2 21-1 What Are Solid Waste and Hazardous Waste, and Why Are They Problems? Concept Solid waste contributes to pollution and represents the unnecessary consumption of resources; hazardous waste contributes to pollution as well as to natural capital degradation, health problems, and premature deaths.
3 We Throw Away Huge Amounts of Useful Things and Hazardous Materials (1) Solid wasteIndustrial solid wasteMines, farms, industriesMunicipal solid waste (MSW)“Trash”Hazardous waste (toxic waste)Threatens human health of the environmentOrganic compoundsToxic heavy metalsRadioactive waste
9 Municipal Solid Waste in the United States Leader in solid waste problemWhat is thrown away?Leader in trash production, by weight, per personApproximately 4.4 lbs. per person per day(recent NY Times article)Recycling is helping
10 Total and Per Capita Production of Municipal Solid Waste in the U.S. Figure 21.4: This graph shows the total and per capita production of municipal solid waste in the United States, 1960–2008. (Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)Fig. 21-4, p. 560
11 Hundreds of Millions of Discarded Tires in a Dump in Colorado Figure 21.5: Hundreds of millions of discarded tires have accumulated in this massive tire dump in Midway, Colorado (USA). Lehigh Technologies has developed a recycling method that uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the scrap tires, making them brittle. The rubber is then pulverized into a fine powder, which can be used in a variety of products such as paints, sealants, and coatings. A preventive approach to managing this waste would be to double the average lifetime of tires in order to reduce the number thrown away each year.Fig. 21-5, p. 561
12 Pay as you throwIn communities with pay-as-you-throw programs (also known as unit pricing or variable-rate pricing), residents are charged for the collection of municipal solid waste—ordinary household trash—based on the amount they throw away. This creates a direct economic incentive to recycle more and to generate less waste.Traditionally, residents pay for waste collection through property taxes or a fixed fee, regardless of how much—or how little—trash they generate. Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) breaks with tradition by treating trash services just like electricity, gas, and other utilities. Households pay a variable rate depending on the amount of service they use.Fort Worth, TX, proportion of households recycling:21% to 85%
13 21-2 How Should We Deal with Solid Waste? Concept A sustainable approach to solid waste is first to reduce it, then to reuse or recycle it, and finally to safely dispose of what is left.
14 We Can Burn or Bury Solid Waste or Produce Less of It Waste ManagementReduce harm, but not amountsWaste ReductionUse less and focus on reuse, recycle, compostIntegrated waste managementUses a variety of strategies
15 Integrated Waste Management: Priorities for Dealing with Solid Waste Figure 21.7: Integrated waste management: The U.S. National Academy of Sciences suggests these priorities for dealing with solid waste. To date, these waste-reduction priorities have not been followed in the United States or in most other countries. Instead, most efforts are devoted to waste management through disposal (bury it, burn it, or send it somewhere else). Question: Why do you think most countries do not follow these priorities, even though they are based on reliable science? (Data from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. National Academy of Sciences)Integrated waste management: The U.S. National Academy of Sciences suggests these priorities for dealing with solid waste. To date, these waste-reduction priorities have not been followed in the United States or in most other countries. Instead, most efforts re devoted to waste management through disposal (bury it, burn it, or send it somewhere else).Question: Why do you think most countries do not follow these priorities,even though they are based on reliable science?
16 NY Times article: The Side Effects of Consumerism
17 21-3 Why Are Reusing and Recycling Materials So Important? Concept Reusing items decreases the consumption of matter and energy resources, and reduces pollution and natural capital degradation; recycling does so to a lesser degree.
18 Reuse: Important Way to Reduce Solid Waste, Pollution, and Save Money Reuse: clean and use materials over and overDownside of reuse in developing countriesSalvaging poor exposed to toxinsFlea markets, yard sales, Goodwill, eBay, Craigslist, freecycle.orgRechargeable batteries
19 There Are Two Types of Recycling (1) Primary, closed-loop recyclingMaterials recycled into similarproductsSecondary recyclingMaterials converted to other products: tiresTypes of wastes that can be recycledPreconsumer: internal wastePostconsumer: external waste
20 There Are Two Types of Recycling (2) Do items actually get recycled?What are the numbers?
21 Case Study: Recycling Paper 55% of world’s tree harvest used to make paperPulp and paper industry 5th largest energy consumer, and uses more water per unit weight of product produced than any industry.Recycled paper:64% less energy35% less water pollution74% less air pollutionReplacement of chlorine-based bleaching chemicals with H2O2 or O2Total wastepaper recycling rates:United States: 50%Denmark: 97%South Korea: 77%
22 Case Study: Recycling Plastics Plastics: composed of resins created from oil and natural gasIn U.S., only about 4% (by weight) of all plastic wastes is recycled.Litter: beaches, oceansKills wildlifeGets into food chain and seafood
23 Trade-Offs: Recycling Figure 21.12: Recycling solid waste has advantages and disadvantages (Concept 21-3). Questions: Which single advantage and which single disadvantage do you think are the most important? Why?Fig , p. 569
24 We Can Encourage Reuse and Recycling (1) What hinders reuse and recycling?Market prices don’t include harmful costs associated with production, use, discardingRecycling industries get less favorable government treatment than large industries doPrices for recycled materials fluctuate
25 We Can Encourage Reuse and Recycling (2) GovernmentIncrease subsidies and tax breaks for using such productsDecrease subsidies and tax breaks for making items from virgin resourcesFee-per-bag collectionNew lawsCitizen pressure
26 21-4 The Advantages and Disadvantages of Burning or Burying Solid Waste Concept Technologies for burning and burying solid wastes are well developed, but burning contributes to air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and buried wastes eventually contribute to the pollution and degradation of land and water resources.
27 Solutions: A Waste-to-Energy Incinerator with Pollution Controls Figure 21.13: Solutions.A modern waste-to-energy incinerator with pollution controls burns mixed solid wastes and recovers some of the energy to produce steam to use for heating or producing electricity. Great Britain burns about 90% of its MSW in incinerators and Denmark burns about 54%, compared to 13% in the United States and 8% in Canada. To be economically feasible, incinerators must be fed huge volumes of trash every day. This encourages trash production and discourages reuse, recycling, and waste reduction. Questions: Would you invest in such a project? Why or why not?Fig , p. 571
28 Trade-Offs: Waste-to-Energy Incineration Figure 21.14: Waste-to-energy incineration of solid waste has advantages and disadvantages (Concept 21-4). These trade-offs also apply to the incineration of hazardous waste. Since 1985, more than 280 new incinerator projects have been delayed or canceled in the United States because of high costs, concern over air pollution, and intense citizen opposition. Questions: Which single advantage and which single disadvantage do you think are the most important? Why?Dioxins--Fact Sheet from W.H.O.Fig , p. 571
29 Burying Solid Waste Has Advantages and Disadvantages Open dumpsWidely used in less-developed countriesRare in developed countriesSanitary landfills
30 Solutions: State-of-the-Art Sanitary Landfill LeachateFigure 21.15: Solutions.A state-of-the-art sanitary landfill is designed to eliminate or minimize environmental problems that plague older landfills. Since 1997, only modern sanitary landfills have been permitted in the United States. As a result, many small, older landfills have been closed and replaced with larger local or regional landfills. Question: Some experts say that these landfills will eventually develop leaks and could emit toxic liquids. How do you think this could happen?Fig , p. 572
31 Trade-Offs: Sanitary Landfills Figure 21.16: Using sanitary landfills to dispose of solid waste has advantages and disadvantages (Concept 16-4). Questions: Which single advantage and which single disadvantage do you think are the most important? Why?Fig , p. 572
32 21-5 How Should We Deal with Hazardous Waste? Concept A sustainable approach to hazardous waste is first to produce less of it, then to reuse or recycle it, then to convert it to less hazardous materials, and finally, to safely store what is left.
33 Integrated Hazardous Waste Management Figure 21.17: Integrated hazardous waste management: The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has suggested these priorities for dealing with hazardous waste (Concept 21-5). Question: Why do you think that most countries do not follow these priorities? (Data from U.S. National Academy of Sciences)Fig , p. 573
34 Core Case Study: E-waste— An Exploding Problem (1) Electronic waste, e-waste: fastest growing solid waste problemMost ends up in landfills and incineratorsComposition includesHigh-quality plasticsValuable metalsToxic and hazardous pollutantsReadings for Thursday
35 We Can Detoxify Hazardous Wastes Collect and then detoxifyPhysical methodsChemical methodsUse nanomagnetsBioremediationPhytoremediationIncinerationUsing a plasma arc torch
36 Solutions: Phytoremediation Figure 21.18: Solutions.Phytoremediation involves using various types of plants that function as pollution sponges to clean up contaminants such as radioactive substances (left), organic compounds (center), and toxic metals (right) from soil and water. (Data from American Society of Plant Physiologists, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Edenspace)Fig , p. 575
37 Trade-Offs: Plasma Arc Figure 21.19: Using a plasma arc torch to detoxify hazardous wastes has advantages and disadvantages. Questions: Which single advantage and which single disadvantage do you think are the most important? Why?Fig , p. 576
38 We Can Store Some Forms of Hazardous Waste (1) Burial on land or long-term storageLast resort onlyDeep-well disposal64% of hazardous liquid wastes in the U.S.
39 Trade-Offs: Deep-Well Disposal Figure 21.20: Injecting liquid hazardous wastes into deep underground wells has advantages and disadvantages. Questions: Which single advantage and which single disadvantage do you think are the most important? Why?Fig , p. 576
40 We Can Store Some Forms of Hazardous Waste (2) Surface impoundmentsLined ponds or pitsSecure hazardous landfills
41 Surface Impoundment in Niagara Falls, New York Figure 21.21: This surface impoundment for storing liquid hazardous wastes is located in Niagara Falls, New York (USA). Such sites can pollute the air and nearby ground water and surface water.Fig , p. 577
42 Trade-Offs Surface Impoundments Figure 21.22: Storing liquid hazardous wastes in surface impoundments has advantages and disadvantages. Questions: Which single advantage and which single disadvantage do you think are the most important? Why?Fig , p. 577
43 Solutions: Secure Hazardous Waste Landfill Figure 21.23: Solutions.This diagram shows how hazardous wastes can be isolated and stored in a secure hazardous waste landfill.Fig , p. 577
44 What Can You Do? Hazardous Waste Figure 21.24: Individuals matter.You can reduce your output of hazardous wastes (Concept 21-5). Questions: Which two of these measures do you think are the most important? Why?Fig , p. 578
45 Case Study: Hazardous Waste Regulation in the United States (1) 1976: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)Congress enacted RCRA to address the increasing problems the nation faced from its growing volume of municipal and industrial waste. RCRA amended the Solid Waste Disposal Act of It set national goals for:Protecting human health and the natural environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal.Energy conservation and natural resources.Reducing the amount of waste generated, through source reduction and recyclingEnsuring the management of waste in an environmentally sound manner.It is now most widely known for the regulations promulgated under RCRA that set standards for the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste in the United States.Cradle to graveCovers only 5% of hazardous wastes
46 Case Study: Hazardous Waste Regulation in the United States (2) 1980: Comprehensive Environmental, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)National Priorities List2010: 1300 sites340 sites cleaned so farPace of cleanup has slowedSuperfund is brokeBrownfields properties whose expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off green spaces and working lands.
48 21-6 How Can We Make the Transition to a More Sustainable Low-Waste Society? Concept Shifting to a low-waste society requires individuals and businesses to reduce resource use and to reuse and recycle wastes at local, national, and global levels.
49 Grassroots Action Has Led to Better Solid and Hazardous Waste Management “Not in my backyard”Produce less waste“Not in anyone’s backyard”“Not on planet Earth”
50 Providing Environmental Justice for Everyone Is an Important Goal Everyone is entitled to protection from environmental hazardsWhich communities in the U.S. have the largest share of hazardous waste dumps?Environmental discrimination
51 International Treaties Have Reduced Hazardous Waste (1) Basel Convention1992: in effect1995 amendment: bans all transfers of hazardous wastes from industrialized countries to less-developed countries2009: Ratified by 195 countries, but not the United States
52 International Treaties Have Reduced Hazardous Waste (2) In 2000, delegates from 122 countries completed a global treaty in Stockholm to phase out the “dirty dozen” Persistent Organic Compounds (POPS).EPA: “Though the United States is not yet a Party to the Stockholm Convention, the Convention has played a prominent role in the control of harmful chemicals on both a national and global level. For example, EPA and the states have significantly reduced the release of dioxins and furans to land, air, and water from U.S. sources. In addition to assessing dioxins, EPA has also been working diligently on the reduction of DDT from global sources.”Everyone on earth has POPs in blood
53 We Can Make the Transition to Low-Waste Societies Norway, Austria, and the NetherlandsCommitted to reduce resource waste by 75%East Hampton, NY, U.S.Reduced solid waste by 85%Follow guidelines to prevent pollution and reduce waste
54 Three Big IdeasThe order of priorities for dealing with solid waste should be to produce less of it, reuse and recycle as much of it as possible, and safely dispose of what is left.The order of priorities for dealing with hazardous waste should be to produce less of it, reuse or recycle it, convert it to less hazardous material, and safely store what is left.
55 Three Big IdeasWe need to view solid wastes as wasted resources and hazardous wastes as materials that we should not be producing in the first place.