Firstly, let me say, I am not pro-either. I just hear about people trying to save the environment (and putting an end to bad municipal 'dump site' behaviour) by rather burning their trash. This is especially true for plastics.

While I try to avoid plastic in general, what are the environmental impact when considering both? To me, it sounds like a lose-lose both ways.

This knowledge could help me swing people who engage in this, in my area.

1 Answer 1


Burning trash in an uncontrolled fire is very polluting, with high levels of carbon monoxide, particulates, and dioxin/furan. These are released at ground level where they are easily breathed in by the person burning it, as well as neighbors. It's illegal virtually everywhere in the U.S.

It's far better to put plastics in a landfill or in an industrial-sized waste combustion facility which is equipped with pollution control equipment to minimize the emissions.

General information

Dioxin information

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