Tag Archives: recycling

USA – Solid Waste Industry Managing Trash as a Resource

Technological Innovation Turns Garbage into Energy, While Reducing Emissions, Says Industry Leader in Speech to Washington Economists

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Forget your old-fashioned ideas about the solid waste industry. It’s not just about hauling garbage anymore.

So said Bruce J. Parker, president and CEO of the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), in a speech today to the Society of Government Economists in Washington. NSWMA represents the private sector solid waste industry in the United States.

“Most Americans probably don’t recognize today’s garbage industry for who we really are – one of the most environmentally responsive and innovative industries in the nation,” said Parker. “The nearly 400,000 American men and women who work in the public and private sectors of our industry – in positions as varied as haulers, mechanics, civil engineers and environmental scientists – have long moved beyond simply picking up trash.”

“Americans throw out more than 250 million tons of garbage each year. Our industry continues to protect public health and the environment by managing this waste,” Parker said. “But in recent years, we’ve pioneered technologies that have changed the ways we deal with our trash. We’ve invested tens of millions of dollars, not only to modernize landfills and boost recycling rates, but also to cut greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, and find renewable sources of energy that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Parker pointed to waste-based energy projects, which turn household garbage into clean, renewable energy. In addition to 87 waste-to-energy facilities operated by the industry – generating enough electricity to power 1.7 million homes – it also operates 470 landfill-gas-to-energy projects that provide electricity and heat for corporate and government users in 44 states. The U.S. EPA has identified an additional 520 landfills across the nation as potential candidates for similar energy projects.

“Landfill-gas-to-energy projects also address global warming by capturing methane, a potent greenhouse gas,” Parker noted. The EPA estimates that using methane as renewable, “green” energy brings environmental and energy benefits equivalent to eliminating the carbon dioxide emissions of 195 million barrels of oil a year. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has noted that landfill-gas recovery directly reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Other industry initiatives include working with truck manufacturers to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles, investing in the development of alternative fuels such as biodiesel, compressed natural gas and ethanol, using renewable sources of energy such as solar to power compacting equipment, and placing solar panels and wind turbines on landfills to produce even more energy.

“Increasingly, the industry is relying on cleaner-burning fuels to power our fleet of 130,000 trucks,” Parker said. “We’re also looking toward hybrid technology to further reduce greenhouse emissions and improve air quality.”

Recycling and composting offer another important environmental success story, Parker said. The industry processed recycling for or composted slightly more than one third of all municipal solid wastes in 2007, conserving precious resources, protecting air and water from potential pollution and leading to a 2.5 percent reduction in America’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. EPA.

“The solid waste industry is proud of its environmental achievements, but there is much more to do. Our collective efforts have made a difference, and we continue to raise the bar,” Parker said.

NSWMA represents for-profit companies in North America that provide solid, hazardous and medical waste collection, recycling and disposal services, and companies that provide professional and consulting services to the waste services industry. For more information about how America’s solid waste management professionals are serving as environmental health and safety stewards, protecting our environment and serving our communities, please visit http://www.everydayenvironmentalists.org/environmentalists.

Source – Business Wire

Conserve/India – handbags from recycled plastic creates jobs for urban poor

conserve1Trashy Fashion From India

Plastic bags are a plague. They can be found in just about every corner of the planet— in fields, trees, rivers, oceans and even in the stomachs of birds and sea creatures around the globe.

They don’t biodegrade in landfills and almost every piece of plastic ever made is still in existence today.

Enter Anita Ahuja, founder and president of Conserve, based in India. Anita has come up with a way to upcycle the plastic bags plaguing her region and also help numerous people find gainful employment. The result is Conserve’s stunning range of bags made from recycled plastic. We caught up with Anita to ask her a few questions about her fashionable eco-bags and her amazing enterprise.

Please tell us a bit about Conserve.
Along with support and encouragement from my family and friends I established Conserve, a non-profit organization in 1998 with a mandate to work in the area of energy efficiency and waste management. In 2002, Conserve started working on developing an alternative recycling or rather up-cycling process that uses abundantly and freely available bags as a resource for income generation for the urban poor through their conversion into a “renewed” material which we call HRP – Handmade Recycled Plastic.

Conserve has trained people from urban slums of Delhi to process waste into recycled sheets, which is more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than conventional recycling processes. This process converts used polythene bags into a ‘renewed’ innovative material with significantly different properties and great visual appeal, without the use of any additional colour or dyes.

Conserve’s process of recycling is far more environmentally and energy friendly than the conventional plastic recycling process. Moreover, it is very good for the environment as it uses existing everyday skills of local people. Now Conserve is supporting nearly 100 rag pickers and has about 50 employees working for them.

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India – toilets to save water and recycle waste into manure

Kanpur, February 1 – A faculty member of the environmental engineering department of Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) has devised an unique toilet system called “Zero-Waste Toilets”. Such toilets will not only cut down wastage of water but also recycle the waste, to be later used as manure. Prof Vinod Tare and his team, in collaboration with UNICEF, is at present installing four such public toilets in Kanmari Ganj Road locality of Aligarh district. Also, a similar toilet will be installed on the Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram train on an experimental basis, as the project is also being handled by the Technology Mission on Railway safety (TMRS) — a joint initiative of the Ministry of Railways and IIT-K.

Read MoreExpress India