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Breaking the Mercury Cycle Session 7: Collection Programs for Mercury-Added Products - May 2, 2002 - Boston, MA Gail Savina Communications Specialist Local.

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Presentation on theme: "Breaking the Mercury Cycle Session 7: Collection Programs for Mercury-Added Products - May 2, 2002 - Boston, MA Gail Savina Communications Specialist Local."— Presentation transcript:

1 Breaking the Mercury Cycle Session 7: Collection Programs for Mercury-Added Products - May 2, Boston, MA Gail Savina Communications Specialist Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County Nickerson St. #100 Seattle, WA

2 Managing Mercury Waste in King County, Washington Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County Gail Savina

3 King County facts Population = 1,710,000 Landfills solid waste Land applies biosolids County regulates CESQG waste

4 Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County Funded by surcharge on sewer and garbage accounts (household and commercial); $10 million/year Sophisticated communication tools - ads, radio, print Technical assistance visits - 30 field staff Business recognition program: EnviroStars Voucher rebate program

5 Dental Project: present

6 Background: Problem: mercury spikes - early 90s Findings: 1500 dentists discharge 14% of mercury entering WWTP, or 50 lb/yr. (Current estimate is %). Solution: propose local rule mandating amalgam separation equipment Upshot: strong resistance results in voluntary program to promote separators and proper management of amalgam

7 Barriers to behavior change Knowledge: dentists think that amalgam waste = infectious waste. Norms: No one else has a separator. Infrastructure: no haulers are willing to service dentists.

8 Voluntary Program, Provide information - e.g. poster, ads Work with local dental society and waste haulers Promote EnviroStars-ceritified dentists Work with dental supply houses, dental assistants and hygienists Use voucher rebate money to stimulate spending Do technical assistance visits (currently 600)

9 Ads Ads focus on keeping dental waste out of the red bag. This ad runs each month in the local dental journal.

10 EnviroStars More than 50 dentists were certified by the county as EnviroStars and promoted in the media.

11 Summary of voluntary phase Ran 7 years Cost ? $20,000 - $50,000/year? Involved county staff, dental society, dental supply houses, colleges Goal: 100 amalgam separators installed (1000 potential offices) Goal: majority of offices use proper BMPs for scrap amalgam, chairside traps and pump filters

12 Amalgam waste disposal, % illegally disposed Amalgam scrap (n = 160)27 Chairside traps (n = 172)53 Vacuum pump filters (n = 143)56

13 Amalgam separators installed, 94-00

14 Mandatory program: present King County local discharge limits for mercury = 0.2 ppm July 2000: letter to all dental offices discharging to King County WWTP Deadline: July 1, 2002 for new offices July 1, 2003 for existing offices What it means: office must a) install amalgam separator or prove it meets limits without a separator; b) follow BMPs for amalgam waste.

15 July - Dec 2001 No resistance from local dental society (despite pressure from state association and ADA) Society-sponsored dinner and trade show showcasing approved amalgam separators (Nov 01). Sold out. County approved 8 amalgam separators Purchase of amalgam separators --->

16 Amalgam separators installed, King Co. dental offices # officescumul. #% incr % Jan 01 - June % Letter mailed June 01 July 01 - Dec %

17 What did we learn? Regulations alone generate resistance. Voluntary program alone is not sufficient. In this case, the voluntary program laid groundwork for acceptance of mandated (regulated) behavior. Office visits + voucher rebates have biggest effect in persuading dentists to purchase separators. Information alone was not sufficient.

18 Fluorescent Lamp Recycling present

19 Project rationale: Why lamps? Opportunistic: State adds lamps to Universal Waste - May 2000 Feasibility: solution to the problem exists Demand: property managers cite lamps as one of top three wastes Strategic: lamp initiative offers chance to build alliances

20 Extent of problem Use figures for total lamps manufactured in US and EPA disposal estimates. Based on King County population ratios: million waste lamps/year 3 million (80%) go to landfill lbs mercury from lamps go to solid waste stream each year

21 Fluorescent lamp recycling project First step: coordinated regulatory approach Pull together a task force of those involved: Regulators - state and county Landfill operators (city and county) Waste Haulers Lighting contractors/facility managers Lamp recyclers and manufacturers Utilities

22 Fluorescent lamp recycling project Key audiences Electric utilities: piggyback lamp recycling onto utility lighting retrofit project Lighting contractors Property and facility managers CESQGs doing retrofits

23 Fluorescent lamp recycling project Barriers to behavior change Habit: 90% dont recycle lamps Cost Lack of knowledge Mixed messages Confusion about vendors Lack of enforcement Universal Waste Rule doesnt automatically change behavior.

24 Fluorescent lamp recycling project Tools Visits Vouchers Web site Outreach: articles, ads and workshops

25 Fluorescent lamp recycling project Results: Lamps recycled by two recycling firms: % growth 4 ft658,614884,043 34% 8 ft 96,492116,958 21% All755,1061,001,001 33%

26 Fluorescent lamp recycling project What did we learn? Regulations alone arent sufficient, especially if they arent enforced. Office visits + voucher rebates have biggest effect in persuading small businesses to recyle lamps

27 Fluorescent lamp recycling project Contact for lamp project: Susan McDonald Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County Web site:


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