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Part Five, Issue 15 Mountain of Trash: Are They Sustainable.

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Presentation on theme: "Part Five, Issue 15 Mountain of Trash: Are They Sustainable."— Presentation transcript:

1 Part Five, Issue 15 Mountain of Trash: Are They Sustainable

2 Objectives After reading the assigned chapter and reviewing the materials presented the students will be able to understand: What issues are involved with construction and demolition (C & D) waste? What happens to the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) ? To what extent is waste consistent with sustainability?

3 C & D (Construction & Demolition) Waste A proposed incinerator in Athens, Maine could burn up to 150 tons a day of plastic and up to 45,000 pounds a day of arsenic treated wood. This would require 275 dump truck round trips to bring waste to Athens. Local activists argue that Maine has the highest asthma rate in the United States. The county is rated among the worst 20% of counties in the United States for air releases of identified carcinogens.

4 Pressure Treated Wood Pressure treated wood contains CCA (chromated copper arsenate), a wood preservative containing chromium, copper and arsenic. CCA is used to protect wood from insects and microbes. CCA is a very toxic substance. Arsenic is a known human carcinogen. Since the 1970’s, the majority of wood used in outdoor residential construction has been CCA treated wood.

5 Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Even though MSW is increasing every year, two thirds of the nation’s MSW landfills have closed since 1980 as regulations governing disposal of MSW radically tightened. The number of landfills dropped from 8000 in 1988 to 2071 by From 1986 to 1996 construction of incinerators (“waste to energy” facilities) mushroomed, and recycling grew as well. Over the past decade, incinerators have been shunned because of high construction and operating costs, as well as environmental concerns about air quality.

6 Solid Waste Transport Today it is common for waste from New York City to be transported 1,000 km for disposal in huge commercial landfills in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and other states. The CRS (Congressional Research Service) reports that of the 236 million tons of MSW generated in 2003, at least 39 million tons were transported across state or national boundaries for dumping. Transportation costs alone (not including disposal) amount to over $ 500 million.

7 Supreme Court Ruling on Garbage Without congressional authorization, states do not have the right to ban waste shipments nor can they impose fees that discriminate based on the origin of waste disposal from another state. Trash hauling has become a bonanza for some railroads and barge companies. Most trash is still hauled by trucks.

8 Waste Disposal Costs The EPA estimates the total cost of MSW disposal to be $ 100 per ton in The alternatives to land filling, incineration, and recycling waste are waste reduction and reuse. The European Union is formulating regulations that will require manufacturers to take back items when the consumer is finished with them.

9 E-Waste E-waste includes cell phones, televisions, computers, DVD machines, copy machines, etc. Electronic waste is less than 4% of the total solid waste stream, but is the fastest growing category of waste in the United States. Cell phones and their batteries contain potentially toxic materials. 20 to 50 million tons of electronics are discarded in the United States each year. Many electronic manufacturers provide some type of recycling program.

10 Summary Pressure treated wood contains CCA (chromated copper arsenate), a wood preservative containing chromium, copper and arsenic. CCA is a very toxic substance. Arsenic is a known human carcinogen. Even though MSW is increasing every year, two thirds of the nation’s MSW landfills have closed since 1980 as regulations governing disposal of MSW radically tightened. From 1986 to 1996 construction of incinerators (“waste to energy” facilities) mushroomed, and recycling grew as well. The CRS (Congressional Research Service) reports that of the 236 million tons of MSW generated in 2003, at least 39 million tons were transported across state or national boundaries for dumping. Without congressional authorization, states do not have the right to ban waste shipments nor can they impose fees that discriminate based on the origin of waste disposal from another state. The alternatives to land filling, incineration, and recycling waste are waste reduction and reuse. E-waste includes cell phones, televisions, computers, DVD machines, copy machines, etc.

11 Home Work 1. What is the problem with pressure treated wood? 2. Why have incinerators been shunned?


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