Business & Environment Series: Cioci-Lahd-Managing Upstream Waste

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  • In 1987, Mobro 4000 took over 3,000 tons of MSW on a cruise.From the NYT, May 1987: NEWS ANALYSIS; GARBAGE BARGE PRODS OFFICIALSBy PHILIP S. GUTIS, Special to the New York TimesPublished: May 02, 1987Sign In to E-MailPrintSingle-PageAs it floats aimlessly around the Gulf of Mexico, the garbage barge to nowhere from Islip, L.I., has drawn anger from politicians, chuckles from Johnny Carson and chagrin from the very red-faced community from which it came.But as the political oratory, jokes and embarrassment continue to multiply, so does concern about the crisis over solid waste disposal - not only in the New York region but nationwide. It is a problem that officials say has been building for years with little public interest or concern.''The barge certainly has high symbolic value,'' said Gerald M. Boyd, the executive director of New York's Legislative Commission on Solid Waste in an interview this week. ''It does create a very strong image of the notion that the garbage has to go somewhere. And if people continue to say we don't want it here, the question is now better framed: Where should it go?'’ (after being rejected by 6 states and 3 countries it was incinerated in Brooklyn, and the ashes buried where they’d started, in Islip.
  • This was current knowledge in 1980. A lot has changed since then. Our waste management infrastructure is matured (MSW to ethanol instead of corn) Our understanding of environmental problems is fine tuned.
  • This is a simplified map…
  • What happens is that the single attributes we have long considered as “givens” for reducing environmental impacts, don’t always bear out, or aren’t consistent for all products.
  • So the waste hierarchy is always how you want to handle waste---but it isn’t as good at giving guidance on how to purchase, or consume, or manufacture for best total environmental impact. LCA can be powerful. It helps us begin to understand better where the “hotspots” are. How do you do this? For your own products, do you hire and LCA expert? Contract? Learn to use the available tools?
  • Business & Environment Series: Cioci-Lahd-Managing Upstream Waste

    1. 1. Agenda1. Waste 101: the waste hierarchy2. Life Cycle Assessment ─ rethinking waste3. Examples4. Tools and Calculation Approaches5. What the State of Minnesota is doing
    2. 2. Waste Management Hierarchy
    3. 3. Need for the Waste HierarchyBut as the politicaloratory, jokes andembarrassment continueto multiply, so doesconcern about the crisisover solid waste disposal -not only in the New Yorkregion but nationwide. It isa problem that officials sayhas been building for yearswith little public interest orconcern. -- NYTimes, May 1987
    4. 4. 1970 1976 1982 1986 • Barrels & • Landfill • Incinerator • Hierarchy Dumps liners
    5. 5. Your world in 1980
    6. 6. What the Waste HierarchyDoes do: Doesn’t do:• Guides discards • Guide purchasing decisions management • Inform about• Increase landfill diversion GHG, toxicity, human• Help governments plan to health, or any other manage discards best (from environmental issue a 1980 perspective) • Conserve material resources• Minimize trash (incinerator vs. landfill) • Minimize environmental impact
    7. 7. How Does Zero Waste Fit In?
    8. 8. Zero Waste• Generally means “zero waste to landfill” or” zero waste to disposal” (landfill or incinerator).• Typically refers to a facility or event, not a product.• “Zero waste” in reality is “Maximum diversion.”• Is laudable goal if it means recycling all you can when you have discards to manage.• UL Environment is certifying zero waste claims (100%, 98%+ and 80%+ landfill diversion).
    9. 9. Beware the Zero Waste Trap• Zero waste can drive behavior that runs counter to waste prevention.• It is often implemented as a free ticket for continued overconsumption of resources - “generate all the waste you want, as long as you can divert it”.• “It’s okay to use disposables, they get burned to make energy.”• “Bottled water is fine, as long as I recycle the bottle.”
    10. 10. Life Cycle Assessment & Waste Recycling Incineration with energy recovery Incineration Waste w/o energy recovery Composting Landfill
    11. 11. Life Cycle Assessment & Waste Recycling Incineration with energy recovery Waste Incineration w/o energy recovery Composting Landfill
    12. 12. Life Cycle Assessment & Waste Recycling Incineration with energy recovery Waste Incineration w/o energy recovery Composting Landfill
    13. 13. LCA Results Can Be Counterintuitive: Recyclability ≠ Reduced ImpactExample 1: To Box or To Bag? www.deq.state.or.us/lq/pubs/docs/sw/packaging/LifeCycleInventory.pdf Related slides courtesy of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
    14. 14. Bags and Boxes• Boxes have recyclability and recycled-content advantages over most types of bags.• But bags have waste prevention advantages over boxes (for non-breakable items), due to lower weight.• Different types of bags and void fills for boxes exist – can we state with any certainty that one general approach is better than the other, from a cross-media perspective?
    15. 15. Common Business Perceptions• The choice of void fill is the most important environmental choice.• Plastic is “made from oil” and is therefore “bad”.• By extension, products not made from oil aren’t “bad” (or as bad).• Downstream (disposal) impacts are as important, or more important, than upstream (manufacturing) impacts. – Wastes that biodegrade are inherently “good”. – Recyclability is important.
    16. 16. Results: PetroleumLow PC Box/FillsHigh PC Box/Fills Low PC Bags High PC Bags 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Million Btu of Petroleum per 10,000 Packages
    17. 17. Results: Natural GasLow PC Box/FillsHigh PC Box/Fills Low PC Bags High PC Bags 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Million Btu of Natural Gas per 10,000 Packages
    18. 18. Results: CoalLow PC Box/FillsHigh PC Box/Fills Low PC Bags High PC Bags 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Million Btu of Coal per 10,000 Packages
    19. 19. Results: Solid WasteLow PC Box/FillsHigh PC Box/Fills Low PC Bags High PC Bags 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 18000 Pounds of Solid Waste per 10,000 Packages
    20. 20. Results: Atmospheric ParticulateLow PC Box/FillsHigh PC Box/Fills Low PC Bags High PC Bags 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Pounds of Atmospheric Particulate per 10,000 Packages
    21. 21. Results: Atmospheric MercuryLow PC Box/FillsHigh PC Box/Fills Low PC Bags High PC Bags 0 0.0002 0.0004 0.0006 0.0008 0.001 Pounds of Atmospheric Mercury per 10,000 Packages
    22. 22. Results: Biological Oxygen DemandLow PC Box/FillsHigh PC Box/Fills Low PC Bags High PC Bags 0 10 20 30 40 50 Pounds of BOD per 10,000 Packages
    23. 23. Results: Waterborne Suspended SolidsLow PC Box/FillsHigh PC Box/Fills Low PC Bags High PC Bags 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Pounds of Waterborne Suspended Solids per 10,000 Packages
    24. 24. Mass Matters!• Weight of materials used is a critical factor: – All bags evaluated have lower burdens than boxes (in most categories) because of their much lower weight. – This confirms (indirectly) the relative ranking of waste prevention and recycling in the waste management hierarchy.• Recyclability and recycled content are not always the best predictor of life cycle energy use or emissions: – BUT, once you’ve chosen a packaging material, increasing post-consumer content and recycling opportunities can have benefits.
    25. 25. LCA Results Can Be Counterintuitive: Recycled Content ≠ Reduced ImpactExample 2: Recycled vs. Virgin Paperback? Jean-Robert Wells, et al., 2012
    26. 26. LCA Results Can Be Counterintuitive: Biobased Content ≠ Reduced ImpactExample 3: Books vs. Digital? http://css.snre.umich.edu/css_doc/CSS03-04.pdf Kozak, 2003
    27. 27. Unintended Consequences of Focusing on Disposal Avoidance• Recycling viewed as comparable to prevention• Composting viewed as comparable to recycling• Supports faulty logic of “bio-based materials are always best”• Makes it seem markets don’t matter – all recycling uses of materials are equal. But they aren’t – e.g.: fiberglass better than aggregate.
    28. 28. Single Attributes vs. LCAIt’s not as simple as we thought. Waste hierarchy aids in discards management, but not purchases, product design, material selection.The single attributes long considered “givens” for reducing environmental impacts, don’t always bear out.Other qualities matter, mass of materials, energy source for production, life cycle phase or components of most impactWhat tools can you use?
    29. 29. Waste Calculation Tools Input-Output Financial Data Analysis Waste Generation EPA Totals Generation EPA Totals and Management WARM, NREL Methods LCA Data
    30. 30. Waste Management and Remediation Services (NAICS 562000)Impact Category Emission FactorsClimate Change 2.44 kg CO2eWater Consumption 1.96 gallonsEcoSystem Quality 2.47 Potentially Disappeared Fraction of species per square meter per year (PDF*m2*yr)Human Health 9.085 E-06 Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYS) http://www.sustainabilityconsortium.org/open-io/
    31. 31. EPA WARM Modelhttp://www.epa.gov/climatechange/waste/calculators/Warm_home.html
    32. 32. EPA Resources http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/tools/recmeas/docs/guide_b.pdf
    33. 33. P&G Supplier Scorecardhttp://www.pgsupplier.com/en/current-suppliers/environmental-sustainability-scorecard.shtml
    34. 34. www.walmartstores.com/download/4055.pdf
    35. 35. MPCA’s Approach• Government is large consumer of goods and services• Have an active EPP program – but 13% based on single attributes and some ecolabels• Using our purchasing power and LCA to reduce our supply chain impacts
    36. 36. Reducing Environmental Impacts of Purchasing 1. Funding – staff time, dollars (EPA Grant) 2. Expertise (Class & Consultant) 3. Preliminary analysis: - Defined realistic scope – expiring contracts, without political barriers, - Data needs – Dollar value of contract - LCA to find hotspots (total emissions vs. emissions per dollar)
    37. 37. Reducing Environmental Impacts of Purchasing 4. Stakeholder input 5. Changes to RFP language for purchasing 6. Documentation of costs and environmental benefits (GHG, maybe others) 7. Expansion to other contracts/product categories
    38. 38. QuestionsMadalyn Cioci Holly LahdMadalyn.cioci@state.mn.us hlahd@umn.edu651-757-2276 763-229-6569

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