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Chapter 16 Waste Generation and Waste Disposal.  Until a society becomes relatively wealthy, it generates little waste.  Every object that no longer.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 16 Waste Generation and Waste Disposal.  Until a society becomes relatively wealthy, it generates little waste.  Every object that no longer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 16 Waste Generation and Waste Disposal

2  Until a society becomes relatively wealthy, it generates little waste.  Every object that no longer serves it original purpose becomes useful for something else.  1900s US – Junk dealers or scrap metal dealers – no one called it recycling back then  After World War II – rapid population growth in US led to increased consumption patterns  Increasing industrialization and wealth, as well as cultural changes, made it possible for people to purchase household conveniences that could be used and thrown away.  Planned Obsolescence – the design of a product so that it will need to be replaced within a few years  Everything from toasters to cars  TV dinners, throw-away napkins, disposable plates and forks  United States became the leader of what came to be known as a “throw-away society.”  Planned obsolescence – most significant contributor to this. The Throw Away Society

3  Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) - Refuse collected by municipalities from households, small businesses, and institutions such as schools, prisons, municipal buildings and hospitals.  Residences – 60%  Commercial – 40%  Waste generation varies by season of the year, socioeconomic status of the individual, and geographic location within the country. Municipal Solid Waste

4 Containers and packaging comprise the greatest amount of MSW

5  Electronic waste (E-waste) televisions, computers, cell phones that contain toxic metals.  Older cathode-ray tube (CRT) television or computer monitors contains 1-2 kg (2.2-4.4 lbs) of the heavy metal lead as well as other toxic metals such as mercury and cadmium.  Costs more to recycle a computer than put it in a landfill  In US, most electronic devices are not designed to be easily dismantled after they are discarded.  Much E-waste from US is exported to China where adults and children separate valuable metals using fire and acids with no protective clothing or respiratory gear. E-Waste

6  Reduce- waste minimization or prevention  Source reduction – seeks to reduce waste by reducing, in the early stages of design and manufacture, the use of materials – toxic and otherwise – destined to become MSW.  A company that produces laundry detergent switches from distributing its product in plastic bottles to instead using flexible pouches that require 84% less packaging.  Reuse- reusing something like a disposable cup more than once  Flea markets, eBay, Craigslist, and Freecycle Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

7  Recycle- materials are collected and converted into raw materials and then used to produce new objects  Closed-loop recycling – recycling of a product into the same product  Aluminum cans  Open-loop recycling – one product (plastic soda bottles) Is recycled into another product (polar fleece jackets).  Avoids sending materials to the landfill, but does not reduce demand for raw materials (ex. Petroleum), to make new bottles  Single stream or zero-sort recycling – allow residents to mix all types of recyclables in one container.  Sorting facility workers sort materials in categories that are in the greatest demand at a given time and offer greatest economic return.  Pine Grove Area School District - The recycling collected at your school goes to a transfer station in Coal Township. There it is loaded into a 53 foot trailer and transported to a facility in Philadelphia.  One of the greatest problems with recycling – there is not always a market for recycled goods Reduce, Reuse, Recycle



10  Compost- organic material that has decomposed under controlled conditions to produce an organic-rich material.  Roughly 33% of current MSW could be composted  Benefits of Composting:  reduced volume of material ending up in a landfill  generation of rich organic fertilizer  reduced amount of methane generated in landfills  reduced amount of energy needed to transport material to a landfill Composting

11  Sanitary landfills- engineered ground facilities designed to hold MSW with as little contamination of the surrounding environment as possible.  Primary method of disposal for MSW in US  Constructed with clay or plastic lining at the bottom  Clay used because it can stop water flow and retain positively charged ions, like metals.  Pipes constructed to collect leachate and methane  Methane could be extracted and used as fuel or burned off  Leachate- the water that leaches through the solid waste and removes various chemical compounds with which it comes into contact.  Could be extracted and transported to a wastewater treatment facility  Cover of soil and slay, called a cap, installed when landfill reaches capacity.  MSW periodically compacted into cells – reduces the volume of solid waste – increases capacity of landfill.  Closed landfill can be reclaimed – planted with shallow-rooted plants – parks, playgrounds, golf courses  Tipping fees – each truck put on a scale, and after MSW is weighed it is tipped into the landfill  Reimburses construction fee of landfill Landfills


13  Should be located in a soil rich in clay to reduce the migration of contaminants.  Located away from rivers, streams, and other bodies of water and drinking water supplies.  Far from population centers, however, as distance increases so does amount of energy required  Regional landfills becoming more common – greatest economic advantage  Siting – designation of a location – always controversial and sometimes politically charged  Unsightliness and odor  Have been the source of considerable environmental injustice  NIMBY – “Not-in-my-backyard” attitude – People with financial resources or political influence  02240057/Exxon-Mobil-CEO-fracking 02240057/Exxon-Mobil-CEO-fracking  A site may be chosen not because it meets safety criteria but because its neighbors lack the resources to mount a convincing opposition. Choosing a Sanitary Landfill Site

14  Always a possibility that leachate will contaminate waterways.  EPA estimates that virtually all landfills in the US have some leaching.  When waste is compacted into cells and covered with soil, all the oxygen is used up. Anaerobic decomposition begins, which generates methane and CO 2 – both greenhouse gases.  Methane also creates an explosion hazard – landfills are vented so methane does not accumulate  Professor William Rathje – University of Arizona – used bucket auger to obtain information on the decomposition rates of MSW in landfills.  Found newspapers with headlines still legible 40 years after being deposited in landfills.  Decomposition only takes place where correct mixture of air, moisture, and organic matter are present – most landfills do not contain this and will probably remain the sizes they were when capped. Problems with Landfills


16  Incineration- the process of burning waste materials to reduce its volume and mass and sometimes to generate electricity and heat.  Waste heat and fly ash formed as byproducts of incineration.  Ash – residual nonorganic material that does not combust during incineration  Bottom ash – collected underneath the furnace  Fly ash – residue collected beyond the furnace  Disposal of the ash is determined by concentration of toxic metals – lead and cadmium  If deemed safe could be used as fill in road construction or as an ingredient in cement blocks and cement flooring  Incineration of certain materials (plastic) could release acidic gases such as hydrogen chloride (HCl), which are recovered in a scrubber, neutralized and disposed of in a landfill.  Waste heat – when heat generated by incineration is used rather than released to the atmosphere it is called a waste-to- energy system. Incineration

17  High tipping fees to cover construction and operation.  Raises NIMBY and environmental justice issues  May release pollutants, such as organic compounds from incomplete combustion of plastics and metals.  Expensive to build so they require large quantities of daily MSW to be profitable.  May not completely burn all waste  Plant operators can monitor oxygen and temperature of the burn – everything lumped together – difficult for uniform burn Incineration Problems


19  Hazardous waste- liquid, solid, gaseous, or sludge waste material that is harmful to humans or ecosystems.  According to EPA, over 20,000 hazardous waste generators in the US produce about 40 million tons of hazardous waste/year.  By-product of industrial processes such as textile production, machinery cleaning, computer manufacturing, small businesses (dry cleaners), automobile service stations, and small farms.  Collection sites for hazardous waste must be staffed with specially trained personnel.  Hazardous waste must be treated before disposal. Hazardous Waste

20  Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)- designed to reduce or eliminate hazardous waste. Also know as “cradle-to-grave” tracking.  RCRA ensures that hazardous waste is tracked and properly disposed of.  Main goal is to protect human health and the natural environment by reducing or eliminating the generation of hazardous waste. Laws

21  Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)- also know as “Superfund”.  Puts a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries. This revenue is used to cleanup abandoned and nonoperating hazardous waste sites where a responsible party cannot be found.  Requires the federal government to respond directly to the release of substance that may pose a threat to human health or the environment  EPA maintains the National Priorities List (NPL) of contaminated site eligible for cleanup funds.  October 2010 – 1,282 Superfund sites – one in every state except North Dakota  NJ has 114 followed by CA and PA with the next highest number.   Love Canal, NY  Laws

22  Contaminated industrial or commercial sites that may require environmental cleanup before they can be redeveloped or expanded.  Old factories, industrial areas and waterfronts, dry cleaners, gas stations, landfills, and rail yards are some examples.  Seattle’s Gasworks Park – previously used as a coal and oil gasification plant – purchased by the city in 1962 to rehabilitate the site into a park.  Underwent chemical abatement and environmental cleanup – now distinctive landmark for the city  Criticized as an inadequate solution – managed entirely by state and local governments – varies widely between regions  Lacks legal liability controls to compel polluters to rehabilitate their properties  Without legal recourse many brownfields sites remain unused and contaminated Brownfields elds/success/sslocat.htm

23  Difficult to dispose of – hazardous waste often sent to countries with less stringent regulations  Garbage and ash barges travel the oceans looking for a developing country willing to accept hazardous waste from the US in exchange for cash payment.  Khian Sea – cargo vessel that left Philadelphia in 1986 with almost 13,000 metric tons of hazardous ash from an incinerator.  Traveled to a number of countries in the Caribbean – some ash dumped in Haiti, some dumped in the ocean  In 1996, US ordered that the ash be retrieved and removed from Haiti and returned to the US  Held at a dock in FL – ash was deemed nonhazardous by the EPA and in 2002 was placed in a landfill in Franklin County, PA – not far from its source of origin. International Consequences

24  Life-cycle Analysis – an important systems tool that looks at the materials used and released throughout the lifetime of a product – from the procurement of raw materials through their manufacture, use, and disposal.  Often called cradle-to-grave analysis  Paper vs. Styrofoam cup in opening story  Life Cycle Analysis

25  A method that seeks to develop as many options as possible, to reduce environmental harm and cost.  Reduction, recycling, composting, landfills, and incineration are some ways IWM is utilized.  Behavior related to use and disposal is considered and possibly altered in order to obtain the desired outcome – LESS GENERATION OF MSW.  Volkswagen – manufactures some of its cars so that they can be easily taken apart and materials of different composition easily separated to allow recycling.  cts/recycling.html cts/recycling.html Integrated Waste Management

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