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What is an Incinerator?

Incinerators burn trash and other types of waste.
Exhaust from an incinerator.
After being collected, some trash is transported to an incinerator.
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  • Written By: Sherry Holetzky
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2014
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The term incinerate means to burn something until nothing is left but ashes. An incinerator is a unit or facility used to burn trash and other types of waste until it is reduced to ash. The device is constructed of heavy, well-insulated materials, so that it does not give off extreme amounts of external heat. The high levels of heat are kept inside the furnace or unit so that the waste is burned quickly and efficiently. If the heat were allowed to escape, the waste would not burn as well.

This furnace is designed to dispose of trash or waste effectively, eliminating the high cost of having it hauled away and deposited elsewhere, piling even more rubbish atop existing landfills. Incinerators also serve to keep dangerous materials from finding their way to landfills where they can harm people, including those that work in such facilities. Another benefit is the fact that the device can produce power in the process of waste burning, though not all actually do harness that power.

Since not only power but also smog and air pollution are byproducts of incineration, some people feel that it is a poor alternative to other waste disposal methods. They believe it is simply a trade off, exchanging land waste for smog. An incinerator can dispose of an incredible amount of solid waste when utilized properly, however, which proves to many people that it is the most efficient waste disposal process.

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Aside from reducing the sheer quantity of solid waste by roughly 90%, an incinerator can also be used to manage certain materials that cannot be disposed of properly by simply dumping them in another location due to issues of public health and safety. The extreme temperatures produced by this type of furnace can destroy certain biohazards, as well as other toxic materials that are found in medical and hazardous waste. Other dangerous and harmful materials, such as confiscated drugs, bio-weapons, and contaminants,can also be broken down. The use of these furnaces, as well as all other processes by which waste is disposed of, is strictly regulated to protect human health and the environment.

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anon926277
Post 11

Even without the filters they have now, you can either burn your trash and create smoke, or you can place it in the landfill and create methane gas. Methane gas destroys the atmosphere, smoke helps in the creation of clouds. I'll create clouds to possibly promote more rain for crops.

anon229827
Post 9

No, today they have very clean incinerators.

anon141658
Post 7

Philippines is the first ever nation to ban incineration.

anon127586
Post 6

although incinerators can dispose of things better than a landfill it is worse for the environment.

anon103323
Post 5

Can incinerators be installed at home for burning waste and generating electricity or heat?

anon102240
Post 4

I feel that there may be pros and cons of Incinerators but I personally agree to use to incinerators of good quality.

As far as quality of incinerators is concerned, I noticed that Alfa-Therm Ltd Incinerators have the edge in manufacturing.

DinoLeash
Post 3

@carrotisland: Yes, incinerators are used for cremation. The type of incinerator used for human remains is called a pathological incinerator. For that purpose, the amount of heat needed is 1600-2000 degrees Fahrenheit.

CarrotIsland
Post 2

Are incinerators used for cremation?

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