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Before we get started…. A slight warm up exercise. What do You See?. Treasure from Trash: Methods for Handling biodegradable Municipal Solid Waste More Sustainably. Sam Markolf The University of Texas at Austin Washington Internships for Students of Engineering

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Before we get started

Before we get started…

A slight warm up exercise


What do you see

What do You See?


Treasure from trash methods for handling biodegradable municipal solid waste more sustainably

Treasure from Trash: Methods for Handling biodegradable Municipal Solid Waste More Sustainably

Sam Markolf

The University of Texas at Austin

Washington Internships for Students of Engineering

Sponsored by: American Institute of Chemical Engineers


Outline of presentation

Outline of Presentation

  • Overview of Waste Management

  • Novel Approaches to Waste Management

  • Policy Overview

  • Recommendations for Policy Changes

  • Impact and Implications

  • Summary and Conclusions


Overview of waste management

Overview of Waste Management

  • How much waste is actually generated?

    • 250 million tons vs 413 million tons

  • Landfills

    • The U.S. is the leading landfill user in the world

  • Recycling/Composting

    • 61 million tons recycled and 22.1 million tons composted

  • Waste To Energy (Combustion)

    • Roughly 103 facilities in the U.S. as of 2006

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) . (2009, November). Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Detailed Tables and Figures for 2008.


Why is biodegradable waste important

Why is biodegradable waste important?

  • Almost 64% of generated waste is biodegradable

  • Only 2.5% of food waste composted

  • Nearly 65% of yard trimmings composted

  • Can be used as compost or source of renewable energy

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) . (2009, November). Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Detailed Tables and Figures for 2008.


Why is biodegradable waste important1

Why is biodegradable waste important?

  • Almost 64% of generated waste is biodegradable

  • Only 2.5% of food waste composted

  • Nearly 65% of yard trimmings composted

  • Can be used as compost or source of renewable energy

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) . (2009, November). Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Detailed Tables and Figures for 2008.


Concerns with waste management

Concerns with Waste Management

  • Emissions from landfills

    • GHG emissions from landfills are equivalent to 22.9 million passenger vehicles

  • Emissions from transportation

    • Some waste is sent over 600 miles to landfill

  • Inefficient use of resources

    • Much of the waste can be recycled or reprocessed

  • Siting and Land-use Issues

    • It’s more difficult to build new landfills


What is aerobic composting ac

What is Aerobic Composting (AC)?

Source: Torfaen County Borough, Environment & Planning: Composting, 2009, http://www.torfaen.gov.uk/EnvironmentAndPlanning/RubbishWasteAndRecycling/Composting/Home.aspx


Potential solution composting

Potential Solution: Composting

Pros

Cons

  • Produces valuable soil additives

  • Many potential uses for compost products

  • Produces minimal GHG emissions

  • Requires relatively pure feedstock

  • Lack of markets for compost products

  • Potential for odor issues to arise


What is anaerobic digestion ad

What is Anaerobic Digestion (AD)?

  • Current Use in the U.S.

    • Waste Water Treatment

    • Rural Applications

  • Current Use in Europe

    • Municipal Solid Waste

      • Over 200 Facilities

      • Capacity of 6 million tons

Source: Waste Solutions (2008), Anaerobic Digestion, http://www.wastetechnz.com/Solutions/Anaerobic_Digestion/


Potential solution anaerobic digestion

Potential Solution: Anaerobic Digestion

Pros

Cons

  • Produces compost-like soil additive

  • Produces useful biogas

  • Greatly reduces solid waste volume

  • Need for consistent and “pure” feedstock

  • Higher capital costs

  • Market not established for products of AD


Policy overview

Policy Overview

Political Environment

Policy Goals

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (‘76)

    • Congress charged state and municipal governments with the responsibility of managing non-hazardous waste

  • Develop an Integrated Solid Waste Management System

    • Considers environmental, social, and economic ramifications

    • Compatible with local conditions

    • Fits within national waste management strategy


Policy recommendations easier to implement

Policy Recommendations: Easier to Implement

Increasing Public Awareness

  • Increase public awareness and knowledge related to waste management

    • Provide Press Releases

    • Develop PSAs for all forms of media

    • Host conferences and forums for key stakeholders


Policy recommendations easier to implement1

Policy Recommendations: Easier to Implement

Encouraging Volunteer Participation

  • Create certification system that recognizes “Green Cities” or “Green States”

    • Establish quantifiable criteria of evaluation

    • Different criteria for different sizes and locations

    • Cities and states want to improve “quality of life”


Policy recommendations moderately difficult to implement

Policy Recommendations: Moderately Difficult to Implement

Regulatory Policies

  • Establish a standard and framework for accounting for waste from source to disposal

  • Establish regulatory and pricing framework that encourages growth in markets for secondary goods

    • Establish quality standards for secondary products

    • Establish national practice standards for AD and AC

    • Establish pricing mechanisms for biogas and compost


Policy recommendations moderately difficult to implement contd

Policy Recommendations: Moderately Difficult to Implement Contd.

Funding Policies

  • Provide funding that aids the establishment of effective source separation of biodegradable waste

  • Provide funding for R&D and Testing/Pilot Projects with focus placed on the following areas:

    • Universities

    • Cities that use AD for water treatment,

    • Cities that already have source separation of biodegradable waste

    • Areas with a high concentration of farming


Environmental impacts

Environmental Impacts

Comparison of Net GHG Emissions for Different Biodegradable Waste Management Processes

Net Carbon Emissions in terms of metric tons of carbon equivalent per short ton of waste

Adapted From: U.S. EPA, Solid Waste Management and Greenhouse Gases, 2006


Environmental impact continued

Environmental Impact Continued

Comparison of the True Environmental Costs of Different Waste Management Options

Source: Morawski, C. (2008). Composting - Best Bang for MSW Managment Buck. 49 (10), 23 - 28.


Economic impact

Economic Impact

Comparison of tipping fees for different waste management processes across North America1

  • Economic Analysis of Recycling/Reuse Industry2

  • Recycling industry provides roughly 4 times as many jobs as waste management industry

  • Recycling industry earned an estimated $236 billion in 2001

  • The Federal Government earned roughly $6.9 billion in tax revenues from the recycling industry

1Levis, J. (2010). Assessment of the state of food waste in the United States and Canada. (e. al., Ed.) Waste Management .

2R.W. Beck, Inc. (2001, July). U.S. Recycling Economic Information Study.


Now what do you see

Now What Do You See?


Questions

Questions?

[email protected]

Special Thanks to:

AIChE, IEEE USA, and ACS

Dr. Tom Chapman and Dr. Basil “Bill” Doumas

Erica Wissolik

All my fellow WISE Interns


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