Chapter 17: Solid and Hazardous Waste By Kelsey Connolly, Bianca Dawydiak, and Drew Kennett
Case Study: Love Canal • Between 1942 and 1953 a company called Hooker Chemicals and Plastics sealed over 200 different kinds of toxic chemical wastes into steel drums. • Drums placed in the bottom of an old canal excavation, covered in thin clay topsoil and sold to Niagara Falls School Board. • Roads and sewer lines disturbed clay top and water build up broke through cap releasing chemicals that had leaked from corroded containers. • Children received chemical burns at school, toxins leaked into school grounds, basements, gardens, and storm sewers. • Jimmy Carter declared Love Canal a Federal Disaster area, and evacuated all families that lived close to the dump and closed schools in that area. • After 21 years and $400 million in clean up costs, Love Canal was finally removed from the list of Superfund sites that were in need of toxic clean up.
The Three Lessons 1. We can never really throw anything away. 2. Wastes do not often stay put. 3. Preventing pollution is safer and easier then cleaning it up.
Science: Solid Waste - Solid Waste: Any unwanted or discarded material that is not a liquid or a gas, known as garbage. - Humans will always produce solid waste in direct and indirect ways as a result of creating goods and services. - In nature there is virtually no solid waste because the waste of one organism becomes nutrients for others. - Two Main Concerns About Solid Waste Production: 1. Much of the waste represents an unnecessary waste of the earths resources. 2. Producing the solid products we use and discard leads to huge amounts of air pollution, water pollution, and land degradation.
Solid Waste In The United States - The U.S. has 4.6% of the worlds population, and produces 1/3 of the worlds solid waste. - Mining, oil, and gas production are responsible for the majority (75%) of the U.S.’s solid waste. - Solid Waste Percentage Breakdown: a) 98.5% produced indirectly through mining, oil and natural gas production, agricultural, sewage, and other industrial activities. b) 1.5% produced directly by households and workplaces(Municipal Solid Waste)
Municipal Solid Waste - This 1.5% directly produced waste is formally called Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), and is also known as garbage or trash. (U.S. produces the most per capita, and Canada the 2nd most.) - Between 1960 and 1990 the amount of MSW produced per person in the U.S. increased by 70%. Over half (55%) of MSW is buried in land fills, only 30% is recycled and the remaining 15% is burned in incinerators.
Waste Management and Reduction - Two Ways To Deal With Solid Wastes: Waste Management and Waste Reduction 1. Waste Management – (high-waste approach) views waste production as unavoidable and attempts to manage waste by mixing and crushing wastes, then burying, burning, or shipping them away. - EXAMPLES: treat waste to reduce toxicity,incinerate waster, bury waste in landfills, dilute waste into environment. 2. Waste Reduction – (low waste approach) mimics nature by viewing solid waste as potential resources that should be recycled, composted, or reused. - EXAMPLES: *Discussed in the Sustainably Six* - Benefits: saves matter and energy resources, reduces pollution, protects biodiversity, and saves money.
Reducing Solid Waste - The Sustainably Six: 6 ways to reduce resource use, waste, and pollution. 1.Consume Less:can whatever your purchasing be bought or borrowed second hand? 2. Redesign Manufacturing Processes And Products To Use Less Materials And Energy: the weight of cars has been reduced by ¼ by using lightweight plastics, plastic milk jugs weight 40% less then they did in 1970. 3. Redesign Manufacturing Processes To Produce Less Waste And Pollution: most toxic organic solvents can be replaced with water or citrus based solvents. 4. Develop Products That Are Easy To Repair, Reuse, Remanufacture, Compost, Or Recycle: anew Xerox photocopier is made completely with reusable and recyclable parts. 5. Design Products To Last: tires could be build to last for 100,000 miles instead of their current average of 60,000 miles. 6. Eliminate Or Reduce Unnecessary Packaging: use no, minimal, reusable, or recyclable packaging.
Making a Difference - Actions individuals can take to promote waste reduction: - Follow the four R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. - Rent, borrow, or barter goods whenever possible. - Don’t throw away disposable items if they are reusable or recyclable. - Use email in the place of paper mail. - Read newspapers and magazines online.
The Ecoindustrial Revolution - Current advancements point to this revolution occurring in the next 50 years. - Goal: make industrial manufacturing process cleaner and more sustainable by redesigning them to mimic that natural process of waste management. - Methods of Biomimicry: - Reuse chemicals in industries instead of dumping them. - Have companies interact through resource exchange websin which wastes from one manufacturer become raw materials for another. - EXAMPLE: An electric power plant in Kalundborg, Denmark trades waste outputs with nearby industries, farms, and homes to reduce their pollution and waste output. - Currently 20 of these Ecoindustrial Parks are operating around the world. - Many of these parks are being developed on redeveloped abandoned industrial sites called brown fields.
EconomicBenefits of Biomimicry - Reduce cost of controlling pollution and complying with pollution regulations. - If company doesn’t pollute, it doesn’t have to worry about government regulations or being sued for environmental damage. - Improves health and safety of the workers: reduces exposure to harmful toxic chemicals in the workplace. - Reduces cost of health care for employees. - Stimulates companies to come up with new environmentally friendly chemicals.
Economics: Selling Services - German chemist Michael Braungart and Swiss Industry analyst Walter Stahel proposed a new economic model that would provide profits while reducing resource use and waste. -Their proposal was to shift from the current material-flow economy to a service-flow economy. - Consumers would use eco-leasing to rent services certain goods provide instead of buying the goods themselves. - In a service-flow economy a manufacturer would make more money if a product uses a minimum amount of materials, lasts a long time, and is easy to repair, maintain, remanufacture, reuse or recycle.
Selling ServicesExample Carrier (the worlds largest manufacturer of air-conditioning equipment)leases cooling services where the company teams up with other industries to install up to date windows, lighting, and other energy efficient upgrades that reduce customers cooling needs. The company profits off the instillation of the equipment.
Reuse: Advantages and Disadvantages - What Reuse Involves: Cleaning and using materials over and over, thereby extending the life span of a product. - Traditional Forms of Reuse: Salvaging automobile parts, and salvaging bricks, doors, woodwork, and other items from old buildings. - Benefits of Reuse: Reduces the use of matter and energy resources, cuts pollution and waste, creates local jobs, saves money. - Disadvantages of Reuse: The harvesting of resources for reuse poses major health hazards people in poor developing countries. The main hazard comes from electronic waste.
Electronic Waste E-Waste: consists of discarded TV sets, computers, circuit boards, cell phones, ect… - E-waste is shipped in from countries like the U.S. to developing countries like China, India, and Pakistan where labor is cheap and environmental regulations are weak. - Workers dismantle the e-waste to recover the reusable parts and metals within, and in doing so expose themselves to toxic wastes such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. - The unusable parts are then dumped into waterways and fields, or burned in open fires, which expose the workers to more toxic dioxins.
17-4 Using Refillable Containers • Uses less resources and energy • Produces less wastes • Saves money • Creates local jobs • Local collecting & refilling • Introduce a levy that encourages the reuse of containers
Other Ways to Reuse Things • Reusable shopping bags • Use cloth bags & charge for plastic • Metal food containers • Less plastic thrown away • Recycled shipping pallets • Uses recycled plastic instead of wood • Borrow tools from tool libraries • People can check out a variety of power & hand tools • Berkeley, CA has this
17-5 RECYCLING: Two Types of Recycling • Collect, reuse, remake, resell • Five types of materials can be recycled: newspapers, magazines, office paper, glass, aluminum, steel, and some plastics • Primary collection or closed loop recycling: • Takes old materials & makes them into new • I.e. used aluminum cans into new • Secondary recycling or downcycling: • Waste materials converted into different products • I.e. tires are shredded & turned into rubberized road
Two Types of Recycling Continued • Two types of wastes can be recycled: • Preconsumer or internal waste • Generated in a manufacturing process & recycled instead of being discarded • Postconsumer or external waste • Generated by consumer use of products • 25 times more preconsumer than post.
Two Types of Recycling Continued • Two issues • Will it actually be recycled? • When prices fall for recycled materials recyclables are collected but mixed with wastes & sent to landfill • Will businesses actually want recycled materials? • Switzerland recycles ½ of their waste, US 30% • With more incentives & better designed waste management systems, developed countries will recycle more
Composting • Process in which recycled biodegradable organic wastes are added to soil to supply plants with nutrients • Slows erosion, retains water, & improves crop yields • Wastes can be collected & composted in facilities (done in many EU countries) compost used as fertilizer, topsoil, landfill cover, restores eroded soil and overgrazed soil • To be successful, odors must be controlled • Must exclude toxic materials that can contaminate compost
Methods for Recycling Solid Wastes • Disagreement over whether to send MUW to centralized resource recovery plants or have individuals sort recyclables • MRF (material recovery facility) has machines separate waste to recover valuable materials to be resold • Remaining wastes are burned for power • Expensive, emits toxic air pollutants & toxic ash • Source separation has less air & water pollution, low costs, saves more energy, provides jobs • Pay-as-you-throw: encourages separation of wastes. Households charged for amt of waste produced, but not for collection
Problems with Recycling Plastics • Chemically & economically difficult • 10% of plastics in US are recycled for 3 reasons • Difficult to isolate from other wastes (use dif. resins) • Recovering plastics doesn’t yield much because only small amts. of resins used per product • Cost of petrochemicals used for making plastics is so low that the cost of new plastic resins is much lower than recycled • Toyota is investing in making plastic from plants • Expected by 2020 to control 2/3 of world’s supply of bioplastics
Advantages & Disadvantages of Recycling • Environmental & economic benefits • Cheaper to burn wastes or send to landfill • Makes sense for paper, aluminum, paper, & steel • Not for glass and most plastics • Net economic, health, & environmental benefits of recycling far outweigh the costs • Single-pickup system: collects both materials to be recycled vs. expensive dual-system • Pay-as-you-throw: SF uses this, recycles ½ of waste
Encouraging Reuse and Recycling • Four factors hinder reuse & recycling • Market $ of a product does not reflect harmful environment costs • Uneven playing field- Most resource extracting industries get tax breaks, while recycling companies don’t • Charges for depositing wastes in landfills is cheaper in US than in Europe • Demand & price paid for recycled materials fluctuate
Encouraging Reuse and Recycling Continued • How can we encourage recycling? • Tax breaks and subsidies • Decrease subsidies for virgin items • Increase the cost of pay-as-you-throw • Gov. can make companies take back their products after use and dispose of them
17-6 BURNING AND BURYING SOLID WASTES • Japan & Switzerland incinerates most of their waste, US & most of Europe does not • Solid waste is burned in waste-to-energy incinerators: boils water to make steam for heating water for electricity • US incinerates 16% of their waste • Many incinerator projects have been cancelled because of high costs and concern over pollutants
Burying Solid Waste • Most of world’s solid waste is buried in landfills that will eventually leak toxic liquids into the soil & underlying aquifers • 54% of waste in US is buried in sanitary landfills • Two types of landfills: • Open Dumps: fields or holes in the ground where garbage is dumped & sometimes covered with soil • Used in developing countries • 1000s of people works & live in open dumps looking for food scraps & reusable materials
Burying Solid Waste Continued • Sanitary Landfills: solid wastes are spread out in thin layers, compacted, and covered daily with a fresh layer of clay or plastic foam • Located away from rivers & recharge zones are covered with clay or plastic • Landfill bottom is covered with a second impermeable liner, usually made of thick plastic, sand, & clay • Liner collects leachate (contaminated rainwater that percolates through waste) • Wells are drilled around landfill to monitor any leakage • Leachate is pumped from bottom of landfill, stored in tanks, and sent to a sewage treatment plant • Landfills have a network of pipes to collect methane and carbon dioxide released by underground decomposition of wastes • Methane is filtered out & burned to produce electricity
Hazardous waste • Discarded solid or liquid material that is toxic , ignitable, corrosive , or reactive enough to explode. • Developed countries = 80-90% • Cradle-to-grave • Production( Cradle) • Disposal(Grave)
Harmful Chemicals in your home. • Paint • Latex and oil based paints, stains, varnishes, wood preservatives, artist paints and oils. • Automotive • Gasoline, motor oil, antifreeze , battery acid, solvents , brake fluid • Gardening • Pesticides, weed killers , ant and rodent killers, flea powders • Cleaning • Disinfectants, drain and toilet cleaners, spot removers , septic tank cleaners
How safe is the U.S.? • 15,000 chemical plants refineries, and other sites. • At 790 sites the potential death toll is 100,000 to 1,000,000. • Easy targets • No security laws
Detoxifying Hazardous Waste • Chemical and biological methods for removing hazardous wastes; • Bioremediation- uses bacteria and enzymes to destroy toxic waste or convert them to harmless compounds. • Phytoremediation- uses natural gas or genetically engineered plants to absorb, filter, and remove contaminates from soil and water
Trade-offs: Phytoremediation PROS • Easy to establish • Inexpensive • Can reduce material dumped into landfills • Produces little air pollution • Low energy use CONS • Slow • Effective only at depth of plant roots • Some toxic organic chemicals may evaporate form plant leaves • Some pants can become toxic to animals
Burning and burying solid wastes • Hazardous wastes can be incinerated or buried. • Burning hazardous wastes can have the same effects as burning solid wastes. • U.S. disposes hazardous waste in underground wells or state-of-the-art landfills. • Liquid and solid hazardous wastes are sometimes stored into drums in secure landfillsor in secure above ground buildings. • Deep-well disposal • Surface impoundments • Best solution: make as little as possible.
Toxic metals • Lead and mercury not break down in nature. • Lead is found in gasoline , water lines, pipes , faucets , and some paints. • Mercury found in rocks, soil, volcanoes, and the ocean.
Solutions to Lead Poisoning Prevention • Phase out leaded gasoline • Phase out waste incineration • Test blood for lead by age 1 • Ban lead solder in plumbing pipes, fixtures, and food cans • Ban candles with lead cores Control • Reduce lead emissions from old and new incinerators • Replace lead pipes and plumbing fixtures containing lead solder • Remove leaded paint and dust from older apartments • Remove lead from TV sets and computer monitors before disposal • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables
Solutions for Mercury Pollution Prevention • Phase out waste incineration • Remove mercury from coal before it is burned • Convent coal to liquid or gaseous fuel • Switch from to coal to natural gas and renewable energy • Phase out mercury from all products non recyclable. Control • Reduce mercury emissions from coal burning plants and incinerators • Tax each unit of mercury • Collect and recycle mercury containing electric switches, relays , and dry-cell batteries. • Require labels on all products containing mercury.
International Action • 1989 and 1994 an international treaty to limit the transfer of hazardous waste was developed. • 2000, treaty to control 12 persistent organic pollutants(POPs) • Dirty dozen; DDT, 8 other chlorine containing persistent pesticides ,PCBs, dioxins, and furans.
4 Key Principals • Everything is connected • There is no “away” for the wastes we produce • Dilution is not always the solution • The best and cheapest way to deal with waste and pollution is to produce fewer pollutants and to reuse and recycle.