In the last ten years, public and government perceptions of waste-to-energy have changed considerably. Most people who bothered to visit waste management facilities recognize that landfilling can only be replaced by a combination of recycling and thermal treatment with energy recovery. During the same period, the Earth Engineering Center (EEC) of Columbia University research and public information programs have concentrated on advancing all means of sustainable waste management in the U.S. and abroad. The results of EEC research are exemplified in the graphs of the Hierarchy of Waste Management and the Ladder of Sustainable Waste Management of nations; in this paper, the latter has also been used to compare the waste management status of the fifty states of the Union. This paper also describes how the European Union has directed that thermally efficient treatment of MSW is equivalent to recycling. The rapid growth of WTE in this century is exemplified by the hundreds of new WTE plants that have been built or are under construction, most with, government assistance as in the case of other essential infrastucture. The need for concerted action by concerned scientists and engineers around the world has led to the formation of the Global WTERT Council. By now there are sister organizations of EEC and WTERT in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece (SYNERGIA) and Japan. Others are being formed in other countries.

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