Waste Prevention Saves Energy

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Title:
Waste Prevention Saves Energy
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Fact sheet
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Whiffen, H.J.H.
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University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
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Gainesville, Fla.
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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
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"Publication date: May 1992."
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"EES-77"

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FactSheetEES-77 May1992 WastePreventionSavesEnergy1 H.J.H.Whiffen,J.F.K.Earle,M.S.Hammer2TRASHTROUBLEGarbage,waste,rubbish,trash--we,thepeople, areproducingtoomuchofit.Ontheaverage,a Floridiangenerates8.3poundsofsolidwasteevery day,4.7poundsmorethanthenationalaverage estimatedbytheEnvironmentalProtectionAgency (EPA)(StateofFloridaDepartmentof EnvironmentalRegulation,1991).Themunicipal solidwaste(MSW)foundinthehomeandoffice garbagecanisaproductofnaturalresourcesusedto manufactureit.Thisincludesenergyresourcesboth asabasematerials(feedstock)andaspowerfor processingandtransportation.Themining,refining andconsumptionoftheseenergyresourcescreatesa varietyofpollutants.Giventhisinformation,itis easytoseehowMSWisatriplewhammy. 1.naturalresourcesareusedup,decreasingthe quantityoftheseirreplaceablematerials, 2.energyisconsumed,leavinglessforthefuture whilecreatingmorepollutantsandincreasingthe potentialforglobalclimaticchange,and 3.effortsatMSWdisposalarecontaminatingthe environmentinwhichwelive. Therearethreemajormethodsofdealingwith thesolidwastesgenerated:landfills,incinerationand recycling.Eachmethodhascapacitylimitations (Table1).Therefore,thebestmeansofsubduingthe problemsassociatedwithMSWistoreducethe amountofMSWcreated.THEFIRSTLINEOFDEFENSESourcereduction,alsocalledwasteminimization, isanabatementofwastepropagation,adecreasein theamountofgarbagegeneratedperpersonperday. Itispollutionpreventionactivitiesofmanufacturers andconsumersaimedatreducingthetoxicityor quantityofproductsbeforetheyarepurchased.This factsheetdiscussesopportunitiesforconsumerwaste prevention. Sourcereductiondecreases: 1.thelandareainthestatethatmustbecommitted tolandfills, 2.therateofnaturalresourcedepletion,and 3.thequantityofpollutantsgeneratedduring commodityproduction,useanddisposal. 1.ThisdocumentisFactSheetEES-77,aseriesoftheFloridaEnergyExtensionService,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFood andAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida.Publicationdate:May1992. 2.H.J.H.Whiffen,FormerAgriculturalEnergySpecialist,FloridaEnergyExtensionService;J.F.K.Earle,AssistantProfessor,Agricultural EngineeringDept.;M.S.Hammer,ProfessorandExtensionHomeEnvironmentSpecialist,HomeEconomicsDept.,CooperativeExtension Service,InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida,GainesvilleFL32611. TheFloridaEnergyExtensionServicereceivesfundingfromtheFloridaEnergyOffice,DepartmentofCommunityAffairsandisoperated bytheUniversityofFlorida'sInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesthroughtheCooperativeExtensionService.Theinformation containedhereinistheproductoftheFloridaEnergyExtensionServiceanddoesnotnecessarilyreflecttheviewsoftheFloridaEnergyOffice. TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanequalopportunity/affirmativeactionemployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,age,handicap,ornational origin.Forinformationonobtainingotherextensionpublications,contactyourcountyCooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/ChristineTaylorStephens,Dean

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WastePreventionSavesEnergy Page2Whenfewerproductsaremanufactured,less energyisconsumedtomakeandtransportthemand ultimately,lessenergyendsupinthegarbagecan. SomewasteminimizingstrategiesarelistedinTable 2.EXPENDINGENERGYIn1984,peopleintheUnitedStatesdiscarded 59.6billionpoundsofpaperpackaging(Selke,1990). Approximately660milliontreesforpaperpulpwere harvestedandtheenergyequivalentto17billion gallonsofgasolinewasconsumedintheprocessing andtransportationofthispaperpackaging. Seventeenbilliongallonsofgasolinecouldkeepthe 60-wattlightbulbonyourbackporchlitforover400 millionyears. In1987,4.4billionpoundsofplasticfilmwere thrownawayintheUnitedStates(Selke,1990).The productionofthisplasticconsumedtheenergy equivalentof2.8billiongallonsofgasoline.This sameenergycouldhaverunyour20-cubicfoot refrigeratorcontinuouslyforover5millionyears. Ifsourcereductionmeasureswereusedto decreasetheamountofplasticandpaperpackaging usedby10percent,6.4billionpoundsofMSWwould beremovedfromthewastestreamandtheenergy equivalentofalmost2.0billiongallonsofgasoline wouldbeconserved.Twobilliongallonsofgasoline isgreaterthantheenergyittakestooperateyour televisionfor170billionhours.Onehundredand seventybillionhoursisover650millionyearsofStar Trekreruns.OPERATIONSOURCEREDUCTIONSourcereductionisaboutmakingchoices365 daysayearathome,atwork,inthecar,andatthe store.AnyreductionintheamountofMSW generatedbyoneindividualisasuccessfulwaste minimizingmission.Thefollowingprovides descriptionsofafewsourcereducinggameplansthat illustratetheenormousenergyandresourcesavings andenvironmentalbenefitsthatcanaccruefromthe actionsofconcernedcitizens.Juice:BuytheGallonAhouseholdoffourpeoplecandrinkmorethan 45gallonsofFloridaorangejuiceinoneyear,ifeach persondrinksatypical4-ounceservingwithbreakfast everymorning.Unlessthisorangejuicecomesfrom freshlysqueezed,backyardoranges,itmustbe purchasedinsometypeofcontaineratthegrocery store. Orangejuicecanbepurchasedin16-oz,32-oz, and64-ozwax-coatedpapercontainers.Theselection ofcontainersizesignificantlyaffectstheenergyand environmentalimpactofthepurchase(Table3). Buying45gallonsoforangejuiceduringtheyearin 64-ozcontainerscosts$272,whilebuying45gallonsof orangejuicein16-ozcontainerscosts$433. Therefore,buyingorangejuiceinbulkcansave$160 annually.Inaddition,sincebulkbuyingreducesthe quantityofcontainersusedperfluidounce,buying orangejuiceinbulkcansaveenoughenergytopower thehallnight-lightfor490nights(Table4).TheSanctionedSackLunchAsacklunchsandwichcanbepackagedinavariety ofways:aluminumfoil,aziptopbaggie,oraplastic sandwichbox.Theenergyrequiredtomakethese containersdiffersdependinguponthematerialtype andtheamountofrecycledfibersused(Table5). Generally,whenpackinglunchesusingaluminumfoil orbaggies,newfoiloranewbaggieisusedeveryday. Bycomparison,plasticsandwichboxescanbereused repeatedly.Whenasandwichispackagedinaplastic sandwichboxinsteadofaluminumfoilorplastic baggies,over80percentoftheenergyusedfor sandwichcontainersissaved.Thiscanleadtobig savingsoverthecourseofaschoolyear.Thereare approximately185daysinaschoolyear.Ifone student'ssandwichforlunchispackedinaplasticbox insteadofaziptopbaggie,thefamilysaves$15on sandwichwrappers,becauseoneplasticboxcanbe usedallyear. Therewere165,375studentsinthe1990-91firstgrade classinFlorida.Ifthesandwichforeachstudentwas packagedinaplasticsandwichboxfortheschoolyear insteadofbaggiestheenergyequivalenttoover 125,000gallonsofgasolinewouldbesavedannually. Theenergyin125thousandgallonsofgasolinecould runastereoformorethan19millionhours. Nineteenmillionhoursis2,231yearsofcontinuous stereosound.PaperConsumptionattheCopierInanofficeof50people,itiseasytoimaginethe officecopiermaking500copiesperday.Ifall500 copiesperdayareone-sided,energyequalto430

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WastePreventionSavesEnergy Page3gallonsofgasolineisconsumedatthepapermillto makethe1,250poundsofpaperperofficeperyear. Manycopymachinesareabletomakedoublesidedcopiesautomatically.Ifhalfofthecopiesmade inonlyoneofficeweredouble-sided,theofficewould save$150ayear,becauseitwouldsave65reamsof paperannually.Atthesametime,300poundsof wastepaperandtheenergyequalto100gallonsof gasolinewouldberemovedfromthewastestream annually.Theenergyin100gallonsofgasolinecould poweracomputerfor434workdays.IndividuallyWrappedCheeseSlicesThemarketingwizardryofthecheeseindustryhas createdawiderangeofconsumerchoicesatthe supermarket.Threeoftheseoptionsare: 1.individuallywrappedcheeseslicespackaged togetherwithanouterlayerofplastic, 2.slicedcheesepackagedinanouterlayerof plastic,and 3.unslicedcheesepackagedinanouterlayerof plastic. Plasticwraparoundeachindividualsliceofcheese requiresthatextramaterialsandenergybeconsumed bythecheesepackagingprocesstomake,wrapand transportthecheese. The5,145,115householdsinFloridaconsumed approximately67,800tonsofAmericancheesein 1989.Ifpurchasedasindividuallywrappedcheese slices,theenergyequivalentto6.3milliongallonsof gasolinewasusedtomaketheplasticwrapforeach cheeseslice.6.3milliongallonsofgasolineisenough energytorunthetelevisionandVCRfor270million hoursor108millionmovies.The12-ozAluminumCanvs. the2-LiterPlasticBottleSodacanbepurchasedineitheraluminumcans orplasticbottlesmadefromPETandHDPEplastics. Analuminumcanholds12fluidounces;a2-liter bottleholds67.6fluidounces.Analuminumsoda cancanberecycledintoanothersodacan;plastic fromasodabottleis"downgraded"tomakeanonfoodcontainerorproducttoinsuresterilefood packaging. Theenergyrequiredtomanufactureanaluminum canwith50percentrecycledfibersis80Btuperfluid ounce.Theenergyrequiredtomanufactureallthe partsofa2-literplasticbottlewithnorecycledfibers is114Btuperfluidounce.Therefore,30percentof theenergyneededtomakethesodacontaineris savedwhen12ozaluminumcansmadeofrecycled materialsarepurchasedinsteadof2-literplastic bottles. Aluminumisapopularmetaltorecyclebecause itcostslesstomakeasodacanoutofrecycled materialsthanoutofnewmetal.In1989,America recycled60percentofthe80billioncansused. OneoutofeveryfourPETbottlesarecurrently beingrecycled.PETbottlesareactuallyaformof polyestersotheycanberecycledintocarpeting,suits andfiberfillforskijackets.HDPEcanbecome flowerpotsandtrashcans.CONCLUSIONIftheproblemisn'tfabricated,asolutiondoesn't havetobefound.MSWcan'tbecompletely eliminated,butthesizeoftheproblemcanbe decreasedthroughsourcereduction.Source reductionincludesenergyconservingstrategies becauseittakesenergytomakethings,ittakesenergy todisposeofthings,andtheexpenditureofenergy itselfmakesMSW.Someexamplesofhowsource reductionsavesenergyhavebeenillustratedinthis factsheet,buttherearemoreenergy-savingsource reductionstrategiesjustwaitingtobediscovered.REFERENCESSelke,S.E.1990. PackagingandtheEnvironment UniversityofMichigan. CongressoftheUnitedStates,OfficeofTechnology Assessment.1989. FacingAmerica'sTrash:What NextforMunicipalSolidWaste? OTA-O-424. StateofFloridaDepartmentofEnvironmental Regulation.1991. SolidWasteManagementin Florida1990AnnualReport

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WastePreventionSavesEnergy Page4 TableTable1.1..TheLimitationsofLandfills,IncinerationandRecycling1 Landfills GenerationofPollutants Liquidpollutantsfromoldlandfillsareseepingintothegroundwater.Leachatefrommunicipallandfillshasbeen showntobeasignificantsourceofgroundwaterpollution. Methane,agreenhousegaswith25timesthegreenhouseeffectofcarbondioxide,isbeinggeneratedinside landfillsandescapingintotheatmosphere. CapacityLimitations ThenumberoflandfillsinFloridaisbeingreducedandnewsitesonwhichtobuildotherlandfillsarebecoming moredifficulttofindinFlorida,whereover1,000peoplemoveeveryday. Waste-to-EnergyIncineration GenerationofPollutants Waste-to-energy(WTE)incinerationplantsburnMSWasfuel.OntheaverageMSWhas4,500-6,000BTUofheat energyperpoundofunprocessedgarbage.Thisenergyisusedtogeneratesteamorelectricity.Nationalstudies arecurrentlybeingconductedtodeterminethepollutingpotentialofthesefacilities. CapacityLimitations In1988,thenineactivewaste-to-energyincinerationplantsinFloridaburnedapproximately3,300,000tonsof MSW,21percentofthetotalMSWgeneratedinFlorida.Theyproducedalittleover4percentofthestate's electricalenergyconsumptionforthesameyear.Theleftoverash2amountedtoapproximately742,500tonsof landfill,a78percentweightreductionfromtheoriginalMSWinput. NotallMSWgeneratedcanbeburnedinawaste-to-energyincinerationplant.Metalandglassproductsdonot burnandseveralothermaterialsgiveofftoxicsubstances.Sourceseparation,alaborintensiveprocess,is requiredtominimizethepollutionpotentialofWTEincinerationplants. Recycling GenerationofPollutants Recyclingconsistsofthreedifferentactivities:collectingsecondarymaterials,preparingthosematerialsfor market,andrecyclingthematerialsbymanufacturingnewproducts.Allthreeoftheseactivitiesrequireenergy inputsandproducepollution.Itistruethat,inmostcases,themanufacturingofthenewproductsfromrecycled materialsrequireslessenergythanthemanufacturingofthesameproductfromvirginrawmaterials,butitisnot truethatrecyclingdoesnotconsumeenergy.Insomecases,i.e.,linerboard,boxboard,theenergyrequiredto manufacturetheproductwhenrecycledmaterialsareusedisgreaterthanwhenusingrawmaterials.Also, sometimesproductsmadeusingrecycledpaperfibersaremorefossil-fuel intensivebecausethenon-paperfiber partsoftreesarenotavailabletoburnasfuel. CapacityLimitations Thematerialswhicharecurrentlybeingrecyclednationwideincludepaperproducts,organicmatterascompost, certaintypesofplastics,glass,steel-tincans,aluminumandusedcaroilandtires.In1990,15percentofthe MSWgeneratedinFloridawasrecycled.ThereareseveralIFASpublicationswhichdiscussrecyclingoptions. Unfortunately,noteverythingwhichisthrownawaycanberecycled.Itistooexpensivetoseparatemulti-material products,i.e.,disposablerazors,calculators,lighters,intotheirbasecomponentswhichisanecessarystepbefore recyclingcanoccur.Thereisalsoalimittohowmanytimespaperandplasticfiberscanbereformulatedinto otherusefulproducts.Forotheritemsthereissimplynomarketforrecycledmaterials. 1OfficeofTechnologyAssessment,FacingAmerica'sTrash:WhatNextforMunicipalSolidWaste.1989.2AshisthenoncombustiblepartofMSW.

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WastePreventionSavesEnergy Page5 Table2..WasteMinimizationStrategies Method Example Reuseproductfororiginalpurpose. Storebrownsugarinanemptyglassjartokeep thesugarfresh. Fillanemptypumpspraybottlewithwatertouse asaplantmister. Purchaseproductswhichhavebeen redesignedtoconsumelessinputmaterials duringmanufacture. TheaverageAmericancarin1990weighedalmost 30percentlessthanits1972counterpart. Increaseaproduct'susefullifebytakinggood careofitandrepairingbrokenparts. Itcostsmuchlessmoneyandagonytogetnew heelsandashoeshineonawellbuiltpairof shoeswhicharealreadybrokeninand comfortablethantopurchaseanewpairofshoes. Reducetheconsumptionofproductswhich haveanegativeenvironmentalimpact. Calculatorbatteriescontainmercuryandcadmium. Botharetoxicsubstances.Usecalculatorswith solarphotovoltaiccells.Theymakeelectricity fromanylightsource. Substitutereusableproductsforsingle-use disposableproducts. Multi-usemicromeshcoffeefilterseliminatethe dailydisposalofpapercoffeefilters.

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WastePreventionSavesEnergy Page6 Table3.AnnualOrangeJuiceConsumptionina4-Member Household1 Wax-Coated PaperContainer SizePurchased Numberof Containers Purchased Annually2 AnnualCost ofPurchased OrangeJuice ($) EnergyUsedto MakeAnnual Supplyof Containers(Btu) Small(16-oz) 360 428.40 930,107 Medium(32-oz) 180 340.20 775,089 Bulk(64-oz) 90 269.10 581,317 1Basedonconsumptionof4-ozperpersonperdayor11.3gallonsper personperyear. 2Numberofcontainersofgivensizerequiredtoholdannual consumptionof45gallons. Table4.CostandEnergyAdvantagesofBuyinginBulk Numberof Containersand SizePurchased Annual Cost ($) NumberofNightsaNight-Light CouldOperateonEnergyUsed toMakeContainers 36016-oz 428.40 1,320 (minus) 9064-oz 269.10 830 AnnualSavings 159.30 490nights Table5.SackLunchSandwichContainers PackageType Material EnergyInputsper Containerper SandwichUsing 100%Virgin Materials(Btu) EnergyInputsper Containerper SandwichUsing 100%Recycled Fibers(Btu) Costper Studentper Year($) AluminumFoil Aluminum 485persq.ft. 49persq.ft. 5.11 ZiptopBaggie HDPE1 555perbag (Footnote2) 16.56 PlasticBox Polypropylene 8,081perbox (Footnote2) 1.49 1HDPE:HighDensityPolyethylene2Recycledplasticisusuallyturnedintothingsthatdonothavetobesterile.