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CHAPTER 30 SOLID WASTE
A PLASTIC SURF
Are the oceans teeming with trash?
30
A PLASTIC SURF
Are the oceans teeming with trash?
At the end of this chapter you will
know:
• More about the types and
amount of trash produced by
humans.
• Options we have for dealing with
solid and hazardous waste.
• The role of business in reducing
the amount of waste
Learning
Outcomes
30
A PLASTIC SURF
Are the oceans teeming with trash?
Waste that cannot be reused or
recycled accumulates. We can
minimize the waste we produce by
recovering, recycling, and disposing
of waste products properly.
Main
Concept
30
Are the oceans teeming with trash?
Case: Scientists have been sampling
the ocean in an effort to determine
how much trash is at sea.
Small bits of plastic have formed
surprisingly large patches of trash in
regions where strong currents circle
around areas with weak currents.
Giora Proskurowski
We are still in the
early stages of
determining the
impact of ocean
plastic on marine
ecosystems, food
webs, and as transport
for invasive species.
30
Waste is a uniquely human invention, generated by
uniquely human activities
TERMS TO KNOW:
Law of conservation of matter
Matter is never created nor
destroyed, but it does change form.
Some of these changes make
materials that are dangerous or toxic
to living organisms.
In nature, potentially toxic matter is
stored in the Earth until catastrophic
events release them.
Launching a neuston tow to sample
the ocean’s surface
Human activity and use of materials
disrupts this cycle such that even
degradable materials can’t break
down.
30
Waste is a uniquely human invention, generated by
uniquely human activities
TERMS TO KNOW:
Law of conservation of matter
Biodegradable materials are those
that can be broken down by other
organisms through primarily aerobic
processes.
Without air, however, this process is
stopped and material accumulates.
Launching a neuston tow to sample
the ocean’s surface
Degradable materials can be broken
down by chemical and physical
reactions, while nondegradable
materials are made of very stable
molecules and so never break
down—at least not in a human time
scale.
30
Waste is a uniquely human invention, generated by
uniquely human activities
243 million tons = 486,000,000 pounds
(That’s about the weight of 113,000 SUVs)
* MSW=Municipal solid waste
The United States produces more trash per person than any other nation.
Municipal waste is only a small part of our total waste produced, but it is the type
of waste that can be directly impacted by our daily choices.
30
How big is the Atlantic Garbage Patch and is it growing?
Five major gyres in the oceans. Much of the debris is very small and floats just below the surface
History: The first garbage patch found in 1997 while crossing the Pacific Ocean.
Press claims sensationalized the finding with unfounded reports about weight, size,
density, and growth. In reality, measurement and comparison was very difficult.
The ecological definition of “patch” includes distribution of materials or organisms,
so the public thinks “island.”
Trash was settling at several levels within the water column, but data up to this
discovery were based on near-surface sampling.
30
How we handle waste determines where it ends up
TERMS TO KNOW:
Open dumps
Hazardous waste
Leachate
Sanitary landfills
Incinerators
Open dumps are cheap and common in
developing countries.
These dumps are largely unregulated,
contain a mix of hazardous and nonhazardous materials, and are often very
hospitable for insects and rodents.
Processing e-waste in China
Cambodia municipal garbage
– sorting for anything that can
sold to recyclers.
Sanitary landfill – Soil
is above and below
trash to keep contents
from seeping into the
environment.
Compacting trash
under layers of soil
keeps odors down but
also prevents aerobic
digestion.
30
How we handle waste determines where it ends up
Reducing waste at its source is
the EPA’s top choice for waste
management.
Landfilling is the last choice.
Unfortunately, more than 50%
of our solid waste still ends up
in landfill.
Sanitary landfills are dug out and
lined to prevent groundwater
contamination from leachate. Trash
is dumped and covered with soil to
reduce smell and infestation. Newer
landfills have leachate collection
systems and holding ponds built into
their facilities.
30
How we handle waste determines where it ends up
Reducing waste at its source is
the EPA’s top choice for waste
management.
Landfilling is the last choice.
Unfortunately, more than 50%
of our solid waste still ends up
in landfill.
Sanitary landfills are dug out and
lined to prevent groundwater
contamination from leachate. Trash
is dumped and covered with soil to
reduce smell and infestation. Newer
landfills have leachate collection
systems and holding ponds built into
their facilities.
30
How we handle waste determines where it ends up
30
Improperly handled waste threatens all living things
30
Improperly handled waste threatens all living things
30
When it comes to managing waste, the best solutions
mimic nature
Much of our waste
is biodegradable—
we can copy
nature to help
deal with this part
of the waste
stream on large or
or small scales.
We can also use
garbage and its
by-products to
make usable
energy.
TERMS TO
KNOW:
Composting
30
When it comes to managing waste, the best solutions
mimic nature
Much of our waste
is biodegradable—
we can copy
nature to help
deal with this part
of the waste
stream on large or
or small scales.
We can also use
garbage and its
by-products to
make usable
energy.
TERMS TO
KNOW:
Composting
30
When it comes to managing waste, the best solutions
mimic nature
Much of our waste
is biodegradable—
we can copy
nature to help
deal with this part
of the waste
stream on large or
or small scales.
We can also use
garbage and its
by-products to
make usable
energy.
TERMS TO
KNOW:
Composting
30
Lifecycle analysis and better design can help reduce
waste
By assessing the
environmental impact of
every stage of a product's life,
companies are trying to
reduce the amount of waste
generated by what they
design, sell, and make.
Cradle-to-cradle analysis
attempts to increase reuse
potential and turn waste into
resource.
European countries and
19 U.S. states have implemented
“take back laws,” which require manufacturers to take back some of their
products after consumers have finished with them.
30
An example of
industrial
ecology, the
industrial park
in Kalundborg,
Denmark,
shows 24
different
connections
between
industries and
local farms—
waste becomes
resource.
Lifecycle analysis and better design can help reduce
waste
30
An example of
industrial
ecology, the
industrial park
in Kalundborg,
Denmark,
shows 24
different
connections
between
industries and
local farms—
waste
becomes
resource.
Lifecycle analysis and better design can help reduce
waste
30
An example of
industrial
ecology, the
industrial park
in Kalundborg,
Denmark,
shows 24
different
connections
between
industries and
local farms—
waste
becomes
resource.
Lifecycle analysis and better design can help reduce
waste
30
An example of
industrial
ecology, the
industrial park
in Kalundborg,
Denmark,
shows 24
different
connections
between
industries and
local farms—
waste
becomes
resource.
Lifecycle analysis and better design can help reduce
waste
30
An example of
industrial
ecology, the
industrial park
in Kalundborg,
Denmark
shows 24
different
connections
between
industries and
local farms –
waste
becomes
resource.
Lifecycle analysis and better design can help reduce
waste
30
Consumers have a role to play, too
TERMS TO KNOW:
Eco-industrial parks
Refuse
Reduce
Reuse
A family in Ohio with their polymer-based
possessions
“…We now buy a bottle of
water rather than refill a
canteen. We buy individually
wrapped bags of mini
carrots…. There are countless
other examples, and as we
learn with every net tow,
there are significant costs to
the planet for those choices.”
30
Consumers have a role to play, too
TERMS TO KNOW:
Recycle
We have better options than throwing away
many products. An item like a plastic bottle
can be recovered and reused, or the bottle
can be recycled into another product.
30
Consumers have a role to play, too
TERMS TO KNOW:
Recycle
We have better options than throwing away
many products. An item like a plastic bottle
can be recovered and reused, or the bottle
can be recycled into another product.
30
Consumers have a role to play, too
TERMS TO KNOW:
Recycle
We have better options than throwing away
many products. An item like a plastic bottle
can be recovered and reused, or the bottle
can be recycled into another product.
30
Consumers have a role to play, too
TERMS TO KNOW:
Recycle
We have better options than throwing away
many products. An item like a plastic bottle
can be recovered and reused, or the bottle
can be recycled into another product.
30
Consumers have a role to play, too
TERMS TO KNOW:
Recycle
We have better options than throwing away
many products. An item like a plastic bottle
can be recovered and reused, or the bottle
can be recycled into another product.
30
Consumers have a role to play, too
TERMS TO KNOW:
Recycle
We have better options than throwing away
many products. An item like a plastic bottle
can be recovered and reused, or the bottle
can be recycled into another product.
30
PERSONAL CHOICES THAT HELP
30
UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUE
30
ANALYZING THE SCIENCE
30
ANALYZING THE SCIENCE
http://bitly/tdQ7Kr
30
Recycling information
http://earth911.com
EVALUATING NEW INFORMATION
30
UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUE
30
MAKING CONNECTIONS
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