Being Smart About Being Green

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Being Smart About Being Green

  1. 1. Being Smart About Being Green
  2. 2. BACKGROUND : RECYCLING
  3. 3. Recycling • Processing used materials into new products in order to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfills) by reducing the need for quot;conventionalquot; waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to virgin production. • Recycling is a key component of modern waste management and is the third component of the waste hierarchy.
  4. 4. Recyclable Materials Glass • Paper • Metal • Plastic • Textiles • Electronics •
  5. 5. Process of Recycling • Collection – Drop-off centers – Buy-back centers – Curbside collection • Sorting – Based on material and color • Cleaning • Reprocessing
  6. 6. History of Recycling • Advocates date as far back as Plato in 400 BC. • In pre-industrial times, scrap bronze and other metals in Europe were melted down for perpetual reuse. • In the 1970s, due to rising energy costs. • Woodbury, New Jersey was the first city in the entire United States to mandate recycling. • In 1987, the Mobro 4000 barge hauled garbage from New York to North Carolina; where it was denied. Returning to New York the garbage was incinerated. – is often referred to as igniting the recycling hysteria of the 1990s.
  7. 7. CRITICISMS OF RECYCLING
  8. 8. Saves Energy • The Energy Information Administration (EIA) stated on its website that “a paper mill uses 40 % less energy to make paper from recycled paper than it does to make paper from fresh lumber.” • It can take more energy to produce recycled products than it does to dispose of them in traditional landfill methods. – i.e., Curbside Collection - done by a 2nd truck – Proponents of recycling - it takes a 2nd truck to drive the lumber
  9. 9. Saves Energy • How much energy is used in recycling depends largely on the type of material being recycled and the process used to do so. • Aluminum cans are the only recyclable material that save energy. – The EPA states that quot;recycling aluminum cans […] saves 95 % of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from its virgin source, bauxite.quot;
  10. 10. Saves Energy • Proponents Arguments – Calculating using life cycle assessment finds that recycled paper uses less energy and water than harvesting, pulping, processing, and transporting virgin trees. – By using less recycled paper, additional energy is needed to create and maintain farmed forests until these forests are as self- sustainable as virgin forests.
  11. 11. Saves Energy • Public policy analyst James V. DeLong points out that recycling is a manufacturing process and many of the methods use more energy than they save. – These processes need to be more efficient than production from original raw material and/or traditional garbage disposal in order for recycling to be the superior method. • Economist Steven Landsburg has suggested that the sole benefit of reducing landfill space is trumped by the energy needed and resulting pollution from the recycling process.
  12. 12. Landfills • Sites for the disposal of Trash materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment. • Types: – Pit: filling existing holes in the ground, typically left behind by mining – Canyon: filling in naturally occurring valleys or canyons – Mound: piling the waste up above the ground
  13. 13. Landfills • The construction of a landfill requires a staged approach. To be commercially and environmentally viable a landfill must be constructed in accord with specific requirements, which are related to: – Easy access to road transportation – Transfer stations if rail network is preferred – Land value: price to purchase – Cost of meeting government requirements – Location of community served
  14. 14. Landfills • Stability – Underlying geology – Nearby earthquake faults – Water table – Location of nearby rivers, streams, and flood plains • Nuisances and hazards management
  15. 15. Landfills • Capacity – The available void space must be calculated by comparison of the landform with a proposed restoration profile. – This calculation of capacity is based on: • Density of the wastes • Amount of intermediate and daily cover • Amount of settlement that the waste will undergo following tipping • Thickness of capping • Construction of lining and drainage layers
  16. 16. Landfills • Protection of soil and water through: Installation of liner and collection systems. – Storm water control – Leachate management – Landfill gas migration – • Costs – Feasibility studies – Site after care – Site investigations • costs involved may make small sites uneconomical – Site respect
  17. 17. Landfills • Non hazardous waste landfills need to meet predefined specifications. • In order to meet them, waste is: – Confined to as small an area as possible. – Compacted to reduce their volume. – Covered (usually daily) with layers of soil.
  18. 18. Landfills
  19. 19. Landfills • Land reclamation – Parks – Golf courses and other sports fields – Office buildings and Industrial use – Methane capture • Collected waste releases methane gases • Some landfills capture and Darkin Building, built over a landfill use the gas for energy
  20. 20. Landfills • A. Clark Wiseman, an economist at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, calculated: • If Americans continue to generate garbage at current rates for 1,000 years, and if it is all put in a landfill 100 yards deep, by the year 3000 it would fill a square piece of land 35 miles on each side. • Not an imposition in a country the size of America. – The garbage would occupy only 5 %of the area needed for the national array of solar panels proposed by environmentalists. – The millennial landfill would fit on one-tenth of 1 %of the range land now available for grazing in the continental United States. – The loss would be temporary. » Eventually, like previous landfills, the mounds of trash will be covered with grass and become a minuscule addition to the nation's 150,000 square miles of parkland.
  21. 21. Saves Money • In many cases the cost of recyclable materials also exceeds the cost of raw materials. – Virgin plastic resin costs 40% less than recycled resin. – Additionally, a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study that tracked the price of clear cullet from July 15 to August 2, 1991, found that the average cost per ton ranged from $40 to $60. – A USGS report shows that the cost per ton of raw silica sand from years 1993 to 1997 fell between $17.33 and $18.10.
  22. 22. Saves Trees • Landsburg has claimed that paper recycling actually reduces tree populations. – He argues that because paper companies have incentives to replenish the forests they own, large demands for paper lead to large forests. • Conversely, reduced demand for paper leads to fewer quot;farmedquot; forests. – Most paper comes from pulp forests grown specifically for paper production where they replant cut down trees.
  23. 23. Saves Trees • Many people have the misconception that paper-making is what's causing deforestation of tropical rain forests but rarely any tropical wood is harvested for paper. • Deforestation is mainly caused by population pressure such as demand of more land for agriculture or construction use. • Recycling paper, although reduces demand of trees, does not greatly benefit the tropical rain forests.
  24. 24. Government Mandated Recycling • In a 1996 article in The New York Times, John Tierney claimed that government mandated recycling wastes more resources than it saves. • In cases where recycling truly does save resources, such as with large scraps of aluminum, this will be reflected in market prices, and voluntary recycling will take place. • Thus, there is no need for the government to mandate it. • Government mandated recycling is more expensive than putting the garbage into landfills. – Your tax money is going towards this useless recycling.
  25. 25. Government Mandated Recycling • In 2003, the city of Santa Clarita, California was paying $28 per ton to put garbage into a landfill. The city then adopted a mandatory diaper recycling program that cost $1,800 per ton • In a 2007 article, Michael Munger, the Chair of Political Science at Duke University, wrote, – quot;... if recycling is more expensive than using new materials, it can't possibly be efficient... There is a simple test for determining whether something is a resource... or just garbage... If someone will pay you for the item, it's a resource... But if you have to pay someone to take the item away... then the item is garbage.quot;.
  26. 26. Sustainability • Some of the fiber that enters any recycled pulp mill is lost in pulping, due to inefficiencies inherent in the process. – According to the U.K. chapter of Friends of the Earth, wood fiber can normally only be recycled up to five times due to damage experienced to the fiber. – Unless the quantity of newsprint used each year worldwide declines to reflect the lost fiber, a certain amount of new (virgin) fiber is required each year globally, even if the individual newsprint mill may continue to use 100% recycled fiber. – Toilet paper is sometimes made from recycled paper • large amounts of virgin tree pulp is still used
  27. 27. CONCLUSIONS
  28. 28. The Myths of Recycling • Some small towns with landfills are happy to import garbage from other cities and states because it provides jobs and tax revenue. • Tree farmers plant more trees than they cut down. • Today's modern landfills are much cleaner and safer, and much less likely to leak and pollute than the landfills of the past.
  29. 29. The Myths of Recycling • Incinerators make more energy than recycling saves. – some things, such as glossy paper, can't be recycled, and it is better to burn such materials for energy. • In 2002, WNYC reported that 40% of the garbage that New York City residents separated for recycling actually ended up in landfills.
  30. 30. The Myths of Recycling • Currently where recycling is, it is… – not economically viable – not entirely environmentally safe – not able to produce the same amount of energy as landfills or energies. • It does not do what it promises to. • Landfills are economically viable and follow regulations to be environmentally safe. • People recycle to “feel good”, but what they “feel good” about is not happening in reality.
  31. 31. THE END

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