** If you would prefer a
PDF of this page, <click here>.
Why is trash incinerated instead of
The last active landfills in Dutchess County were closed by the end of 1992.
None of Dutchess’ seven neighboring counties have active landfills. The nearest
landfill is over 240 miles away in upstate New York. The waste-to-energy
facility provides an alternative to the economic and environmental costs of
transporting trash to a distant landfill.
How is the waste converted to energy?
Dutchess County post-recycled waste is
tipped onto the “tipping floor” and pushed into the refuse pit. Overhead refuse
cranes mix the waste (to get as much moisture out as possible) and dumps it into
one of two boilers. The waste is combusted at extremely high temperatures,
heating the water in the boiler water-filled tubes and creating high powered
steam. The steam is used to drive turbine generators which then creates
electricity. The flue gas (combustion exhaust gas) is then run through a spray
dry absorber, lime and carbon silos (if needed) and baghouse filters, capturing
and neutralizing particulates and pollutants. Clean flue gas (steam) is released
through the stack. To watch a video of the waste to energy process
Does anything besides trash get incinerated?
Yes. Law enforcement agencies bring medications that were collected from
residents through the
Medications Drop Box Program for destruction at the waste-to-energy
facility. This is a free service provided to law enforcement agencies in the
Hudson Valley and helps to keep medications out of our waters, as well as, the
hands of those who would abuse them. In addition, the Facility provides
Certified Destruction for confidential documents. This is done for a per ton fee
and by appointment.
Who can bring trash to the Facility?
Only Licensed Haulers and municipalities may bring trash to the facility.
Residents, businesses, and the general public may not bring any trash to the
How much trash is incinerated at the Facility and where does it come from?
The trash is generated by residents and businesses of Dutchess County. About 77%
of the post-recycled trash generated within the County goes to the Facility,
about 155,000 tons a year. The remainder goes to upstate landfills.
Does the Facility pollute the air?
Emissions from the Facility are well below allowable standards mandated by the
Clean Air Act due to the installation of Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT)
in 2005. Air pollution control systems include flue gas scrubbers, lime
injection, fabric filter baghouses, and advanced mercury controls. A Continuous
Emissions Monitoring System monitors specific restricted gaseous compounds in
the exhaust stack 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and all Environmental Protection
Agency and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permit and
emissions standards are met or exceeded. Incineration prevents over 31,000 tons
of carbon equivalents from being released into the environment compared to a
landfill based system.
How much electricity is generated?
The facility can turn 450 tons of waste into 9.3 megawatts (MW) of renewable
power every day, enough to power over 10,000 homes. The electricity generated is
sold to Central Hudson.
Is ash generated from the incineration?
Yes, like any other burning process ash is generated. Ash is used as a landfill
cover at upstate landfills under a Beneficial Use Determination which is granted
by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC).
Are any materials recycled at the Facility?
Yes, ferrous metals from the post-recycled, post-incinerated waste are separated
from the ash and recovered. Almost 7,000 tons of metals are recovered and
recycled every year. This recycled metal would have been lost forever if sent to
What are the days and hours of operation?
The Resource Recovery Agency’s office is open Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4
pm. The waste to energy facility operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
What is the difference between the Resource Recovery Agency (RRA) and the
Division of Solid Waste?
The main responsibility of the RRA is to oversee the waste to energy facility.
The Division of Solid Waste is responsible for tracking the recycling rate for
the County, implementing programs that encourage recycling, licensing
prospective trash haulers and collectors, and for organizing the Household
Hazardous Waste Disposal and Electronics Recycling Events.
Where are the recyclables that are collected by haulers and transfer stations
The recyclables are taken to a privately owned recycling facility in Beacon, NY
What is recycling and what can be recycled in Dutchess County?
Recycling is the process of recovering discarded materials from the waste stream
and converting them into useable materials. By recycling, we reduce the amount
of materials that are discarded and we conserve natural resources. For example,
by recycling paper we save trees. The most commonly recycled items are paper,
cardboard, bottles and cans, but much more than that is recyclable.
What can be recycled in Dutchess County?
Glass – jars and bottles of any size or color
Metal – aluminum and steel food and drink cans, metal jar lids, and empty
Paper – all paper, including magazines, junk mail, envelopes, juice cartons, and
dry food cartons
Plastic – food and beverage containers, other plastic containers, hard plastic
All of the above can be recycled in regular household recycling bins or office
recycling bins. Some other recyclables have to be taken to a certain location
for recycling, such as:
Plastic bags/film must be placed in a plastic bag recycling bin at a local
Scrap metal should be taken to a scrap metal recycler.
Rechargeable and single use batteries can be recycled at
Styrofoam© recycling is not yet available in Dutchess County, but UPS stores
will take clean packing peanuts and reuse them.
Electronics should be taken to a retailer that sells that item or brought to an
electronics collection event
What shouldn’t be put in the recycling bin?
There are some things that should never go in your recycling bin, including
Dishes, cookware, or cutlery
Hazardous Waste, including syringes
For more information, please visit
more information, call DCRRA at (845) 463-6020.