The recent letters to the editor discussing the toxic legacy of waste incinerators have been shockingly emotional, ignoring the facts. Of course, plastic bag and styrofoam bans have their validity for green policies, but they make very little difference with regard to plastic waste that ends up in our environment.
For now, incineration is still largely employed for plastic wastes (such as from medical facilities) that cannot be deposited in an open landfill. With the advancement of clean incinerators, many countries in Europe, especially Scandinavia, saved significant amounts of energy that otherwise would have been produced from new fossil fuel resources.
Landfills are only economical in areas with low population densities, and only incineration will guarantee that micro-plastics will not (eventually) affect the environment. Incineration when combined with recycling is a green technology that powers large population centers in Europe and Asia.
While toxics are present in the fumes of waste incineration, they can be filtered out and deposited with about the same risk a landfill is posing long-term for nearby populations.