Energy: Moving to Garbage Power

The use of trash as fuel is spreading fast

Garbage can be golden," gushes New York City Sanitation Commissioner Anthony Vaccarello. "Garbage is the sow's ear that can be turned into a silk purse," adds Michael Dingman, president of Wheelabrator-Frye, a maker of environmental-control equipment. Such glowing descriptions of refuse, which is more conventionally considered a smelly, unsightly and unwanted byproduct of urban life, underscore the increasing popularity of trash as fuel in a U.S. facing growing shortages of energy.

The idea seems to have caught on almost overnight. In 1973, before the...

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