Say No To Waste-To-Energy in Tucson

Mayor Romero, City Council Members, and City Manager Ortega

Don't Burn It Tucson

The Tucson Environmental and General Services department is studying over 10 project ideas for "waste-to-energy" (WTE) at the Los Reales Landfill on the southeast side of the city. While these WTE project proposals cover a wide range of processes, they have one thing in common – using high heat to create fuels that will most likely be burned, emitting greenhouse gases and air pollution in the process. WTE technologies include combustion, pyrolysis, gasification systems as well as mixed waste processing equipment that would create refuse-derived fuel.

WTE technologies represent a false solution to our ever-growing municipal waste problem. These technologies should be firmly rejected for the following reasons:  
1. Making energy or fuel from waste destroys valuable resources and works in direct opposition to circular economy models that eliminate waste and keep materials in use for as long as possible.
2. Waste incineration, plastic-to-fuel and refused-derived fuel systems generate greenhouse gas emissions that will contribute to global warming for decades.
3. Converting waste materials into energy or fuel creates toxic fumes that pose a threat to downwind communities, including particulate matter, lead, mercury, dioxins and PFAS compounds.
4. Waste-to-energy distracts from more sustainable and preferable upstream solutions like waste prevention, reuse/refill, product redesign, and traditional recycling and composting methods.

Why is now the time to act? Transitioning toward a zero waste future—one in which less waste is produced overall, and more waste is reused through composting or recycling—will do more than any WTE facility to stabilize the climate, prevent worsening weather extremes, and ensure a sustainable future for all. By recapturing and reusing discards as feedstock for new products, we minimize the need to extract virgin raw materials, decrease our energy consumption, and create new green industries and job opportunities.

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To: Mayor Romero, City Council Members, and City Manager Ortega
From: [Your Name]

Dear Mayor Romero, City Council Members, and City Manager Ortega:
We, the undersigned residents and community organizations of Tucson, Arizona and surrounding communities urge you to take all actions necessary to prevent the siting of a waste-to-energy (WTE) facility in the City of Tucson. Instead, we recommend that you fully embrace zero waste measures that would reduce both the generation and disposal of waste, while putting the community on the path to a more sustainable and climate-resilient future.