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Solid and Hazardous Waste


Solid and Hazardous Waste Chapter 16 * * * * * * * Figure 16-9 solutions: A waste-to-energy incinerator with pollution controls burns mixed solid wastes and recovers ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Solid and Hazardous Waste

Solid and Hazardous Waste
  • Chapter 16

What are solid waste and hazardous waste, and why
are they problems?
  • Section 16-1

We throw away huge amounts of useful things and
hazardous materials
  • No waste in natural world because wastes of one
    organism become nutrients for others as a natural
    recycling of nutrients occurs.
  • Modern humans produce huge amounts of waste that
    go unused and pollute.
  • Solid wasteany unwanted or discarded material we
    produce that is not a liquid or a gas.
  • Industrial solid waste produced by mines,
    agriculture, and industries that supply people
    with goods and services.
  • Municipal solid waste (MSW), consisting of the
    combined solid waste produced by homes and

We throw away huge amounts of useful things and
hazardous materials
  • Hazardous, or toxic, waste threatens human health
    or the environment because it is poisonous,
    dangerously chemically reactive, corrosive, or
    flammable. Examples include
  • Industrial solvents.
  • Hospital medical waste.
  • Car batteries.
  • Household pesticide products.
  • Dry-cell batteries.
  • Ash from incinerators and coal-burning power

Harmful chemicals are found in many homes
What Harmful Chemicals Are in Your Home?
Weed killers
Drain, toilet, and window cleaners
Ant and rodent killers
Spot removers
Flea powders
Septic tank cleaners
Paint Products
Paints, stains, varnishes, and lacquers
Paint thinners, solvents, and strippers
Wood preservatives
Artist paints and inks
Used motor oil
Battery acid
Dry-cell batteries (mercury and cadmium)
Brake and transmission fluid
Glues and cements
Fig. 16-2, p. 413
Stepped Art
Fig. 16-2, p. 413
We throw away huge amounts of useful things and
hazardous materials
  • Classes of hazardous wastes are
  • Organic compounds
  • Various solvents, pesticides, PCBs, and dioxins.
  • Nondegradable toxic heavy metals
  • Lead, mercury, and arsenic.
  • Highly radioactive waste produced by nuclear
    power plants and nuclear weapons facilities.

How should we deal with solid waste?
  • Section 16-2

We can burn or bury solid waste or produce less
of it
  • Waste management in which we attempt to manage
    wastes in ways that reduce their environmental
    harm without seriously trying to reduce the
    amount of waste produced.
  • Waste reduction (produce much less waste and
    pollution), and the wastes we do produce are
    considered to be potential resources that can be
    reused, recycled, or composted.
  • Integrated waste managementa variety of
    strategies for both waste reduction and waste

Integrated waste management
First Priority
Second Priority
Last Priority
Primary Pollution and Waste Prevention
Secondary Pollution and Waste Prevention
Waste Management
Treat waste to reduce toxicity
Change industrial process to eliminate use of
harmful chemicals
Incinerate waste
Use less of a harmful product
Bury waste in landfills
Reduce packaging and materials in products
Release waste into environment for dispersal or
Make products that last longer and are
recyclable, reusable, or easy to repair
Buy reusable and recyclable products
Fig. 16-4, p. 415
Stepped Art
Fig. 16-4, p. 415
We can cut solid wastes by reducing, reusing, and
  • Waste reduction is based on three Rs
  • Reduce consume less and live a simpler
  • Reuse rely more on items that can be used
    repeatedly instead of on throwaway items, and buy
    necessary items secondhand or borrow or rent
  • Recycle separate and recycle paper, glass, cans,
    plastics, metal, and other items, and buy
    products made from recycled materials.

We can cut solid wastes by reducing, reusing, and
  • Strategies that industries and communities have
    used to reduce resource use, waste, and
  • Redesign manufacturing processes and products to
    use less material and energy.
  • Develop products that are easy to repair, reuse,
    remanufacture, compost, or recycle.
  • Eliminate or reduce unnecessary packaging.
  • Charge consumers by amount of waste they throw
    away but provide free pickup of recyclable and
    reusable items.
  • Establish cradle-to-grave responsibility laws
    that require companies to take back various
    discarded consumer products, such as electronic
    equipment, appliances, and motor vehicles.

You can save resources by reducing your output of
solid waste and pollution
Why is reusing and recycling materials so
  • Section 16-3

Reuse is an important way to reduce solid waste
and pollution, and to save money
  • Increasingly substituted throwaway items for
    reusable ones, which has resulted in growing
    masses of solid waste.
  • Reuse involves cleaning and using materials over
    and over and thus increasing the typical life
    span of a product.
  • Waste reduction decreases the use of matter and
    energy resources, cuts pollution and waste,
    creates local jobs, and saves money.
  • In many less-developed countries, the poor
    scavenge in open dumps for food scraps and items
    that they can reuse or sell, and are often
    exposed to toxins and infectious diseases.

Reuse is an important way to reduce solid waste
and pollution, and to save money
  • Reuse strategies in more-developed countries
    include yard sales, flea markets, secondhand
    stores, and online sites such as eBay and
  • To encourage people reusable bags, the
    governments of Ireland, Taiwan, and the
    Netherlands tax plastic shopping bags.
  • Australia, France, Italy, and the U.S. city of
    San Francisco have banned the use of all or most
    types of plastic shopping bags.
  • Plastics industry officials have mounted a
    massive advertising and political campaign to
    prevent such bans.

There are many ways to reuse the items we purchase
There are two types of recycling
  • Recycling involves reprocessing discarded solid
    materials into new, useful products.
  • Households and workplaces produce five major
    types of materials that we can recycle paper
    products, glass, aluminum, steel, and some
  • Primary, or closed-loop, recyclingmaterials are
    recycled into new products of the same type.
  • Secondary recycling waste materials converted
    into different products.

There are two types of recycling
  • Key questions about recycling
  • Do the items that are separated for recycling
    actually get recycled?
  • Do businesses, governments, and individuals
    complete the recycling loop by buying products
    that are made from recycled materials?

Composting is a form of recycling that mimics
natures recycling of nutrients
  • Involves using decomposer bacteria to recycle
    yard trimmings, food scraps, and other organic
  • The resulting organic material can be added to
    soil to supply plant nutrients, slow soil
    erosion, retain water, and improve crop yields.
  • Homeowners can compost such wastes in simple
    backyard containers.
  • Some cities in Canada and in many European Union
    countries collect and compost more than 85 of
    their biodegradable wastes in centralized
    community facilities.
  • In the US, about 3,000 municipal composting
    programs recycle about 60 of the yard wastes.

Recycling has advantages and disadvantages
  • Whether recycling makes economic sense depends on
    how we look at its economic and environmental
    benefits and costs.
  • Critics of recycling programs argue that
    recycling is costly and adds to the taxpayer
    burden in communities where recycling is funded
    through taxation.
  • Proponents of recycling point to studies showing
    that the net economic, health, and environmental
    benefits of recycling far outweigh the costs.
  • Critics say that recycling may make economic
    sense for valuable and easy-to-recycle materials
    such as aluminum, paper, and steel.

Recycling has advantages and disadvantages
We can encourage reuse and recycling
  • Three factors hinder reuse and recycling.
  • The market prices of almost all products do not
    include the harmful environmental and health
    costs associated with producing, using, and
    discarding them.
  • The economic playing field is uneven, because in
    most countries, resource-extracting industries
    receive more government tax breaks and subsidies
    than reuse and recycling industries.
  • The demand, and thus the price paid, for recycled
    materials fluctuates, mostly because buying goods
    made with recycled materials is not a priority
    for most governments, businesses, and individuals.

We can encourage reuse and recycling
  • Ways to encourage reuse and recycling
  • Increase subsidies and tax breaks for reusing and
    recycling materials and decrease subsidies and
    tax breaks for making items from virgin
  • Increase use of the fee-per-bag waste collection
    system and encourage or require government
    purchases of recycled products to help increase
    demand for and lower prices of these products.
  • Pass laws requiring companies to take back and
    recycle/reuse packaging and electronic waste.
  • Citizens can pressure governments to require
    product labeling that lists recycled content of
    products and the types and amounts of any
    hazardous materials.

We can encourage reuse and recycling
  • Recycling is popular because it helps to soothe
    the consciences of people living in a throwaway
  • Reducing resource consumption and reusing
    resources are more effective prevention
    approaches to reducing the flow and waste of

What are the advantages and disadvantages of
burning or burying solid waste?
  • Section 16-4

Burning solid waste has advantages and
  • Globally, MSW is burned in more than 600 large
    waste-to-energy incinerators which use the heat
    they generate to boil water and make steam for
    heating water or interior spaces, or for
    producing electricity.
  • The US incinerates only about 12 of its MSW.
  • Incineration has a bad reputation stemming from
    past use of highly polluting and poorly regulated
  • Incineration competes with an abundance of
    low-cost landfills in many areas.

Burning solid waste has advantages and
Burying solid waste has advantages and
  • About 54, by weight, of the MSW in the United
    States is buried in sanitary landfills, compared
    to 80 in Canada, 15 in Japan, and 4 in
  • Sanitary landfills are where solid wastes are
    spread out in thin layers, compacted, and covered
    daily with a fresh layer of clay or plastic foam,
    which helps to keep the material dry and reduces
    leakage of contaminated water.

Burying solid waste has advantages and
  • Open dumps are essentially fields or holes in the
    ground where garbage is deposited and sometimes
  • Rare in more-developed countries.
  • China disposes of about 85 of its solid waste in
    rural open dumps or in poorly designed and poorly
    regulated landfills.

A waste-to-energy incinerator with pollution

Wet scrubber
Electrostatic precipitator
Waste pit
Water added
Dirty water
Bottom ash
Fly ash
To waste treatment plant
Ash for treatment, disposal in landfill, or use
as landfill cover
Fig. 16-9, p.420
Burying solid waste has advantages and
A state-of-the-art sanitary landfill
When landfill is full, layers of soil and clay
seal in trash
Electricity generator building
Methane storage and compressor building
Leachate treatment system
Probes to detect methane leaks
Pipes collect explosive methane for use as fuel
to generate electricity
Methane gas recovery well
Leachate storage tank
Compacted solid waste
Groundwater monitoring well
Leachate pipes
Leachate pumped up to storage tank for safe
Synthetic liner
Leachate monitoring well
Clay and plastic lining to prevent leaks pipes
collect leachate from bottom of landfill
Fig. 16-11, p. 421
How should we deal with hazardous waste?
  • Section 16-5

We can use integrated management of hazardous
  • Integrated management establishes three levels of
  • Produce less.
  • Convert as much of it as possible to less
    hazardous substances.
  • Put the rest in long-term, safe storage.
  • Industries try to find substitutes for toxic or
    hazardous materials, reuse or recycle the
    hazardous materials within industrial processes,
    or use them as raw materials for making other
  • Industrial hazardous wastes are exchanged through
    clearinghouses where they are sold as raw
    materials for use by other industries.
  • Most e-waste recycling efforts create further
    hazards and can result in serious threats to
    other species.

Integrated hazardous waste management
Produce Less Hazardous Waste
Convert to Less Hazardous or Nonhazardous
Put in Perpetual Storage
Natural decomposition
Change industrial processes to reduce or
eliminate hazardous waste production
Underground injection wells
Thermal treatment
Surface impoundments
Recycle and reuse hazardous waste
Chemical, physical, and biological treatment
Underground salt formations
Dilution in air or water
Fig. 16-13, p. 422
Stepped Art
Fig. 16-13, p. 422
We can detoxify hazardous wastes
  • Bioremediation employs bacteria and enzymes that
    help destroy toxic or hazardous substances or
    convert them to harmless compounds.
  • Phytoremediation involves using natural or
    genetically engineered plants to absorb, filter,
    and remove contaminants from polluted soil and
  • Hazardous wastes can be incinerated to break them
    down and convert them to harmless or less harmful
    chemicals such as carbon dioxide and water.
  • Detoxify hazardous wastes by using a plasma arc
    torch, somewhat similar to a welding torch, to
    incinerate them at very high temperatures.

We can store some forms of hazardous waste
  • Burial on land or long-term storage of hazardous
    and toxic wastes should be used only as the last
  • Currently, burial on land is the most widely used
    method in the United States and in most
    countries, largely because it is the least
    expensive of all methods.
  • The most common form of burial is deep-well
  • Liquid hazardous wastes are pumped under pressure
    through a pipe into dry, porous rock formations
    far beneath aquifers that are tapped for drinking
    and irrigation water.

We can store some forms of hazardous waste
  • Cost is low and the wastes can often be retrieved
    if problems develop.
  • Problems with deep-well disposal
  • Limited number of such sites and limited space
    within them.
  • Wastes can leak into groundwater from the well
    shaft or migrate into groundwater in unexpected
  • Encourages the production of hazardous wastes.

We can store some forms of hazardous waste
  • Surface impoundments are ponds, pits, or lagoons
    in which wastes are stored.
  • May have liners to help contain the waste.
  • 70 of the storage ponds in the United States
    have no liners.
  • Eventually all impoundment liners are likely to
    leak and could contaminate groundwater.
  • Liquid and solid hazardous wastes can be put into
    drums or other containers and buried in carefully
    designed and monitored secure hazardous waste

Storing liquid hazardous wastes in surface
impoundments has advantages and disadvantages
How hazardous wastes can be isolated and stored
in a secure hazardous waste landfill
Bulk waste
Gas vent
Plastic cover
Impervious clay cap
Clay cap
Impervious clay
Water table
Leak detection system
Double leachate collection system
Plastic double liner
Reactive wastes in drums
Groundwater monitoring well
Fig. 16-16, p. 425
You can reduce your output ofhazardous wastes
How can we make the transition to a more
sustainable low-waste society?
  • Section 16-6

Grassroots action has led to better solid and
hazardous waste management
  • Individuals have organized to prevent the
    construction of hundreds of incinerators,
    landfills, treatment plants for hazardous and
    radioactive wastes, and polluting chemical plants
    in or near their communities.
  • If local citizens adopt a not in my back yard
    (NIMBY) approach, the waste will always end up in
    someones back yard.
  • A call for drastically reducing production of
    such wastes by emphasizing pollution prevention
    and using the precautionary principle.

Providing environmental justice for everyone is
an important goal
  • Environmental justice is an ideal whereby every
    person is entitled to protection from
    environmental hazards regardless of race, gender,
    age, national origin, income, social class, or
    any political factors.
  • A larger share of polluting factories, hazardous
    waste dumps, incinerators, and landfills in the
    United States are located in or near communities
    populated mostly by African Americans, Asian
    Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans.
  • In general, toxic waste sites in Caucasian
    communities have been cleaned up faster and more
    completely than such sites in African American
    and Latino communities.

International treaties have reduced hazardous
  • For decades, some more-developed countries had
    been shipping hazardous wastes to less-developed
  • Since 1992, international treaty known as the
    Basel Convention has banned participating
    countries from shipping hazardous waste to or
    through other countries without their permission.
  • In 1995, the treaty was amended to outlaw all
    transfers of hazardous wastes from industrial
    countries to less-developed countries.

International treaties have reduced hazardous
  • By 2010, this agreement had been signed by 175
    countries and ratified by 172 countries.
  • The United States, Afghanistan, and Haiti have
    signed but have not ratified the convention.
  • Hazardous waste smugglers evade the laws by using
    an array of tactics.

International treaties have reduced hazardous
  • In 2000, delegates from 122 countries completed a
    global treaty called the Stockholm Convention on
    Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) to control
    12 POPs.
  • POPs are widely used toxic chemicals that can
    accumulate in the fatty tissues of humans and
    other organisms at high trophic levels in food
  • The original list of 12 chemicals, called the
    dirty dozen, includes DDT and eight other
    chlorine-containing persistent pesticides, PCBs,
    dioxins, and furans.
  • By 2009, 169 countries had signed a strengthened
    version of the POPs treaty that seeks to ban or
    phase out the use of these chemicals and to
    detoxify or isolate stockpiles of them.
  • It does allow 25 countries to continue using DDT
    to combat malaria until safer alternatives are
  • The United States has not yet ratified this

International treaties have reduced hazardous
  • In 2000, the Swedish Parliament enacted a law
    that, by 2020, will ban all chemicals that are
    persistent in the environment and that can
    accumulate in living tissue.
  • Industries required to perform risk assessments
    on the chemicals they use and to show that these
    chemicals are safe to use, as opposed to
    requiring the government to show that they are
  • Strong opposition to this approach in the United

We can make the transition to low-waste societies
  • Many environmental scientists argue that we can
    make a transition to a low-waste society by
    understanding and following key principles
  • Everything is connected.
  • There is no away, as in to throw away, for the
    wastes we produce.
  • Polluters and producers should pay for the wastes
    they produce.
  • Different categories of hazardous waste and
    recyclable waste should not be mixed.

Three big ideas
  • The order of priorities for dealing with solid
    waste should be to produce less of it, reuse, and
    recycle as much of it as possible and safely burn
    or bury what is left.
  • The order of priority for dealing with hazardous
    waste should be to produce less of it, reuse or
    recycle it, convert it to less-hazardous
    material, and safely store what is left.
  • We need to view solid wastes as wasted resources
    and hazardous wastes as materials that we should
    not be producing in the first place.
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