Integrated Waste Management

Lecture 6 : Introduction (Contd.)
Lecture 6 : Introduction (Contd.)

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Integrated Waste Management
Reduce, Reuse & Recycle Personalize this page. This presentation is about using a variety of practices to handle municipal solid waste.

Integrated Solid Waste Management:
Image: Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Everyone’s heard of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Where did that come from and why in that particular order? The term comes from the Solid Waste Management Hierarchy, which specifies the preferred order of various methods to manage solid waste. References: Integrated Solid Waste Management: A set of plans to manage solid waste Adopted by many governments A means of achieving sustainability

Why Manage Waste? Conserves resources & energy
Reduces water & air pollution Saves landfill space Waste = Food In nature there is no waste Cradle to cradle design Product components are recyclable or biodegradable Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) or Product Stewardship Resources and energy are used (and pollution is created), during the extraction, manufacture, distribution, maintenance and disposal of products. Waste can be reduced or eliminated with “Cradle to Cradle” design rather than the status quo of “Cradle to Grave.” Interface Carpets, Nike, Ford Motor Company, and Xerox are some companies involved in cradle to cradle design strategies. EPR or Product Stewardship means reducing the environmental impact of products. Examples: Computer take-back programs where computer components are reused or reprocessed; bottle-bill legislation where you pay a deposit on beverage bottles that can be redeemed after use. Reference: “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things” written by designer, William McDonough and chemist, Michael Braungart.

Total US MSW Generation 2008 (by material) EPA
Each American produces about 4.5 pounds of waste per day. This chart breaks down waste by material (before recycling and composting). Over the past 30 years, the percentage of plastics has grown; glass & metals are decreasing. About 57% of all generated waste is biodegradable (yard trimmings, food scraps, paper). 24 states and hundreds of municipalities now ban yard waste from landfills. Approximately 32% of municipal solid waste is recycled in the US. The Dept of Environmental Quality estimates about 10% of municipal solid waste is recycled in Oklahoma, however, no state records are kept at this time. Reference: EPA (2008) – recycling and composting rates do not include hazardous, industrial, and construction waste.

Source Reduction Source Reduction or “Reduce” is the most preferred method of waste management. Notice that this method is preferred over recycling. Image: Fairfax County Solid Waste Management

Source Reduction or “Reduce”
Preferred method: Prevents the generation of waste in the first place Manufacturer: Decrease materials/energy used during manufacturing/distribution Consumer: Purchase items with minimal packaging, avoid disposable products Includes backyard composting Typically called “source reduction” when done by the manufacturer and “reduce” when done by the consumer. Manufacturer examples: Beverage cans made using a lighter gauge of aluminum; smaller computers, phones, and other electronics; development of concentrated forms of detergent, etc.; reduction of packaging materials; substitution of latex rather than lead paint. Other examples? Consumer examples: Purchase items in bulk; purchase concentrated forms and refill systems; avoid single-serve containers; make double-sided copies; reduce the purchase of unnecessary items and borrow or rent rather than purchasing when possible. Other examples? Backyard composting of yard trimmings & food scraps is reduction (or reuse) because it keeps these items out of the waste stream (not collected at curb). PAYT (Pay-As-You-Throw) refuse programs provide a financial incentive to reduce, reuse, recycle. Households are charged based on the weight or volume of waste they put out at the curb rather than a flat fee. EPA definition of Source Reduction: the design, manufacture, purchase, or use of materials to reduce their quantity or toxicity before they reach the waste stream including minimizing the production of wastes during any step in the creation or use of a product.

Reuse Reuse is the next preferred method of waste management. Notice that this method also is preferred over recycling. Image: Fairfax County Solid Waste Management

Reuse Prolonging a product’s usable life
Repairing items, selling them or donating them to charity Using durable rather than disposable items (i.e. reusable shopping bags, metal spoons) Preferable to recycling because item does not need to be collected/reprocessed Items that can be reused many times: Furniture, books, clothing, linens, jars/bottles, packaging, household items, paper, toys. Other examples? Compare the waste impact of disposable vs. durable goods: shopping bags, cutlery, serving ware, razors, etc. (cutlery example on next slide). Note: Very few plastics are recyclable. The numbers on the bottom of plastic containers indicate the resin used to make the plastic. Although, plastic containers and packaging numbered 1-7 are potentially recyclable, most programs only accept #1 & #2 (clear bottles and milk jugs). Clean plastic packaging (such as the Styrofoam blocks around electronic equipment) is sometimes recycled. Plastic cutlery and serving ware are not recycled anywhere in the US. The collection and reprocessing of goods to be recycled is a costly endeavor, which is one reason why reduce and reuse are preferred.

Metal vs. Plastic Spoon Cost to Purchase: 50 cents for metal vs. one cent for plastic Cost to Produce & Maintain: Resources (metal, petroleum, water, chemicals, etc.) Energy used (in extraction, manufacturing, transportation) External Costs: Pollution (during extraction, manufacturing, transportation) Disposal (landfill, incineration, litter clean-up) Savings from repetitive use of metal spoon: Priceless! One student in school about 200 days per year for 12 years may use 3 metal utensil vs. 7,200 plastic ones ($1.50 vs. $72. plus external costs).

Recycle Finally, when we cannot reuse an item any longer, it may be recycled if programs are available (see previous note about plastics). Typical community recycling programs accept: paper, cardboard, glass bottles & jars, aluminum cans, tin cans, and plastic #1 & #2. Other programs may accept scrap metal, antifreeze, motor oil, vegetable oil/fat, batteries, electronics, printer cartridges, tires, textiles and other items. Image: Fairfax County Solid Waste Management

Recycle Taking a product at the end of its useful life and using all or part of it to make another product Benefits: Saves energy, natural resources, and landfill space, reduces pollution, creates jobs and useful products Requires collection, processing, remanufac- turing and purchase (Close the Loop!) EPA estimates 75% of our waste is recyclable The benefits of recycling: Fewer resources are used to make products from recycled feedstock rather than virgin materials; use of non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels, is reduced; less pollution is produced by using recycled feedstock vs. extraction of raw materials; generally less energy is used to make products from recycled feedstock compared to raw materials; less landfill space and less incineration required; many more jobs are created with recycling as opposed to disposal. Collection of recyclables is costly and one of the reasons reduce and reuse are preferred waste management methods. If we are not buying products made with recycled content, we are NOT recycling. Recycling is a cycle or loop. Pre-consumer recycled content: from “waste” trimmings incorporated into a product by the manufacturer before it gets to the consumer. Post-consumer recycled content: from products used by the consumer, collected in a recycle program, and re-processed by the manufacturer. Municipal composting must be collected so it’s considered recycling, whereas backyard composting is considered reducing or reusing.

Waste Disposal Last in the Hierarchy
In the world of INTEGRATED Waste Management, disposal is the last resort. Methods are resource recovery, incineration, and landfilling. Image: Fairfax County Solid Waste Management

Waste Disposal Resource Recovery
Resource Recovery (AKA Waste-to-Energy): Waste is burned to produce energy Preferred to landfilling – reduces bulk of municipal waste to ash and provides energy Downsides: Some items may be difficult to burn or cause potentially harmful emissions Strict regulatory restrictions and high environmental and economic costs Incineration reduces the volume of waste by up to 90% (resulting ash must still be landfilled). Oklahoma has one Waste-to-Energy facility (in Tulsa). Glass & metals are typically removed before incineration to extend furnace and processing equipment life. Hazardous waste is removed as well as it can be. Although pollution controls are strict, some pollution does occur, especially in the burning of plastics and hazardous waste. The environmental and human health impact of this pollution is known, however, we may not fully understand the extent of this impact.

Waste Disposal Incineration & Landfilling
Strict regulatory restrictions and high environmental and economic costs Items barely decompose in a modern landfill Landfills face capacity restrictions NIMBY syndrome Regular incineration (with out energy capture) and landfilling are also expensive and have environmental and human health consequences. Modern landfills are now built much like tombs to keep leachate (liquid that drains through the waste) out of ground water. As a result, waste decomposes at a very slow rate (due to lack of air and sunlight). Once a landfill reaches capacity it must be closed and monitored for 30 years or longer. Methane gas must be now be collected from landfills and can be used to generate energy, but is usually just burned off. NIMBY: Not in my backyard! Who wants a landfill or incinerator in their neighborhood? Note: Backyard burn barrels have no pollution controls and are more hazardous to human health now than during previous generations because of the additional amounts of plastics, chemicals, and hazardous waste in our garbage.

Recycling/reuse saves precious resources & energy
Image: Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Key “Take-away” points. Resource depletion, pollution and landfills are not the legacy we want to leave to future generations Recycling/reuse saves precious resources & energy Best solution is to reduce waste in the first place

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