Ministers have had the green light for a new generation of incinerators after predicting the 1.2 million tonnes of rubbish burnt in the West Midlands each year will triple.
The aim is to reduce the amount buried in landfill sites by promoting recycling and encouraging less waste.
But Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw admitted it would also be necessary to increase incineration.
He dismissed health fears - claiming incinerators were safer than fireworks.
The West Midlands has incinerators in Dudley, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Stoke on Trent and Tyseley, in Birmingham.
According to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, it produced 18.4 million tonnes of waste in 2002/03 - up from 16.6 million in 1998/99.
Of this, 7.1 million tonnes were sent to landfill, 8.9 million recycled, and 1.2 million used to produce energy.
The Government has invited residents and businesses to join a consultation on cutting the amount buried.
But the consultation paper warned the amount incinerated - which it describes as Energy from Waste or EfW - will have to triple.
It said: "Dioxin emissions from modern EfW plant - which must now meet the very stringent requirements of the EU Waste Incineration Directive - are small compared with other common environmental sources such as building and forest fires and fireworks.
"An independent health impacts review has concluded on the evidence so far, the treatment of municipal solid waste has at most a minor effect on health. Risks to human health from incineration are small in comparison with other known risks faced by people in their daily lives," the report concludes."