Showing posts with label recycling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recycling. Show all posts

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Throwing trash all in one bin works in some cities

At a so-called dirty mixed-waste materials recovery facility, equipment and workers separate paper, glass, plastic, metal and other commodities so residents don't have to sort them into different bins.


It's called mixed waste processing, and it's an alternative way some cities have tried to increase recycling rates. (Ignácio Costa)


When South Pasadena homeowners recycle, it's as easy as throwing their tuna cans and soda bottles into the trash can along with their food scraps and meat wrappers. It's called mixed waste processing, and it's an alternative way some cities have tried to increase recycling rates.



In 2000, just 6% of South Pasadena's single-family residential waste was being recycled under a voluntary program that had residents sort recycling into a separate container. That percentage shot up to 25% in 2001 after the city decided to let waste and recycling go into one bin bound for a so-called dirty MRF, or mixed-waste materials recovery facility, where sorting equipment and trained workers separate paper, glass, plastic, metal and other commodities on the back end instead of the front.

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Why recycling in Los Angeles is so confusing

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"We didn't do well with the volunteer system. All the recyclables that went into the trash can were being missed," said South Pasadena public works assistant Diana Harder. "Now the recycling program is automatic. Residents don't have to worry about it."



Nor do they have to pay extra. Single-family households pay $36.49 monthly for the service, about the same as single-family residents in L.A.



The stakes have been high since 1990, when California instituted AB 939, a law that required municipalities to reduce the amount of waste taken to landfills by 25% by 1995 and 50% by 2000 or be fined $10,000 a day. Recycling wasn't mandated, but the law prompted cities to institute source-separation programs similar to the one in effect in L.A., where residents are provided separate bins for green waste, trash and recycling.



"We all started the same way with a two- or three-crate system for newspaper, glass and plastic food and beverage containers. That was it," said Dennis Chiappetta, executive vice president of Athens Services, a waste collection, recycling and disposal company based in the City of Industry that serves 19 cities, including Riverside, West Hollywood and South Pasadena. For all the work that residents did, less than 5% of residential waste was diverted from landfills in 1990, he said.



Now, about 40% of what's put in a mixed-waste bin is recycled, Chiappetta said. With yard clippings separated into a green waste bin, landfill diversion in the cities that Athens services rises to at least 50%, and sometimes almost 80%, he said.



CalRecycle, the state agency responsible for regulating disposal and recycling in California, does not keep track of how many cities process their recyclables as mixed waste. But cities of radically different demographic stripes, from West Covina to Beverly Hills, have adopted the approach.



The latter used to ask its residents to sort recyclables into separate bins, but it switched to mixed-waste processing in 2004. Just 13% of Beverly Hills' waste was recycled in 1995. Now the city has a recycling rate of 35% and an overall landfill diversion rate of 78%.



Still, not everyone agrees that mixed-waste processing is a better system. Critics say higher rates of contamination can decrease the value of the recycled materials. The L.A. Bureau of Sanitation prefers its blue-bin system because contaminated materials such as soiled paper cost more to manage, transport and ultimately deposit in a landfill, a spokesman said.



"It's something we grapple with," said Coby Skye, a civil engineer with the environmental programs division of the L.A. County Department of Public Works, which implements the county's recycling program. "It's a trade-off between contamination and participation. The benefit of having everything go in one bin is you have 100% participation whether people want to recycle or not, or whether they know what goes in the right bin or not."


http://www.latimes.com/features/home/la-hm-dirty-mrf-20110813,0,971510.story


Sunday, May 30, 2010

FAQs about recycling

What are the benefits of recycling?

Economic:

  • Creates jobs
  • Saves money

More info from the National Recycling Coalition

Environmental:

  • Conserves landfill space
  • Reduces air, water and land pollution
  • Reduces green house gas emissions
  • Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
  • Conserves energy
  • Prevents habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, and soil erosion associated with logging and mining

More info from the National Recycling Coalition

Social

  • Promotes community pride, awareness and cleanliness
  • Is an easy way for people to protect and conserve the environment
  • Helps sustain the environment for future generations
  • Reduces the need for mining and the demand for virgin resources

What are some key facts about recycling?

Statistics on commonly recycled items:

General:

  • Kansas City, Missouri recycles between 1,200 and 1,500 tons a month through its KC Recycles curbside recycling program.
  • The United States currently recycles 28 percent of its waste, a rate that has almost doubled during the past 15 years.
  • Twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the United States, which collected several materials at the curb. By 1998, 9,000 curbside programs and 12,000 recyclable drop-off centers had sprouted up across the nation.
  • In a lifetime, the average American will throw away 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage. This means that each adult will leave a legacy of as much as 100,000 pounds of trash for his or her children.
  • Each person generates about 4.5 pounds of waste per day.

Paper:

  • Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 7,000 gallons of water!
  • Paper products make up approximately 40 percent of our trash.
  • Every day Americans recover about 40 percent of the paper we use.
  • Paper products use up at least 35 percent of the world's annual commercial wood harvest.
  • More than 1/3 of all fiber used to make paper comes from recycled paper.

Aluminum cans:

  • An aluminum can is unique in that in 60 days it is recycled, turned into a new can and back on a store shelf.
  • Over 50% of the aluminum cans produced are recycled.
  • Making new aluminum cans from used cans takes 95 percent less energy.
  • Twenty recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce one can using virgin ore.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours.
  • Tossing away an aluminum can wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can's volume of gasoline.

Plastic bottles:

  • Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60W bulb for up to six hours.
  • It takes about 450 years for one plastic bottle to break down in the ground!
  • It takes about 25 recycled plastic drinks bottles to make one fleece jacket.
  • Recycling one ton of soda and water bottles saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • PET bottles are made into fiberfill, carpets, clothing, automotive parts and industrial strapping, sheet and film.

Glass containers:

  • Every glass bottle recycled saves enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for four hours.
  • Glass never wears out -- it can be recycled forever. We save over one ton of resources for every ton of glass recycled -- 1,330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone and 151 pounds of feldspar.
  • Recycled glass saves 50% energy versus virgin glass.
  • Recycled glass generates 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution.
  • One ton of glass made from 50% recycled materials saves 250 pounds of mining waste.

Sources: St. Louis County Department of Health, U.S. EPA, Illinois Recycling Association, Oberlin College Recycling Association, Earth 911, Container Recycling Institute and South Lakeland District Council

Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Haiti's Rubble Holds Key to Survival, as Scrap-Metal Economy Soars

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti— From the rubble left by January's devastating earthquake, a new industry has been born: the recycling of steel construction rods dug out from under the debris for sale to China.

Every day, a long line of one-man wheelbarrows, three-man wooden carts, beat-up Haitian minibuses and big trucks line up on the grounds of Haiti Recycling, one of three such private companies operating here. The dilapidated vehicles carry tons of rebar, as the steel rods that reinforce concrete are known.

Haiti Recycling is the end of the line for the rebar pulled from wrecked buildings throughout the city by ...http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704896104575140192482946402.htm...

Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Room for Improvement in e-Waste Recycling

The report finds that over the next decade there will be a significant increase in e-waste created by and sent to developing countries, rising 500 percent in India and increasing between 200 to 400 percent in South Africa and China. Despite these numbers, recyclers in North America continue to beef up their services and grow their recycling rates.

The 120-page report, “Recycling — From E-Waste To Resources” (PDF), indicates that current e-waste in the European Union amounts to 8.3 to 9.1 million tons annually, with global rates around 40 million tons per year.

By properly handling e-waste, developing countries can prevent environmental damage as well as recover valuable resources such as metals. The report segments the recycling chain into three steps — collection, sorting/dismantling and preprocessing (including sorting, dismantling and mechanical treatment) and end processing — and provides recommendations for all three areas.

The report also evaluates the potential introduction of new recycling technologies into 11 developing countries including Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Peru, India, China, South Africa, Morocco, Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. read more; http://bx.businessweek.com/e-waste/view?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.environmentalleader.com%2F2010%2F03%2F03%2Froom-for-improvement-in-e-waste-recycling%2F

Posted via web from eWaste Disposal

Friday, February 26, 2010

Recycle Your Gear to Help Combat Global E-Waste

Feb 23, 2010 9:41 am

The United Nations on Tuesday issued a report on the urgent need for developing countries to prepare for the proper disposal of electronic waste. Developing countries like China and India, as well as Africa and parts of Latin America are about to see an enormous spike in the sales of electronic gadgets in the next ten years. But many developing countries lack the facilities to deal with electronic waste, meaning there is a potential of "hazardous e-waste mountains with serious consequences for the environment and public health," according to the UN.

The UN says global e-waste is growing by about ......http://bx.businessweek.com/e-waste/view?url=http%3A%2F%2Ffeeds.pcworld.com%2Fclick.phdo%3Fi%3D46623db30e6ffd3ccb6619f32de86157

Posted via web from eWaste Disposal

Monday, August 3, 2009

California must adapt to changing climate

Even if the world is successful in cutting carbon emissions in the future, California needs to start preparing for rising sea levels, hotter weather and other effects of climate change, a new state report recommends.


It encourages local communities to rethink future development in low-lying coastal areas, reinforce levees that protect flood-prone areas and conserve already strapped water supplies.

"We still have to adapt, no matter what we do, because of the nature of the greenhouse



Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/08/03/national/a030204D68.DTL#ixzz0N8it0RUj

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How big is the internet?

THE internet has permeated everything from buying to banking to bonking.

But just how big is it?

Microsoft's Bing team puts the amount of web pages at "over 1 trillion".

And Google has already indexed more than one trillion discreet web addresses.

There are more addresses than there are people on Earth. The current global population stands at more than 6.7 billion.

That means there are about 150 web addresses per person in the world.

Translated: If you spent just one minute reading every website in existence, you’d be kept busy for 31,000 years. Without any sleep.

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Australia wins with 80+ % of the population online....

(Read More)

David of Australia Bing was more generous with its estimate for those who take more time to read.

"An average person would need six hundred thousand decades of nonstop reading to read through the information," it said.

The Punch: If you could only visit one, which would it be?

Number of users

Mark Higginson, director of analytics for Nielsen Online, said the global online population had jumped 16 per cent since last year.

"Approximately 1.46 billion people worldwide now use the internet which represents a solid 16 per cent increase from the previous year’s estimate (1.26 billion in 2007)," he told news.com.au.

The largest internet population belongs to China, which claimed this week to have more users online – 338 million - than there were people in the US.

However InternetWorldStats.com (IWS), a website that combines multiple data sources, claims China's online population is more like 298 million, just a few million shy of overtaking the US population.

"With the rates of India and China still quite low, there is ample room for growth in the coming decade," Mr Higginson said.

Measuring the online population can be tricky. There are servers, users, per capita numbers, and penetration percentages to evaluate. It's an epic-scale guessing game using a series of sources to get just one number.

IWS combines data from the UN's International Telecommunications Union, Nielsen Online, GfK and US Census Bureau.

Its latest global figures puts the number of internet users in the world at 1,596,270,108.

That's just 23.8 per cent of the estimated 6,0706,993,152 people in the world.

But it changes every day.

"In terms of the future, we anticipate mobile to contribute significantly to internet usage," Mr Higginson said.

"In the US, the number of people accessing the internet through mobile devices grew 74 per cent between February 2007 and February 2009."

How we size up

According to IWS, the top 5 countries with the most internet users are:

1 - China (298,000,000 users, or 22.4% of their population)
2 – US (227,190,989, or 74.7%)
3 – Japan (94,000,000, or 73.8%)
4 – India (81,000,000, or 7.1%)
5 – Brazil (67,510,400, or 34.4%)

Australia comes in at 25th, with 16,926,015 internet users.

But we zoom all the way up to 7th place if we measure what percentage of the population uses the internet – a whopping 80.6 per cent, according to IWS.

"The Australian online population has now reached maturity in terms of the number of people online and their experience using the internet," Mr Higginson said.

"Despite this fact, the rate of internet participation, Australia-wide, increased notably for the first time in several years ," he said, adding that the latest Nielsen statistics showed it had jumped 6 percentage points to 86 per cent.

However, even experts aren't keen to guess when every person in the world will be online.

"It's too hard to tell," Mr Higginson said.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Business Leader of the Week

John S. Shegerian, Chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), discussed the urgent environmental and human rights implications of effective "e-waste" recycling today on "The Alan Autry Show," hosted by Fresno's Mayor Autry.
Shegerian was featured as a guest on the "Business Street: Business Leader of the Week" segment of Autry's show, on Fresno-based KYNO 1300 AM. Autry is a former NFL football player and actor. He achieved success by starring in the TV program "In the Heat of the Night," among other roles in film and television before becoming Fresno's Mayor.

As this week's "Business Leader of the Week," Shegerian shared insights on his personal life and career as a social entrepreneur, launching a number of businesses that benefit society and the environment, including his current venture, ERI, the nation's leading recycler of electronic waste.

"It's a great honor to have been named 'Business Leader of the Week' and to have been asked to guest on our great Mayor Autry's show," said Shegerian. "The Mayor has been very supportive of our environmental mission and of our effort to recycle lives by giving individuals a second chance at making a n honest living. At ERI we tip our hat to the excellent job he has done here in Fresno."

Now the largest recycler of electronic waste in the world, Fresno-headquartered Electronic Recyclers is licensed to de-manufacture and recycle televisions, computer monitors, computers, and other types of electronic equipment. ERI processes more than 140 million pounds of electronic waste annually.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Recycling Myths: PM Debunks 5 Half Truths about Recycling

Is chucking a soda can in the trash an unforgivable sin? That depends who you ask: You'll find plenty of people on both sides of the great recycling debate, each equally convinced the other side is ill-informed. The truth is that opponents and proponents alike often rely on facts that are outdated, oversimplified or simply untrue. We tackle five of the biggest myths about recycling. For more, check out the December issue of Popular Mechanics.

By Alex Hutchinson


1. We have to recycle because we're running out of landfill space.
That was the rallying cry for recycling advocates back in the 1980s, when the Mobro 4000 garbage barge wandered up and down the East Coast searching for a place to dump its moldering load. It's a bit of a red herring, though. After all, we have pretty much unlimited space to dump garbage—if we're willing. In practice, for every town that refuses permission to build a landfill, there's often another town eager for the revenues that a landfill site can bring.

According to the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), the United States has about 20 years of disposal capacity left in existing landfills. There are, however, places where space is getting tight: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Rhode Island all have less than five years capacity, and the northeastern part of the country in general has the least available landfill space.

These regional variations point to a different motivation for the "recycle to save landfill space" argument. The average tipping fee at landfills in the Northeast region, according to the most recent NSWMA figures, is over $70 a ton, compared to a national average of just $34. In other words, even if the scarcity of landfill space turns out not to be a strong environmental argument for recycling, there can be powerful economic incentives to reduce landfill intake.


2. The trucks that collect recycling burn more energy and produce more pollution than recycling saves.
Collecting recyclables isn't cheap—it eats up about 50 to 60 percent of the budget of a typical curbside recycling program, according to Lori Scozzafava of the Solid Waste Association of North America. And the trucks burn gas and emit pollution as they go. That said, "You're going to collect waste one way or another," points out Jeff Morris, a Washington-based environmental consultant. A recycling program should allow garbage collection to become less frequent (or to use fewer trucks), offsetting the cost and energy involved. Plus, new truck designs can collect both recycling and garbage (at different times), avoiding the huge capital expense of an extra fleet. They can also self-dump specially designed bins, saving time and manpower.

But all that turns out to be pretty much irrelevant to the question of whether recycling makes environmental sense. Scientists have conducted hundreds of "life-cycle analyses" to compare recycling with other options like landfill and incineration, following the entire chain of events from the manufacture of a product (using either virgin or recycled materials) to its disposal. The dominant factor in virtually every case is the enormous amount of energy required to turn raw materials into metals and plastics compared to the energy needed to reprocess products that already exist.

A study by Morris found that it takes 10.4 million Btu to manufacture products from a ton of recyclables, compared to 23.3 million Btu for virgin materials. In contrast, the total energy for collecting, hauling and processing a ton of recyclables adds up to just 0.9 million Btu. The bottom line: We don't need to worry that recycling trucks are doing more harm than good.


3. Thanks to the sky-high prices of raw materials, cities are getting rich by selling recyclables.
In the past year, prices for almost every kind of recyclable have hit record highs, sparking a frenzy of activity in the recycling industry. "If you're wondering where all the used-car salesmen have gone, they're rushing into recycling," says Jerry Powell, an industry veteran who edits Resource Recycling magazine. That translates to profits for many players—in fact, Powell says, "if you can't make money in recycling right now, you should get out of the business."

Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily mean that your local city council is getting a cut of the action. "Some cities are still locked in unfavorable long-term contracts and paying tipping fees," says Ed Skernolis of the National Recycling Council. That means that these cities have to pay to collect and sort their curbside recycling—and then pay someone to take away these now-valuable materials instead of being paid for them.

Given how much the price of recyclables has fluctuated in the past, these contracts made sense for cities when they were signed: Locking in costs allows municipalities to budget properly. But now, global contracts ensure a large fraction of U.S. recycling ships to China, so the recycling market has less volatility as well as higher prices. As municipal recycling contracts come up for renewal, cities like Chicago are finally able to turn their piles of cans, bottles and newspapers into a stable revenue stream.

CONTINUED: Is Your Recycling Sorted by Hand? >>>

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Proper Disposal and Recycling of E-Waste

by Justin K. Holcombe



Used electronic devices, known as e-waste, are increasingly becoming a larger part of our waste. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to those who want to recycle their old electronic items.

To address the increasing amount of e-waste, many state and local governments, electronics manufacturers, and non-profit organizations have created comprehensive recycling programs. Several states, including California, Maine, Maryland, Texas and Washington, have even enacted laws requiring the collection of certain electronics.

E-waste recycling options vary across the country. So, the first step to determine what options are available in your area is to review information about your local recycling program. This information is available on Earth 911 (using the recycling locator database at the top of this page), some local government websites and the following websites:

E.P.A. Product Stewartship
National Recycling Coalition
E Recycling Central (includes a list of questions to ask recyclers)
Basel Action Network
Computer Take Back Campaign
In addition to “traditional” recycling programs, some electronics manufacturers and retailers also offer e-waste recycling. Many manufacturer-sponsored programs will accept and process their brand for free. Some accept other brands for a small fee.

After determining what options are available, it is important to determine whether a recycler is operating under strict environmental controls and high worker safety protections. A few general questions to ask include:

Is the recycler certified (such as an ISO 14001 environmental management certification) and does it follow a set of industry recognized guidelines?
Does the recycler actually recycle most of the e-waste materials collected (It is best if the company can recycle 90 percent or more of the materials)?
Does the recycler have written procedures for removing and disposing of mercury lamps in electronic products? Many manufacturer and government sponsored programs have extensive online information detailing the way in which recycling is handled.
In addition to choosing a recycler, it is also important to prepare your e-waste for recycling. For computer recycling, one important concern is to erase all data from the computer before sending it off for recycling.

However, this should be a factor regardless of what one does with an old computer because electronic data can be retrieved from hard drives. There are many options (such as software) to ensure that the data is permanently erased.

In fact, many recycling firms will scrub the hard drive and certify that all data has been erased. Before sending your computer to a recycler, check to verify that this option is available.

Manufacturer Specific Programs
Apple
Dell
Hewlett-Packard
Acer
Toshiba Trade-In and Recycling Program
Gateway
Lenovo/IBM (will also accept other e-waste of other computer manufacturers)
Sony
Panasonic
Epson
Retailer Programs
Circuit City (Easy-trade in program)
Best Buy
Staples (accepts computers, monitors, laptops, and desktop printers, faxes and all-in-ones)
EPA Plug-In Partners (lists manufacturers, retailers and service providers that offer recycling of e-waste)
Donation
EPA–lists options for donating or recycling e-waste
Techsoup–lists non-profit organizations and recyclers of e-waste
Goodwill (some locations accept computers)–website includes tips on how to donate computers
Cell Phone Recycling/Donation
Motorola (accepts all brands for free)
Nokia (accepts all brands for free)
Call to Recycle
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (donation of cell phones)
Call to Protect
Verizon Wireless (accepts phones at Verizon stores)
AT&T Wireless (accepts phones at AT&T stores)
T-Mobile Wireless (accepts phones in stores and by mail)
Sprint Wireless (accepts phones in stores and by mail; recycling proceeds go to charity)

Monday, April 21, 2008

ID Theft

Your Taxes are Done, Now What?


Whether you did your taxes yourself or took them to someone, you probably have a stack of paper for things you were saving but no longer need. This is also a great time to clean out your file cabinets of all the other documents you are needlessly saving. These documents left around pose a threat to your identity from a break-in as well as from people you know.

The IRS can audit your tax returns for three years but that increases to six years if you fail to report 25% of your income and there are no restrictions is you fail to file or file a fraudulent return.

Collect all of this paper and get it shredded to reduce your risk to identity theft.

Full retention schedule.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

New York City

Mar 13 - New York City Council Replaces E-waste Bill with Two New Bills

The New York City Council yesterday recalled the e-waste legislation they passed last month and has replaced it with two new bills. The change comes after Mayor Bloomberg threatened to veto the first bill. The two bills split up the first bill with one requiring electronics manufacturers to collect and recycling their used and unwanted products and the other focusing on mandatory collection goals to be met. The latter was what the Mayor was mostly opposed to that led to the splitting of the original bill. So instead of having the entire bill be vetoed, the City Council split up the bill and still hopes to be the first city in the country with an e-waste recycling bill.

Read a New York Times article.

What You Can Do

Learn more about California's e-waste legislation.
Find a place to recycling your unwanted electronics.

Monday, March 31, 2008

CASH CONTINUED TO FLOW INTO the solid waste industry in 2006. That's one of the conclusions to take away from the 14th annual Waste Age 100.

The top five companies remained the same when compared with the 2005 listing, and all of those firms posted revenue increases from the previous year. Furthermore, the list is heavily populated with companies that did the same. And in this era of rising fuel prices, spiking insurance costs and more expensive containers, that's news that the industry will gladly take.
Industry executives are optimistic about how their firms will perform in 2007. “We produced excellent financial results throughout 2006 and laid a foundation on which we will build during 2007,” said David Steiner, CEO of Houston-based Waste Management, in a press release announcing the company's end-of-year results.

James O'Connor, chairman and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Republic Services, is similarly bullish about his firm. “In 2006, we experienced another record-setting year,” he said in a press release detailing Republic's 2006 financials. “Annual revenue increased 7.2 percent for the full year as the company exceeded $3 billion in revenue for the first time in its history.”
Moving past the publicly traded companies, the revenue increases continued throughout the list.
Westboro, Mass.-based E.L. Harvey & Sons, which is ranked No. 42 on this year's list, reported $45 million in revenue for last year, a whopping increase of 25 percent from the $36 million the firm brought in in 2005.

Also, coming in at No. 95 on this year's ranking, Gap, Pa.-based TIER Holdings received $8.3 million in revenue in 2006, up from $7.9 in 2005.

Whatever challenges waste firms may have, continued revenue growth indicates they're getting the job done.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kansas ewaste

Kansas begins program to better dispose of electronic waste
By: Brie Handgraaf


With a quick turnover on modern technology, landfill operators find it difficult to properly process electronic waste."There are many materials in electronic goods that are hazardous, such as lead and mercury," said Rebecca Clark, senior in biology.Clark is president of Students for Environmental Action at K-State. "Keeping these hazardous substances out of our landfills is good for both the environment and for human health," she said.As part of a new program, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will use grant money to set up e-waste collection centers across the state."Overall, KDHE and other elected state officials want to promote the recycling of e-waste rather than dispose of it in landfills," said Bill Bider, director of the KDHE's Bureau of Waste Management. "KDHE hopes that the state-sponsored collection centers will complement and further stimulate the growing private sector that processes e-waste into marketable materials."Recycling is a growing business with strict regulations."E-waste management is important to maintain the environment and public health," said Rebecca Roth, senior in anthropology. "I hope that appropriate recycling measures are taken so the chemicals don't make it into the water supply."Through the new e-waste program, recycling centers must obtain permits to process electronic waste."The requirement to obtain solid-waste-processing facility permits will lessen impacts as well by ensuring that workers safely handle e-waste and prevent releases of hazardous constituents to nearby populations," Bider said. "Permits also require financial assurance, which means the taxpayers of Kansas would not be financially responsible to dispose of or recycling e-waste that might be abandoned at these facilities."Bider said convenient recycling centers would decrease the chances of improper dumping and lessen the risks for environmental contamination."By safely recycling e-waste, we are directly affecting our air and water quality both in a local and global level," Clark said. "If all of Manhattan properly disposes of e-waste then we reduce the hazards of local groundwater contamination as well as the need to mine these materials in other areas around the world."For more information, go to www.kdheks.gov/waste/policies/BWM_05-02_EWasteDisp.pdf or www.k-state.edu/environment.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What is eWaste?

What is E-Waste?

Many types of electronic products used in the workplace and homes contain hazardous substances like lead and mercury. When these products reach the end of their useful lives or become obsolete, some are considered hazardous waste. In general, hazardous waste may not be discarded in the regular trash. Instead, it must be sent to a facility that has a permit for treatment (including recycling), storage, or disposal.
Electronic hazardous wastes (e-wastes) are different from industrially generated hazardous wastes in that almost every individual, institution and business generates them. Proper management and recycling of e-waste poses lower risks than managing many industrial hazardous wastes.
How do I Know if my E-Waste is Hazardous?

State regulations require the generator of a waste to determine if it is a hazardous waste (this requirement is found in section 66262.11 of title 22 of the California Code of Regulations). Wastes are hazardous waste when they exhibit one or more of the following characteristics: toxicity, ignitability, corrosivity or reactivity. Many electronic wastes exhibit the toxicity characteristic due to the lead content as well as other heavy metals.
In addition to the four hazardous waste characteristics, DTSC has listed, in regulation, specific wastes that are presumed to be hazardous and must be managed as hazardous waste. The law does allow individuals to test specific devices to determine whether or not they are hazardous. However, in the absence of testing, all wastes listed by DTSC are presumed to be hazardous. Several categories of e-waste are included in the list; these are listed below under the heading "How do I Know if my E-Waste is covered by the Electronic Waste Recycling Act?"

Law, Tests, Fact Sheets, and Reports on E-Wastes
How do I Know if my E-Waste is Covered by the Electronic Waste Recycling Act (and therefore needs to be handled differently?)
As part of its implementation of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act. DTSC has tested certain types of electronic devices to determine which would be hazardous waste when discarded; only video display devices that DTSC "determines are presumed to be, when discarded, a hazardous waste" are potentially covered by the Act. Currently these devices include:
cathode ray tube (CRT) devices (including televisions and computer monitors;
LCD desktop monitors;
laptop computers with LCD displays;
LCD televisions; and
plasma televisions.
portable DVD players with LCD screens (added December 31,2006)
Note: Many electronic wastes not covered by the Electronic Waste Recycling Act are still considered hazardous wastes and may not be discarded in the regular trash.
If a consumer purchases a "covered electronic device," the retailer may require the consumer to pay the recycling fee on the device. When the consumer discards a "covered electronic device," it becomes a hazardous waste, called a "covered electronic waste." Qualified e-waste collectors and recyclers may receive cost reimbursement from the fund established from the recycling fees for their management of covered electronic wastes. (Since portable DVD players with LCD screens greater than four inches in size did not become "covered electronic devices" until December 31, 2006, they are not subject to the Ewaste recycling fee until on and after July 1, 2007.)
For more information regarding EWRA, including a listing of the devices that are covered under the law, and the regulations adopted by DTSC and the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) to implement the law click here.
How Should I Properly Manage e-waste?

California has adopted Universal Waste Regulations for handling and transporting certain low risk hazardous wastes. Universal wastes include: televisions, computer monitors, computers and other e-wastes. The Universal Waste regulations also apply to other common wastes, such as fluorescent lamps, mercury-containing switches, and batteries.
The management requirements specified in the Universal Waste regulations are easy to understand and comply with. DTSC has prepared several documents that summarize the regulations for managing universal wastes:
Summary of Universal Waste (UW) Handler Requirements - September 2003
Universal Waste Regulations: Current (Unofficial) Version of Chapter 23 of the California Code of Regulations, title 22

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Battle Between the Bottle and the Faucet

By BILL MARSH
THOSE eight daily glasses of water you’re supposed to drink for good health? They will cost you $0.00135 — about 49 cents a year — if you take it from a New York City tap.
Or, city officials suggest, you could spend 2,900 times as much, roughly $1,400 yearly, by drinking bottled water. For the extra money, they say, you get the added responsibility for piling on to the nation’s waste heap and encouraging more of the industrial emissions that are heating up the planet.
But trends in American thirst quenching favor the 2,900-fold premium, as the overflowing trash cans of Central Park attest. In fact, bottled water is growing at the expense of every other beverage category except sports drinks. It has overtaken coffee and milk, and it is closing in on beer. Tap, if trends continue, would be next.
Now New York City officials — like the mayors of Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and San Francisco — are campaigning to get people to reverse course and open their faucets instead of their wallets. The city Health Department, mindful of high obesity rates, says water is more healthful than many other, sugar-filled drinks. The city’s Department of Environmental Protection touts its low environmental impact. Both note that it’s practically free (leaving aside those New Yorkers for whom paying extra is a lifestyle choice).
New York’s water is the envy of municipalities everywhere. It is one of just five major American systems whose water is so good it needs little or no filtration, saving energy and chemicals. (The others are Boston, Portland, Ore., San Francisco and Seattle.)
The system is self-sustaining from rainwater stored in reservoirs. Gravity takes it downhill to the city, where pumps are unnecessary in all but a few neighborhoods.
New York water is quite pure, requiring little chlorine, and low in minerals, giving it a clean taste.
Sounds like an ad for bottled water.
But beverage industry representatives say their version is not just about health and taste — its plastic container, scorned by environmentalists, is actually a plus for consumers.
“The tap water quality is fine in most of the United States,” said John D. Sicher Jr., editor and publisher at Beverage Digest, a trade publication. “The issue is convenience and shifting consumer preference. It’s not so easy, walking down Third Avenue on a hot day, to get a glass of tap water.”
Bottled water has profited from the sagging image of soft drinks, a category in decline for nearly a decade (but still the most consumed of beverages, by far). Preferences evolve — could it be tap’s turn?
“Through education and motivation you can get people to change their habits,” said Emily Lloyd, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, citing smoking, recycling and wearing seat belts. Convenience comes in different forms, she added: “It’s easy to fill a bottle of water and stick it in your backpack.”
With surveys showing climate change a growing concern, officials and advocates say they hope people will consider the implications of billions of bottles.
“More than 90 percent of the environmental impacts from a plastic bottle happen before the consumer opens it,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Oil for plastic, oil for shipping, oil for refrigeration — and in the end, most of the effort goes to landfills.
“The bottle is going to have to change,” he said, noting research in plastics made from plants. “I’m seeing more interest in this than any time in 30 years.”

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles

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