TXI’s giant cement plant in Midlothian is seeking permission to burn a long list of so-called “non-hazardous” wastes, including a substance called ASR – Auto Shredder Residue. This waste, also called auto fluff, is composed of all the non-steel parts of a car or truck. The plastic and foam dashboard that turns into dioxin when it’s burned. The switches and dials, some of which still have mercury and PCBs in them. The asbestos-coated brakes. All of it gets thrown into a giant grinder that turns an Accord into a pile of little quarter size chunks in minutes. One of the objections to burning this kind of waste is that it’s really a hazardous waste. A recent enforcement action in California against an Auto Shredder confirms these fears. It was caught sending wastes full of dangerous levels of lead and cadmium to a non-hazardous waste landfill. At least there it can be dug up and reburied at a haz-waste landfill. You can’t un-burn that kind of mistake at a cement plant.