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Solid and Hazardous Waste

Core Case Study: Electronic Waste (1)

What is electronic waste or e-waste?
High-quality material resources Toxic and hazardous waste

Disposal methods
Cradle-to-grave approach

Core Case Study: Electronic Waste (2)

Company-sponsored recycling programs Prevention is best long-term solution

Electronic Waste (E-waste)

What Are Solid Waste and Hazardous Waste, and Why Are They Problems? Solid waste represents pollution and unnecessary waste of resources, and hazardous waste contributes to pollution, natural capital degradation, health problems, and premature deaths.

Wasting Resources
Solid Waste
Municipal solid waste Industrial solid waste

Hazardous or toxic waste

Cause for concern
About 3/4 unnecessary resource waste Create air and water pollution, land degradation

Scavenging in the Philippines

Harmful Chemicals in Your Home

Solid Waste in the United States

Produce 1/3 of worlds solid waste Mining, agricultural, industrial 98.5%

Municipal solid waste 1.5%

High-waste economy Examples

Solid Wastes Polluting a River

What Should We Do about Solid Waste?

A sustainable approach to solid waste is first to reduce it, then to reuse or recycle it, and finally to safely dispose of what is left.

Dealing with Solid Waste

Waste management Waste reduction

Integrated waste management

Integrated Waste Management

Raw materials

Processing and manufacturing


Solid and hazardous wastes generated during the manufacturing process

Waste generated by households and businesses

Plastic Glass Metal Paper

Food/yard waste

Hazardous waste

Remaining mixed waste

To manufacturers for reuse or for recycling


Hazardous waste management




Suggested Priorities for Integrated Waste Management

First Priority
Primary Pollution and Waste Prevention
Change industrial process to eliminate use of harmful chemicals Use less of a harmful product

Second Priority
Second Pollution and Waste Prevention
Reuse Repair

Last Priority
Waste Management
Treat waste to reduce toxicity Incinerate waste

Recycle Reduce packaging and materials in products Make products that last longer and are recyclable, reusable, or easy to repair Bury waste in landfills Compost Buy reusable and recyclable products Release waste into environment for dispersal or dilution

Producing Less Waste

Refuse Reduce


What Can You Do?

Reducing Resource Use, Waste, and Pollution

Redesign processes and products Make products easy to repair, reuse, remanufacture, compost, or recycle Eliminate or reduce unnecessary packaging

Use fee-per-bag waste collection systems

Establish cradle-to-grave laws

Why Is Reusing and Recycling Materials So Important?

Reusing items decreases the use of matter and energy resources and reduces pollution and natural capital degradation; recycling does so to a lesser degree.

Reuse as a form of waste reduction Salvaging

Yard sales, flea markets, secondhand stores, auctions, newspaper ads Technology
Refillable containers and cloth bags

Case Study: Refillable Containers

Can reuse glass and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic containers Throwaway containers from centralized facilities cheaper for corporations Bottle deposit fee National bottle bill or ban non-reuseable containers

Five major types of materials can be recycled Primary (closed-loop) recycling

Secondary recycling
Preconsumer (internal) and postconsumer (external) waste Feasibility and marketing

Mixed Versus Separate Household Recycling

Material recovery facilities (MRF) Source separation

Pay-as-you-throw (PAUT)

What Can You Do?

Decomposing bacteria Household composting

Organic waste collection facilities

Success large-scale composting
Located centrally Odor control Exclude toxic materials

Individuals Matter: Recycling Plastics

5% plastics recycled MBA Polymers, Inc commercial recycling process Pellets cheaper than virgin plastics

More environmentally friendly

Trade-offs: Recycling

Encouraging Reuse and Recycling

Fix faulty accounting system Even the economic playing field

Stabilize prices for recycled materials

Government subsidies Better-informed public

16-4 Advantages and Disadvantages of Burning or Burying Solid Waste?

Concept 16-4 Technologies for burning and burying solid wastes are well developed, but burning contributes to pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and buried wastes eventually contribute to pollution and land degradation.

Waste-to-energy Incinerator

Electricity Steam Turbine Generator Smokestack Electrostatic precipitator

Furnace Boiler

Wet scrubber

Ash for treatment, disposal in landfill, or use as landfill cover

Trade-offs: Incineration

Burying Solid Wastes

Open dumps Sanitary landfills


Sanitary Landfill

Topsoil Sand Clay Garbage Probes to detect methane leaks

When landfill is full, layers of soil and clay seal in trash Methane storage and compressor building

Electricity generator building

Leachate treatment system

Methane gas recovery well

Pipes collect explosive methane for use as fuel to generate electricity Leachate storage tank

Compacted solid waste

Garbage Sand Synthetic liner Sand Clay


Leachate pipes

Leachate pumped up to storage tank for safe disposal Groundwater

Groundwater monitoring well Leachate monitoring well

Clay and plastic lining to prevent leaks; pipes collect leachate from bottom of landfill

Trade-offs: Sanitary Landfills

16-5 How Should We Deal with Hazardous Waste?

Concept 16-5 A sustainable approach to hazardous waste is first to produce less of it, then to reuse or recycle it, then to convert it to less hazardous materials, and finally to safely store what is left.

Integrated Hazardous Waste Management

Fig. 16-14, p. 392

Produce Less Hazardous Waste

Change industrial processes to reduce or eliminate hazardous waste production Recycle and reuse hazardous waste

Convert to Less Hazardous or Nonhazardous Substances

Natural decomposition Incineration Thermal treatment Chemical, physical, and biological treatment Dilution in air or water

Put in Perpetual Storage

Landfill Underground injection wells Surface impoundments Underground salt formations

Detoxifying Hazardous Waste

Bioremediation Phytoremediation


Trade-offs: Phytoremediation

Storing Hazardous Waste

Deep-well disposal Surface impoundments

Secure landfills

Trade-offs: Deep Underground Wells

Fig. 16-16, p. 393

Trade-offs: Surface Impoundments

Secure Hazardous Waste Landfill

Bulk Gas Topsoil Plastic cover waste vent Earth Impervious Clay Sand impervious clay cap cap clay

Water table Earth Groundwater Double leachate collection system Plastic double liner Leak detection system Reactive wastes in drums Groundwater monitoring well

What Can You Do?

Science Focus: Mercury (1)

Neurotoxin Natural sources

Human activities
Coal burning, chemical plants, smelting, electronics

Science Focus: Mercury (2)

Persistent chemical Exposure and bioaccumulation

Mercury Cycle


Hg2+ and acids


PRECIPITATION Hg2+ and acids

Inorganic mercury and acids (Hg2+)

Hg and SO2
Human sources


Coalburning plant

Photochemical Elemental oxidation Inorganic mercury mercury and acids vapor (Hg2+) (Hg)




Bacteria Elemental OxidationInorganic and acids Organic mercury mercury mercury liquid (Hg) (Hg2+) Bacteria (CH3Hg+) Settles Settles Settles out out out SEDIMENT Fig. 16-A, p. 394


Large fish Small fish BIOMAGNIFICATION

IN FOOD CHAIN Phytoplankton Zooplankton

Solutions: Mercury Pollution

Dealing with Lead Poisoning

Neurotoxin Persistent

Especially harmful to children

Good news More work needed

Solutions: Lead Poisoning

How Can We Make the Transition to a More Sustainable Low-waste Society?

Shifting to a low-waste society requires individuals and businesses to reduce resource use and to reuse and recycle wastes at local, national, and global levels.

Achieving a Low-waste Society (1)

Grassroots action Environmental justice

International treaties
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) Dirty dozen

Achieving a Low-waste Society (2)

Precautionary principle Emphasize prevention and reduction