Waste Disposal and Recycling Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
3 Key Take-aways We can never really throw anything away Waste often does not stay put Preventing pollution is much safer & cheaper than trying to clean it up
Case Study: Love Canal - There Is No “Away” • Between 1842-1953, Hooker Chemical sealed multiple chemical wastes into steel drums and dumped them into an old canal excavation (Love Canal). • In 1953, the canal was filled and sold to Niagara Falls school board for $1. • The company inserted a disclaimer denying liability for the wastes.
Case Study: Love Canal - There Is No “Away” • In 1957, Hooker Chemical warned the school not to disturb the site because of the toxic waste. • In 1959 an elementary school, playing fields and homes were built disrupting the clay cap covering the wastes. • In 1976, residents complained of chemical smells and chemical burns from the site.
Love Canal - There Is No “Away” • President Jimmy Carter declared Love Canal a federal disaster area. • The area was abandoned in 1980 (left). Figure 22-1
Love Canal - There Is No “Away” • Love Canal sparked creation of the Superfund law, which forced polluters to pay for cleaning up abandoned toxic waste dumps. • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA 1980) • Helps clean up hazardous waste sites • In 1983, Love Canal became the 1st superfund site • Took 20 years & 400 million to clean up
Core Case Study: Love Canal - There Is No “Away” • The dumpsite was covered with new clay cap • In June 1990, state officials started selling some of the 260 homes that still remained in the area – renamed Black Creek Village • No guarantees about safety of living in these homes
Core Case Study: Love Canal - There Is No “Away” • It still is a controversy as to how much the chemicals at Love Canal injured or caused disease to the residents. • difficult to link long-term health effects • How many other Love Canals are there around the world • Chemical time bombs
Waste • Consumption of natural resources by modern industrial economies remains very high, in the range of 45-85 tons per capita annually. • Each person in an industrialized society consumes many tons of raw materials each year. These must be extracted, processed, and disposed of as waste. Limestone quarry, Yorkshire Dales Bulldozer working on landfill site, UK
Wasting Resources • Solid waste: any unwanted or discarded material we produce that is not a liquid or gas. • Municipal solid waste (MSW): produce directly from homes. (Mostly paper) • Industrial solid waste: produced indirectly by industries that supply people with goods and services. • Hazardous (toxic) waste: threatens human health or the environment because it is toxic, chemically active, corrosive or flammable.
WASTING RESOURCES • The US has 4.5% of world’s population, but produces 1/3 of the world’s trash. • About 98.5% is industrial solid waste. • The remaining 1.5% is MSW. • 55% of U.S. MSW is dumped into landfills, • 30% is recycled or composted, and • 15% is burned in incinerators.
Wasting Resources • Two reasons to be concerned • ¾ represents unnecessary waste of earth’s finite resources • In producing the products we use and discard, we are creating huge amounts of • Air pollution • Water pollution • Land degradation • Solid and hazardous waste
WASTING RESOURCES • Solid wastes polluting a river in Jakarta, Indonesia. The man in the boat is looking for items to salvage or sell. Figure 22-3
Wasting Resources • US leads the world in trash production • 4.5 pounds per person • 2 times as much as other industrialized nations • 5 – 10 times as much as developing countries • Trash buried in landfills • 38% paper • 12% yard waste • 11% food waste • 11% plastic
Wasting Resources • A lot of household waste ends up in landfills where it is eventually buried. In poorer countries people make a living by collecting items from other people’s rubbish. Living from waste, Philippines
Wasting Resources • What we throw away in our high waste economy • Enough aluminum to rebuild country’s commercial airline fleet every 3 months • Discarded carpet each year would cover Delaware • 27 million tons of edible food each year • Enough paper to build a wall 11 feet high across the entire country every year • Americans spend more money on trash bags than 90 other countries spend on everything they buy.
Wasting Resources: Electronics • E-waste consists of toxic and hazardous waste such as PVC, lead, mercury, and cadmium. • The U.S. produces almost half of the world's e-waste but only recycles about 10%
Solid Waste Management • The disposal of solid and hazardous wastes is one of the most urgent problems of today’s industrialized societies. • Traditionally, solid waste has been disposed of in open dumps. More recently, disposal occurs in sanitary, scientifically designed sanitary landfills. Most municipal solid waste is disposed of in sanitary landfills. • New initiatives are increasingly being implemented by city councils and localauthorities for the reduction, reuse, and recycling of solid waste, and thesafe disposal of hazardous waste,including oil and industrial chemicals. • The safe disposal of radioactive wastes is a problem as these wastes must be isolated and are usually stored on-site. Radioactive waste Open dumps are being preplaced by landfills
Integrated Waste Management There is no single solution Use a variety of strategies for: waste reduction waste management • This includes the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Separating green waste from other wastes Limiting waste per household Collection Recycling Reducing waste or avoid use Integrated Waste Management • A program of idealized integrated waste management combines features of traditional waste managementwith new techniques to reduce and incinerate wastes. • Such schemes will form the basis of effective wastemanagement in the future. • Idealized management schemes for waste materialsprovide several tiers of processing. They provide astarting point for comparing how different waste productscould be processed or disposed of.
Integrated Waste Management Second Priority Last Priority First Priority Primary Pollution and Waste Prevention Secondary Pollution and Waste Prevention Waste Management • Change industrial process to eliminate use of harmful chemicals • Treat waste to reduce toxicity • Reuse products • Repair products • Incinerate waste • Bury waste in landfills • Recycle • Purchase different products • Compost • Release waste into environment for dispersal or dilution • Use less of a harmful product • Buy reusable recyclable products • Reduce packaging and materials in products We can manage the solid wastes we produce and reduce or prevent their production. • Make products that last longer and are recyclable, reusable, or easy to repair
Integrated Waste Management Components of Integrated Waste Management Processing and manufacturing Product consumption Products Waste separated at source Garden waste Paper Cans, jars, bottles Mixed waste Hazardous waste Initial processing for recyclingor reuse Compost Cans Plastics Glass Paper Hazardous waste management Virgin materials Landfill Incinerator
Solutions: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Reusable grocery bag • Refuse to buy items that are not really needed. • Reduce consumption by living simply and promoting the use of reusable containers like cloth grocery bags. • Reuse items that can be used over and over like refillable water bottles. • Repurpose items by using those items for another instead of throwing them away. • Recycle: paper, glass, aluminum, plastics and buy items made from recycled materials. • Rethink ways to educate, use new technology, or provide incentives of disincentives. Candy wrapper purse Recycled plastic bench
What Can You Do? Solid Waste • Follow the five Rs of resource use: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle. • Ask yourself whether you really need a particular item. • Rent, borrow, or barter goods and services when you can. • Buy things that are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and be sure to reuse, recycle, and compost them. • Do not use throwaway paper and plastic plates, cups and eating utensils, and other disposable items when reusable or refillable versions are available. • Refill and reuse a bottled water container with tap water. • Use e-mail in place of conventional paper mail. • Read newspapers and magazines online. • Buy products in concentrated form whenever possible. Fig. 22-6, p. 524
Packaging • Many packaging items are put into landfills, including boxes, packing peanuts, Styrofoam, shrink wrap, etc. • Try to buy things that are not as highly packaged. • Many companies use peanuts that are made from cellulose that can be washed down the drain and not put into landfills. • Reuse containers and buy smart!
Reuse • Reusing products is an important way to reduce resource use, waste, and pollution in developed countries. • Reusing can be hazardous in developing countries for poor who scavenge in open dumps. • They can be exposed to toxins or infectious diseases.
How People Reuse Materials • Children looking for materials to sell in an open dump near Manila in the Philippines. Figure 22-2
Case Study: Using Refillable Containers • Refilling and reusing containers uses fewer resources and less energy, produces less waste, saves money, and creates jobs. • In Denmark and Canada’s Price Edward’s Island there is a ban on all beverage containers that cannot be reused. • In Finland 95% of soft drink and alcoholic beverages are refillable (Germany 75%).
REUSE • Reducing resource waste: energy consumption for different types of 350-ml (12-oz) beverage containers. Figure 22-7
Solutions: Other Ways to Reuse Things • We can use reusable shopping bags, food containers, and shipping pallets, and borrow tools from tool libraries. • Many countries in Europe and Asia charge shoppers for plastic bags.
Recycling Definition • Conservation of resources by converting them into new product.
Recycling • Primary (closed loop) recycling: materials are turned into new products of the same type. • Secondary recycling: materials are converted into different products. • Used tires shredded and converted into rubberized road surface. • Newspapers transformed into cellulose insulation.
RECYCLING • To promote recycling and separation of wastes, 4,000 communities in the U.S. have implemented pay-as-you-throw or fee-per-bag waste collection systems.
RECYCLING • Composting biodegradable organic waste mimics nature by recycling plant nutrients to the soil. • Recycling paper has a number of environmental (reduction in pollution and deforestation, less energy expenditure) and economic benefits and is easy to do.
Recycling - General Purpose • Recycling saves land, reduces the amount of solid waste, energy consumption and pollution. • Ex. recycling one aluminum can saves the energy of about 6 oz. of gasoline.
Recycling - Benefits • Conserves our natural resources • Has a positive effect on the economy by generating jobs and revenues. • For example, the Sunday edition of the New York Times consumes 12,000 trees. • Currently, only about 20% of all paper in North America is recycled.
Recycling - Problems • Recycling does have environmental costs. • It uses energy and generates pollution. • Ex. the de-inking process in paper recycling requires energy, and produces a toxic sludge that contains heavy metals.
RECYCLING • Recycling many plastics is chemically and economically difficult. • Many plastics are hard to isolate from other wastes. • Recovering individual plastic resins does not yield much material. • The cost of virgin plastic resins in low than recycled resins due to low fossil fuel costs. • There are new technologies that are making plastics biodegradable.
REUSE & RECYCLING • Reuse and recycling are hindered by • prices of goods that do not reflect their harmful environmental & health effects associated with the product over its life cycle, • too few government subsidies and tax break: extracting industries receive more subsidies than recycling industries • price fluctuations – must create demand for recycled products
Trade-Offs Recycling Advantages Disadvantages Reduces air and water pollution Generating demand for recycled products Saves energy Reduces mineral demand May lose money for items such as glass and most plastic Reduces greenhouse gas emissions Reduces solid waste production and disposal Reduces profits from landfills and incinerators Helps protect biodiversity Can save money for items such as paper, metals, and some plastics Source separation is inconvenient for some people Important part of economy Fig. 22-9, p. 529
Biological Reprocessing • As the concern about landfill space increases, worldwide interest in recycling by means of composting is growing. • Compost is the organic materials from plants and animals that is converted into a useful stable product by aerobic decomposition. Compost generally: • Reduces the amount of organic material that is placed into landfills, including paper which constitutes the majority of MSW. • Aerates the soil, improves the soil’s ability to retain water and nutrients and helps prevent erosion. • Needs 6 to 12 inches of organic material, shade, water and aeration. Home composting being turned Compost piles can combust if not monitored
Composts - Definition • A sweet-smelling, dark-brown, humus-like material that is rich in organic material and soil nutrients. Compost heap Compost heap
Composts - Benefits • Aerates the soil. • Improves soil’s ability to retain water and nutrients. • Helps prevent erosion. • Prevents nutrients from being dumped in landfills.
Recycling - Organic • Comprise over 1/2 of the solid waste • Includes paper, yard debris, wood materials, bio-solids, food, manure and agricultural residues, land clearing debris, and mixed municipal organic waste. • Organic materials have been dumped in landfills or burned. Why not use them!
Metals • Precious metals like: Gold, lead, nickel, steel, copper, silver, zinc, and aluminum are recyclable. • World supply of rare metals will eventually run out
Glass • U.S. recycles about 36% of its glass containers. • It costs less to recycle glass than to make new glass. • Mixed color glass “cullet” is used for glassphalt, a glass/asphalt mixture.
Aluminum • This is the most recycled material in the U.S. because of $. • Making a new can from an old one requires a fraction of the energy than to make a new can from raw materials. • Approximately 2/3 of cans are recycled each year, saving 19 million barrels of oil annually.
Paper • U.S. currently recycles 40% of its paper and paperboard. • Denmark, recycles about 97% of its paper. • Many U.S. mills are not able to process waste paper. • Many countries like Mexico, import a large amount of wastepaper from the U.S. • We export about 19% of our recycled paper.
Nuclear Waste • The safe disposal of radioactive wastes is the problem. • Radioactive wastes must be stored in an isolated area where they can’t contaminate the environment. • It must have geological stability and little or no water flowing nearby. (Remember Yucca Mountain)