Stop Trashing the Climate Brenda Platt Stop Trashing the Climate Institute for Local Self-Reliancepresented at the 16th Annual Maine Recycling & Solid Waste Conference Bar Harbor, Maine, May 5, 2009 Brenda Platt Institute for Local Self-Reliance BioCycle West, San Diego April 15th, 2008
U.S. huge contributor ! 4.6% of global population ! Consume one-third of Earth!s timber and paper ! Generate 22% of global CO2 emissions ! Produce 30% of world!s waste
Landfill greenhouse gas emissions, % of totalTotal 2005 = 7,260 megatons CO2 equiv.
The global warming potential conceptCO2Methane - 100 year time horizon, 21 times more potent than CO2Methane - 20 yrs,72 times morepotent
Climate Change Tipping Point! Global emissions must peak and decline over the next 10 to 15 years in order to limit global warming to 2oC above pre-industrial limits.! Uncontrolled climate change will lead to widespread devastation, economically and environmentally.! A short window of opportunity exists to radically reduce GHGs and stabilize atmospheric CO2 concentrations before our climate reaches a “tipping point.”
Landfill greenhouse gas emissions, % of total, 20 yr time horizonTotal 2005 = 8,754 megatons CO2 equiv.
Disposal sector emissions, 8.1% oftotal, 20 yr horizon
The WastebergFor every ton ofmunicipal trash, 71tons of waste areproduced duringmanufacturing, mining,oil and gasexploration,agriculture, and coalcombustion.
Landfill Gas Capture Systems Band-Aid Approach at Best! Rules do not require gas collection for the ﬁrst 5 years.! Rules allow removal of gas collection systems 20 years after landﬁll closes.! All landﬁll barriers will ultimately fail during post- closure period, after which precipitation will re-enter the landﬁll and in time cause second wave of decomposition without any controls.! Gas generated inside landﬁlls escapes all day, everyday from every landﬁll in America.! Over lifetime of landﬁll, gas capture could be as low as 20%.
Waste incinerators are NOT good forthe climate
Aiming for zero waste is key GHG abatement strategyAbatement Megatons % of AbatementStrategy CO2 eq. Needed in 2030 to Return to 1990Reducing wastevia prevention, reuse,recycling, composting 406 11.6%Lighting 240 6.9%Vehicle Efficiency 195 5.6%Lower Carbon Fuels 100 2.9%Forest Management 110 3.1%Carbon Capture & Storage 95 2.7%Wind 120 3.4%Nuclear 70 2.0%Source: ILSR, GAIA, and Eco-Cycle, Stop Trashing the Climate (2008), and McKinsey &Company, Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much and at What Cost? (2007)
Zero waste path: less coal plants X By significantly reducing waste disposal, the U.S. can take the equivalent of 21% of its coal-fired power plants off the grid by 2030.
A Call to Action!! Implement zero waste targets and plans.! Stop disposing organic materials – COMPOST!! Pursue recycling-based local economic development.! Make manufacturers responsible for their products.! Regulate single-use plastics.! Reduce junk mail.! Buy recycled.! Institute pay-as-you-throw trash fees.
Organics Diversion: Core ClimateProtection Strategy ! Prevents landﬁll methane emissions ! Stores carbon ! Improves soil!s ability to store carbon ! Substitutes for energy-intensive fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides ! Improves plant growth, and thus carbon sequestration ! Reduces energy use for irrigation ! Anaerobic digestion offsets fossil fuel consumption
U.S. municipal waste disposed169.2 million tons in 2007 Source: US EPA, 2007 data (http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/msw99.htm)
Yard Trimmings Generated and Recovered in the US, 1960-2007Thousandsof tonsSource: US EPA, 2007 data (http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/msw99.htm)
Compost Applications! landscape and nursery! agricultural and horticultural! vegetable and ﬂower gardens! tree and shrub planting! sod production and roadside projects! wetlands creation! soil remediation and land reclamation! sports ﬁelds and golf courses! sediment and erosion control
Unit-based Pricing Sends a Clear Message Worcester, MA San Francisco, CA Population 173,000 Population 775,000Unit based pricing is just a different way of paying for waste Source: Kristen Brown, Green Waste Solutions, www.thewastesolution.com
Overall Waste Generation Decrease 20+%Source: Kristen Brown, Green Waste Solutions, www.thewastesolution.com
Communities with Zero Waste GoalCalifornia, USA Other North America • Del Norte County • Halifax, Nova Scotia Regional District • San Luis Obispo County • Nelson, British Columbia Regional District • Santa Cruz County • Kootenay Boundary, British Columbia Regional • San Bernardino County District • San Francisco City and County • Cowichan Valley, British Columbia • City of Oakland • Central Kootenay, British Columbia • Berkeley • Smithers, British Columbia Regional District • Burbank (informally) • Nanaimo, British Columbia • Palo Alto • Toronto, Ontario • California Integrated Waste Management Board • Sunshine Coast Regional District, British ColumbiaOther USA • Boulder County, CO • Summit County, CO • Carrboro, NC • Seattle, WA • Central Vermont Waste Management District Source: Gary Liss, Zero Waste International Alliance, www.zwia.org
Zero Waste Is an International Movement South America Africa • Buenos Aires, Argentina South Africa, adopted the Polokwane Declaration on Waste Management at 1st National Waste Australia Summit in 2001 • Eurobodalla Council • Willoughby Council Asia • South Australia State Government • Candon City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines • Canberra • San Isidro, Sueva Edija, Philippines • The State of Western Australia • Pilar, Sorsogon, Philippines • The State of Victoria • Linamon, Lanao del Norte, Philippines • Sigma, Capiz, Philippines New Zealand • Kamikatsu, Japan Over 50% of cities adopted ZW as a goal • Kovalem, India • Kanchrapara Municipality, West Bengal, India Europe • Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council • Bath and NE Somerset District Council • Wales • Blaenau Gwent County Borough CouncilSource: Gary Liss, Zero Waste International Alliance, www.zwia.org
Composting & Recycling Collection System Designed For High Diversion Recycled Paper Food Scraps 21% 20% Yard Trimmings 5%Glass and Plastic BottlesAluminum and Steel Cans 5% Compostable Paper 10% Construction and Demolition Waste 25% Other Courtesy of City of San Francisco 15%
Easy to Understand ProgramCourtesy of City of San Francisco
Designed for Easy Participation Labeled LidsKitchen Pail Wheeled CartCourtesy of City of San Francisco
Special Event CompostingCourtesy of City of San Francisco
Color-Coded Compostable Design for 400k cups at SF FestivalCourtesy of City of San Francisco
Norcal’s Jepsen Prairie Organics Regional Composting FacilityCourtesy of City of San Francisco
Compost Used on Organic Farms and Vineyards to Build Healthy SoilsCourtesy of City of San Francisco
Changing the rules in SF! Bans polystyrene take-out containers! Requires retail bags to be compostable plastic, recyclable paper, or reusable! Bans use of city funds to purchase single-serving bottled water! Will not give a street closure permit for events unless composting collection is in place! Extended producer responsibility (EPR) resolution
San Francisco EPR resolutionCalls on its Department of the Environment to:“help City government lead by example by working withthe City Purchaser and Ofﬁce of Contract Administrationand other departments to include EPR language, suchas leasing products rather than purchasing them andspecifying product and packaging collection andrecycling requirements, in contracts for commodities...”
Why EPR?! 72.5% of MSW is manufactured products & packaging! When manufacturers are responsible they: " Use environmentally safer materials " Consume fewer materials " Design their products to last longer " Create better recycling systems " Are motivated to minimize waste costs " No longer pass the cost of disposal to the government and taxpayer Extended Producer Responsibility (2004) Clean Production Action, www.cleanproductionaction.org
Challenges & Opportunities! Leadership! Policies! Infrastructure! Operator Training and Technical Assistance! Permitting and Siting! Education & Outreach! Connections to Other Key Issues
The Tipping Point! Innovators, the adventurous ones! Early adopters, infected by innovators! Early Majority! Late Majority! LaggardsSource: Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point (2002)
Make the Connections! Climate protection! Soil protection and revitalization! Sustainable agriculture! Anti-nuclear power! Zero waste! Environmental health (safer, better designed products)! Anti-waste incineration! Community and economic development! Cost Cutting! Green jobs and pro-worker
Job Creation: Reclamation vs. Disposal Type of Operation Jobs/ 10,000 TPY Computer Reuse 296 Textile Reclamation 85 Misc. Durables Reuse 62 Wooden Pallet Repair 28 Recycling-Based Manufacturers 25 Conventional MRFs 10 Composting 4 Disposal Facilities 1MRF = materials recovery facility Institute for Local Self-RelianceTPY = tons per year
Starve a Landﬁll Feed the soil Conserve resources Protect the climate Create jobsSustain new businesses