that the waste incineration capacity has doubled since 1985. The following comparison is worth noting: the dioxin emission from fireplaces and tiled stoves in private households is about 20 times that amount. Dioxins are however only produced in flue gas; only a small proportion is found in waste itself.
Flue gas contamination with toxic heavy metals such as lead and mercury or poisons such as arsenic on the other hand occurs through the waste. The same applies for dust. Upstream positioning of highly effective flue gas cleaning systems prevents these substances from leaving the waste incineration plant via the chimney.
Refuse burning plants also operate as pollutant sinks, since they remove pollutants contained in waste from the environment permanently.