Belajar Mengelola Sampah dari Negara Maju

Cara terbaik mengurangi sampah adalah dengan tidak menghasilkannya. Hal ini berlaku bagi semua negara tak terkecuali di negara maju.

Masalah sampah muncul seiring pertumbuhan ekonomi dan meningkatnya kesejahteraan masyarakat. Data dari Lembaga Perlindungan Lingkungan AS (Environmental Protection Agency) menyebutkan, penduduk Amerika menghasilkan 250 juta ton sampah padat per tahun pada 2010. Bandingkan dengan jumlah sampah padat yang dihasilkan oleh penduduk Indonesia pada periode yang sama yang mencapai 56,3 juta ton pertahun.

Menurut data statistik Eurostat, setiap tahun, masyarakat Uni Eropa membuang 3 miliar ton sampah – 90 juta ton di antaranya adalah sampah beracun. Dari angka tersebut berarti, setiap pria, wanita dan anak-anak di Eropa membuang 6 ton sampah padat setiap tahun.

Namun menemukan cara mengelola dan membuang sampah – tanpa merugikan lingkungan – terus menjadi masalah besar di semua negara hingga saat ini. Di Eropa, kebanyakan dari sampah tersebut dibakar di tempat pembakaran sampah (incinerators) atau dibuang ke tempat pembuangan sampah akhir (67%). Namun kedua metode ini sama-sama merusak lingkungan.

Kebutuhan lahan untuk lokasi pembuangan sampah terus meningkat. Sampah juga mencemari udara, air dan tanah, melepas karbon dioksida (CO2) dan metana (CH4) ke udara, serta bahan kimia dan pestisida ke tanah. Hal ini membahayakan tidak hanya bagi kesehatan manusia, namun juga bagi hewan dan tumbuhan.

Amerika Serikat maupun Uni Eropa, berpegang pada tiga prinsip berikut untuk menangani sampah:

1. Mencegah produksi sampah

Strategi ini adalah yang terpenting dalam pola pengelolaan sampah yang sangat terkait dengan upaya perusahaan untuk memimimalisir kemasan dan upaya memengaruhi konsumen untuk membeli produk-produk yang ramah lingkungan.

Jika upaya ini berhasil – dengan bantuan media dan lembaga terkait – maka dunia akan bisa mengurangi sampah secara signifikan dan mendorong penggunaan bahan-bahan ramah lingkungan dalam setiap produk yang dikonsumsi oleh masyarakat.

2. Mendaur ulang dan menggunakan kembali suatu produk

Jika kita masih sulit untuk mencegah terciptanya sampah, langkah daur ulang adalah langkah alternatif yang bisa dilakukan untuk menguranginya.

Baik AS maupun negara Uni Eropa, mereka sudah menentukan jenis sampah apa saja yang menjadi prioritas untuk diolah dan didaur ulang, meliputi sampah kemasan, limbah kendaraan, beterai, peralatan listrik dan sampah elektronik.

Uni Eropa juga meminta negara-negara anggotanya untuk membuat peraturan tentang pengumpulan sampah, daur ulang, penggunaan kembali dan pembuangan sampah-sampah di atas. Hasilnya tingkat daur ulang sampah kemasan di beberapa negara anggota Uni Eropa mencapai lebih dari 50%.

Di AS, keberhasilan upaya daur ulang sejumlah produk juga sangat menggembirakan. Jumlah baterai (aki) kendaraan yang berhasil didaur ulang mencapai 96%. Jumlah surat kabar dan kertas yang berhasil didaur ulang ada di tempat kedua sebesar 71% dan sekitar duapertiga (67%) kaleng baja berhasil didaur ulang. Tantangan terbesar ada pada upaya mendaur ulang produk-produk elektronik konsumen dan wadah gelas. AS baru berhasil mendaur ulang seperempat (25%) dan sepertiganya.

3. Memerbaiki cara pengawasan dan pembuangan sampah akhir

Jika sampah tidak berhasil didaur ulang atau digunakan kembali sampah harus dibakar dengan aman. Lokasi pembuangan sampah adalah solusi terakhir. Kedua metode ini memerlukan pengawasan yang ketat karena berpotensi merusak lingkungan.

Uni Eropa baru-baru ini menyetujui peraturan pengelolaan TPA yang sangat ketat dengan melarang pembuangan ban bekas dan metetapkan target pengurangan sampah yang bisa terurai secara biologis.

Batas polusi di tempat pembakaran sampah juga telah ditetapkan. Mereka juga berupaya mengurangi polusi dioksin dan gas asam seperti nitrogen oksida (NOx), sulfur dioksida (SO2), dan hidrogen chlorida (HCL), yang sangat berbahaya bagi kesehatan.

Catatan penting, berdasarkan data EPA, upaya daur ulang dan pembuatan kompos di AS berhasil mencegah pembuangan 85,1 juta ton sampah pada 2010, naik dari hanya 15 juta ton pada 1980.

Prestasi ini setara dengan mencegah pelepasan sekitar 186 juta metrik ton emisi setara karbon dioksida (CO2) ke udara pada 2010 atau setara dengan memensiunkan 36 juta mobil dari jalan raya dalam satu tahun!

Upaya pengelolaan sampah yang baik tidak hanya memecahkan masalah pencemaran lingkungan tapi juga bisa menjadi solusi memerlambat efek pemanasan global. Sampai di mana kita?

Redaksi Hijauku.com

sumber : http://www.hijauku.com/2012/05/08/belajar-mengelola-sampah-dari-negara-maju/

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Recycling

Recycling is any process that involves the recovery and reuse of materials that were once considered trash. Recycling can be as simple as reusing something—such as a coat or computer—by passing it on for someone else to use. Or, it can be as involved as reprocessing materials in metals, plastics, paper, or glass to make new products.

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An Old Idea Is Rediscovered

There is nothing new about recycling. People have found ways to reuse pottery, gold, silver, and bronze for thousands of years. Old swords were melted and reshaped to use as plows. Gold and silver jewelry were melted down and reshaped into other forms. As recently as one hundred years ago, traveling peddlers in the United States and Europe collected rags, bones, and scrap metal waste from household garbage and sold them to manufacturers to make into new products.

During the early twentieth century, Americans relied less and less on recycling. By the 1950s the United States was labeled a “throw-away economy” because Americans were consuming increasing amounts of goods that ended up in garbage landfills.

Recycling was revived in many Western countries back in the 1960s and 1970s as the public became interested in conservation and looked for ways to reduce damage to the environment. In the United States, the first Earth Day in 1970 is often viewed as the official beginning of the modern recycling movement. On that day, hundreds of new recycling centers opened across the country.

The recycling movement caught on in many other Western countries during the next thirty years. Today, Germany recycles 30 percent of all of its trash. Japan recycles over 50 percent of its trash, half of all wastepaper and glass bottles, and more than 60 percent of its drink and food cans.

At the start of the twenty-first century, the United States recycling efforts are behind many European nations. Americans generate twice the amount of trash as Germans, but recycle less. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States recycled 28 percent of its waste in 2002. States vary widely in their recycling programs. Minnesota is the nation’s leader in recycling with a rate of recycling 45 percent of all domestic waste. Montana and Wyoming are at the bottom of the list, recycling less than 5 percent.

Why Recycle?

Recycling is one of the easiest steps anyone can take to reduce the impact of humans on the environment. On average, each American produces approximately 3.5 pounds of garbage per day. That is 1,500 pounds per person each year—or 90,000 pounds in a lifetime. Without recycling, all this trash ends up in landfills.

In the 1970s many people believed that recycling’s greatest benefit was the reduction of the number of landfills because this would reduce the pollution associated with landfills and preserve the land. More recently, researchers have found multiple benefits to recycling.

  1. Recycling saves natural resources. Recycling reduces the demand for new materials from the environment. For example, by recycling paper, fewer trees are needed to produce new paper.
  2. Recycling saves habitats such as rain forests. By reducing the demand for new materials (such as metals that must be mined and refined) from the environment, more land and habitats can be preserved and/or conserved.
  3. Recycling saves energy and reduces emissions. In most cases, it takes less energy to make new products from recycled materials than from virgin raw materials. For example, it takes 95 percent less energy to produce aluminum products from recycled aluminum than from the raw materials of bauxite ore. In general, recycling of materials also produces less pollution than processing raw materials.
  4. Recycling can be economical. Recycling is often less expensive than the combined cost of processing new materials and managing waste disposal.
  5. Recycling reduces the need for new landfills and incinerators. Landfills and incinerators can emit hazards to the environment. When landfills leak, hazardous solvents can contaminate underlying ground-water—water that may be used for agriculture or as drinking water. Landfills and incinerators also emit pollution into the air.
  6. Recycling reduces the improper disposal of trash, such as littering.

Internal and External Recycling

Most people associate recycling with items such as newspapers, magazines, plastics, aluminum, and glass. The recovery, reprocessing, and reuse of materials from used items is called external recycling and requires public participation.

A second type of recycling, internal recycling, is the reuse of waste materials from manufacturing and does not involve the general public. For example, the manufacture/production of copper items results in wasted copper pieces; with internal recycling, these pieces are melted down and recast. Although internal recovery is possible in many industries, it is most common in the metal industry.

Because industrial waste accounts for 98 percent of all waste in the United States, many critics of recycling advocate that more attention should be paid to internal recycling than external recycling.

How External Recycling Works

External recycling involves three basic steps:

  1. Recovery. Recovery is the collection of used items that can be recycled. Many cities have drop-off centers or special curbside pickup programs to collect recyclables. Recovery may include sorting and separation of collected materials.
  2. Reprocessing. Reprocessing is the conversion of used items into reusable products. For example, glass is melted down and molded into new bottles or paper is reprocessed into new paper. There are three kinds of reprocessing: primary, secondary, and tertiary:
    • Primary recycling is the reprocessing of materials into the same type of product, such the recycling of used glass bottles into new glass bottles.
    • Secondary recycling is the reprocessing of materials into different but similar products, such as processing corrugated cardboard boxes into cereal boxes.
    • Tertiary recycling is the reprocessing of a material into a product that cannot be recycled again—for example, when mixed office paper is reprocessed into bathroom tissue.
  3. Marketing and sale of new items. One of the most challenging parts of recycling is creating markets for recycled items. Recycling programs depend on their ability to advertise and sell recycled items at competitive prices. Recycling does not accomplish its goals if recycled items are not used.

What Things Are Recycled?

There are four groups of materials that are commonly recycled today.

  1. Standard recyclables. The most commonly recycled materials are aluminum, glass, paper products, steel, and plastics.
  2. Hazardous wastes. Hazardous wastes include items such as antifreeze, motor oil, paint, and batteries. Many cities have special centers to recycle hazardous wastes.
  3. Newer products. Some recycling centers have systems to reprocess newer products such as compact and floppy disks.
  4. Used automobiles and parts.

Aluminum. Aluminum cans are the most widely recycled metal. In 1999 roughly two-thirds of all aluminum cans produced in the United States were recycled. However, not all forms of aluminum are recycled. For example, aluminum foil can be recycled, but not all recycling centers are set up to process it.

Paper. Paper recycling is one of this country’s most successful recycling programs. By weight, more paper is recycled each year than all other materials combined. The success of this program is in part due to the successful marketing and sale of recycled paper. Recycled paper is widely used today. Unfortunately, paper can only be recycled a limited number of times, because the paper fibers become too short to continue reprocessing after awhile.

Newspaper. Every part of a newspaper can be recycled—including the newspaper and inserts. Newspaper recycling has been profitable for decades.

Steel. Steel cans can be recycled many times. Recycled steel is used for many products such as tin cans.

Plastics. Plastics are not biodegradable, so the best choice is to recycle them. But plastics are a challenge for recycling centers. There are so many different kinds of plastics that they are difficult for recycling centers to reprocess; in fact, many plastics cannot be recycled. Those plastics that can be recycled can only be recycled a few times. Today, most plastic containers are marked on the bottom with a number in a triangle. Each number indicates a different kind of plastic. This information allows recycling center staff to identify plastic containers that can or cannot be recycled. Containers marked one or two are the most commonly accepted plastics for recycling.

Hazardous wastes. Hazardous wastes include toxic materials such as paints, solvents, motor oil, antifreeze, herbicides, and batteries. If these materials end up in landfills, the risk exists that they may leak into underlying groundwater which people use for drinking. If incinerated, these materials end up in the air. Many recycling centers have special programs for handling hazardous wastes.

Batteries. Batteries contain many toxic ingredients, such as lead and cadmium, which can cause serious environmental damage if they are buried in landfills. Many recycling centers direct customers to special dealers who accept used batteries.

Computers. Used computers are a challenge for recycling, because they need to be completely disassembled. Recently, a number of companies have started exploring ways to do this efficiently and cost effectively. Recycling of computers is becoming increasingly important as the number of used computers continues to grow. One computer manufacturer, Dell, is now offering to take back old computers for reuse or recycling.

Automobile Recycling. For years, the economic incentives of recycling parts from cars, trucks and other motor vehicles has made automobile recycling a big business. In the United States, each year, more than eleven million vehicles are sent to the junkyard because they have been damaged in accidents or have reached the end of their life. About three-quarters of the scrapped vehicles are recycled or their parts are resold. Every part from the doors and windows to engines and transmissions are sold; other recyclable metal parts are magnetically separated from other materials. The rest are shredded and buried in landfills.

In the future, a smaller percentage of automobile parts will be recyclable as cars are built with more nonmetal, nonrecyclable materials, unless the automobile makers give serious attention to designing new cars that can be recycled. New cars are being built with more and more high-tech gear and hundreds of different materials that cannot be recovered.

Countries in the European Union have been exploring ways to encourage automobile manufacturers to take greater responsibility for the recycling of “end of life” automobiles. Several countries have already implemented “end of product responsibility” programs. For example, in the Netherlands, car manufacturers are liable to pay a recycling fee when they market a vehicle. The fee is then used to cover possible recycling costs.

Composting—Recycling Organic Materials

Composting is a method of recycling organic materials, such as certain food waste and yard clippings, directly into the soil. Although there are many ways to make composts, the basic idea is to mix yard clippings and food waste into a pile with soil and let it decompose; worms, insects, and other organisms help break it down. Once the material in a compost has broken down, the degraded material can be tilled into the soil and applied as nutrient-rich mulch or material for plants.

Composting offers an opportunity to provide a rich source of nutrients for gardens and to reduce the amount of waste taking up space in landfills. Food and yard wastes currently make up about 30 percent of all wastes going into landfills. The airtight design of landfills slows down the decomposition of organic materials because they need oxygen to decompose. One community that has taken composting seriously is Halifax, Nova Scotia. Roughly 30 to 50 percent of their waste is organic matter. In 1997 the Nova Scotia Department of Environment passed a law banning the disposal of food, leaf and yard waste from landfills. Through heightened use of composting and other programs, between 1989 and 2000, Nova Scotia’s per capita waste production dropped from 720 kg to 356 kg.

see also Composting; Plastics; Pollution Prevention; Reuse; Solid Waste; Waste Reduction.

Bibliography

Ackerman, Frank. (1997). Why Do We Recycle? Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Cothran, Helen, ed. (2003). Garbage and Recycling: Opposing Viewpoints. Chicago: Greenhaven Press.

The Earthworks Group. (1989). 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. Berkeley, CA: The Earthworks Press.

The Earthworks Group. (1990). The Recyclers Handbook: Simple Things You Can Do. Berkeley, CA: The Earthworks Press.

League of Women’s Voters. (1993). The Garbage Primer: A Handbook for Citizens. New York: Lyons and Burford Publishers.

Mc Donough, William, and Braungart, Michael. (2002). Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. New York: Northpoint Press.

Nova Scotia Department of the Environment. (2001). Status Report 2001 of Solid Waste-Resource Management in Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS: Nova Scotia Department of the Environment.

Thompson, Claudia G. (1992). Recycled Papers: The Essential Guide. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

internet resources

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Municipal Solid Waste.” Available fromhttp://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/recycle.htm.

Global Recycling Network Web site. Available from http://grn.com.

Recycling Today Web site. Available from http://www.recyclingtoday.com.

Corliss Karasov

RECYCLING

The Netherlands recycled more than three quarters (77%)of the approximately 65 million tons of garbage it generated in 2000. Public pressure to reduce dioxin emissions from incineration plants and pollution from landfills led to landfill taxes beginning in 1995 and a landfill ban on combustible waste in 1997. In addition, government-owned incineration plants were operated below full capacity at the same time as incentives to expand the recyclables market and encourage end-of-life producer responsibility were initiated. Mandatory separation of different types of industrial wastes, with recycling of construction and demolition waste within a government financed infrastructure, and municipal curbside pickups of organic waste for composting, along with separated household recyclables, has decreased landfilling from 35 percent in 1985 to 9 percent in 2000.

sumber: http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/recycling.aspx#2

Energizer Introduces ‘World First’ Recycled AA Battery Range

Company Aims to Increase Recycled Content from 4% to 40%02.03.2016 15:12

Energizer Introduces ‘World First’ Recycled AA Battery Range

US battery manufacturer Energizer has launched an AA battery range made using 4% recycled material from end-of-life batteries.

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The company claimed that its EcoAdvanced™ range is a world first for alkaline battery technology and delivers long-lasting power while creating less impact on the planet.

“Industry experts long believed it was impossible to create a battery made with recycled batteries while maintaining performance,” commented Michelle Atkinson, chief marketing officer at Energizer.

According to Atkinson the company’s scientists have spent seven years developing the technology through proprietary partnerships and an approach that refines and transforms recycled battery material into a high-performance active ingredient.

The company explained that this ingredient, used in conjunction with energy rings, results in a long-lasting battery with an improved environmental footprint – both by requiring less mining of virgin material in the manufacturing process and by reducing the amount of batteries consumers need to power their devices, resulting in less waste.

“By 2025, our vision for Energizer EcoAdvanced is to increase the amount of recycled battery material ten-fold to 40%,” added Atkinson.

Energizer said that the EcoAdvanced is the first step in creating value for recycled battery material, which until today has had little or no economic value.

The company also claimed to have been the first to remove mercury from alkaline and hearing aid batteries, and the first to create child resistant packaging to mitigate coin cell ingestion by children, along with an awareness campaign.

 

sumber : https://waste-management-world.com/a/energizer-introduces-world-first-recycled-aa-battery-range

Report: Waste Paper Management Market Set to Hit £43bn by 2020

Despite the relentless move to digital consumption, the global waste paper management market is projected to be valued at around $43.35 billion by 2020, and to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.55% from 2015 to 2020, according to a recently published report.
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The report, Waste Paper Management Market, published by Markets and Markets,
found that increasing population, strict regulations imposed by local governments for waste management practices, increasing consumer awareness, and increasing awareness about environmental safety are the main drivers of the waste paper management and recycling market.

According to the authors the waste paper management market is expected to witness significant growth in the future with the increasing popularity of sustainable waste management practices. The market was also projected to experience growing demand in the industrial as well as commercial sectors.

The report noted that developing markets such as China, Brazil, and India are emerging as growth economies for waste paper management market. Growing economies, increasing population, and the resultant disposable income of people were said to be acting as the main drivers for increased opportunities in these countries.

The presence of better waste treatment facilities was found to have been a factor in contributing to the rising demand of waste paper management services in the mature regions of Europe and North America.

The growing interest of consumers regarding environmental safety was also said to be a key driver of waste paper management market.

sumber : http://waste-management-world.com/a/report-waste-paper-management-market-set-to-hit-43bn-by

Mealworms can eat an all-plastic (styrofoam) diet and not die

Mealworms can eat an all-plastic diet and not die

Margaret  Badore

Margaret Badore (@mbadore)
Science / Animals
September 30, 2015

mealworms on polystyrene

via Stanford. Photo by Yu Yang.

We all know that plastic degrades super slowly, which is why it’s such a big problem that we’re dumping millions of tons of it into landfills every year—not to mention all the stuff that just ends up as litter or floating in the ocean.

But researchers at Stanford found a way to speed up the process of breaking down Styrofoam and other types of polystyrene, with help from mealworms. It turns out, these worms can not only digest polystyrene, but can actually subsist on a diet exclusively made up of it.

Wei-Min Wu, a senior research engineer at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering found that mealworms, which are the larvae of the darkling beetle, have microorganisms in their digestive tracts that allow them to break down the plastic.

I know you’re probably thinking: but how toxic is the resulting worm waste? Well, according to Wu, the waste is safe to use as soil on crops. The other by-product of the process is carbon dioxide, which is the case for anything the meal worms eat. And the plastic-eating worms didn’t appear to be less healthy than worms eating a more natural diet.

The process is fairly slow. The lab found that 100 mealworms eat 34 to 39 milligrams of polystyrene per day, which is equivalent to the weight of a small pill. The findings have been published in the scientific journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The researchers hope that further study of the worms’ gut bacteria will lead to the real breakthrough for managing this type of plastic waste, which can in theory be recycled but facilities that have the capacity to do so are quite scarce.

The researchers also intend to follow the plastic-eating worms up the food chain, and study the health of animals that prey on Styrofoam-munching mealworms.

While this finding definitely falls into the nature-blow-my-mind category, I do worry about how this information will be used in the hands of the plastics industry. Of course, we should be looking for better ways of cleaning up the environmental problems that we have, but I don’t think mealworm lunch is a good justification for single-use foam cups and takeout containers.

sumber : http://www.treehugger.com/animals/mealworms-can-eat-all-plastic-diet-and-not-die.html

Symbol of Change: A Look at the How2Recycle Labeling System

Symbol of Change: A Look at the How2Recycle Labeling System

Among the foremost challenges faced by waste and recycling services providers is educating the public about exactly what is and is not suitable for the recycling bin. Beyond that, many items that can be recycled don’t necessarily belong in a curbside bin. And if a package contains multiple components made of different materials, a single, nondescript recycling symbol does not make it clear which parts are recyclable or how to handle them.

Conundrums like these led the sustainability-focused nonprofitGreenBlue to develop the How2Recyclelabeling system as part of its Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC). The SPC boasts a range of manufacturers and retailers, including Yoplait, Esteé Lauder Companies, Sealed Air, BJ’s Wholesale Club, ConAgra Foods, Costco Wholesale, Microsoft, REI, Seventh Generation and manufacturer Ampac. The new labeling system is far more precise, detailing the material(s) in the packaging, its ability to be recycled and details on how to do so.

“Our goal is to make sure the recycling stream is clean and that the right things are getting to the right people,” says GreenBlue project associate Danielle Peacock. “One of the great benefits of the How2Recycle label is it crosses all material types. So there’s going to be uniform iconography across all materials.”

GreenBlue began developing How2Recycle in 2007. “What we found was this model from the United Kingdom that’s now called OPRL – On Pack Recycling Label,” says GreenBlue senior manager Anne Bedarf. “That’s ultimately what we ended up adapting.”

The labels include a series of bars identifying the component parts of a package and what to do with them. Recyclability is broken down into four categories: “Not Yet Recycled,” meaning that less than 20 percent of the U.S. population is able to recycle the material; “Check Locally,” which corresponds to a 20-68 percent recycling availability; “Widely Recycled,” at over 60 percent; and “Store Drop-Off,” which largely pertains to plastic bags and films.

Peacock says the system takes the guesswork out of recycling. “A lot of people may know a plastic bottle is recyclable, but do they know that they should empty and replace the cap? Do they know they can recycle the film wrap on their toilet paper with their plastic bags? So it gives actionable items.”

While recyclers should embrace the system given its potential to boost participation while reducing contamination, some manufacturers may be a harder sell. Many may see it as a means of shaming them for using non-recyclable materials. And some items are too complex or too small to label effectively. “The more components it has the more difficult it gets,” says Bedarf. “We tried a packaged dish that had like six components and ultimately the brand owner didn’t want to go with it because it just became too complicated.”

But for consumers, says Bedarf, who hopes for significant adoption of How2Recycle within three years, it will ultimately come down to transparency. “I think eventually it’s going to get to the point where people ask, ‘There’s no label on here. What am I supposed to do with it?’ So the pitch is that you’re giving them an instruction instead of leaving them wondering.”

sumber : http://waste360.com/single-family/symbol-change-look-how2recycle-labeling-system

Recycling Progress in the U.S

Recycling Progress in the U.S.

90133254.jpg - Radius Images, Getty

 Radius Images, Getty

Recycling in the United States has made considerable progress. In 2012, the U.S. generated approximately 251 million tons of waste while 87 million tons (34.5 percent) of that was recycled. Back in 1980, Americans recycled only 15 million tons of waste. The amount of waste recycled in 2012 prevented the release of about 168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent to taking some 33 million cars of the road for a year.

In 2012, an average American produced 4.38 pounds of waste and recycled 1.51 pounds. So, it can be said that the U.S. recycling industry has seen a considerable growth over the last few decades, however, there is still a lot of opportunity for improvement. It should be noted there is no national law making recycling of any kind of material mandatory, leaving states and local governments to enact an array of different recycling requirements and laws.

Major Recycling Laws in the U.S.

Over the years, the U.S. government has relied on local and state governments to oversee recycling and waste management laws. State and local government regulations fall into two major categories: recycling goals and landfill bans. Landfill bans make disposing enumerated materials such as oil, yard waste and other easily collectable materials illegal. Currently, North Carolina, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin have landfill bans.

Other states such as California and Illinois focus on recycling goals. Some states simply encourage recycling of certain materials such as plastic bottles by passing a bill.

To date, 25 states have passed laws making state-wide electronic waste recycling mandatory. These 25 states cover 65 percent of the population of the USA. Back in 2003, California was the first to enact the first e-waste recycling law and in 2011, Utah was last in this list.

Although there are no specific national recycling laws in the USA. the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates waste management and recycling under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The key goals of RCRA are: protect Americans from toxic and hazardous waste disposal, preserve natural resources and energy by recovering, reusing and recycling,

Early History of Recycling in the U.S.

In terms of the historical timeline for recycling in the U.S.,1972 marked the first recycling mill in the country, built in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. In the early 1970s, the first city to mandate recycling was Woodbury, New Jersey. Curbside recycling first began in 1973, and by 2006 there were more than 8,000 curbside recycling programs throughout the country, a number which continues to expand.

America Recycles Day

Every year, America Recycles Day (ARD) is celebrated on November 15, an event which started in 1997 to encourage Americans to recycle more and use recycled products. On that day, across the country, events on recycling education such as the environmental, social and economic benefits of recycling are arranged.

Recycling Businesses and Industry Associations 

USA has a number of recycling national and local recycling industry associations. The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) is the national recycling association which consists of over 6000 recycling businesses from all across the U.S. Here is a list of local industry associations.

Major recycling businesses are also members of international recycling industry associations such as Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI).

Material-Wise Recycling Rates 

In 2012, total yearly waste recovery in the U.S. was 87 million tons. Of that amount, 51 percent consisted paper and paperboard, 22 percent yard trimmings, 9 percent metal, 4 percent food waste, 4 percent glass, 3 percent plastic and wood and 6 percent other materials. EPA data shows that 70 percent of paper and paperboard and 58 percent of yard trimmings was recovered for recycling in 2012.

Outlook

One of the major challenges for recycling gains by tonnage is that packaging is becoming increasingly lightweight, so improved recycling habits do not readily appear obvious in terms of additional weight of material recycled. One of the most promising areas for improved recycling is in the area of organic waste recovery, as more communities are moving to divert it from landfills.

References

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/

http://business-ethics.com/2010/11/21/why-no-national-recycling-law-in-the-u-s/

http://www.electronicstakeback.com/promote-good-laws/state-legislation/

http://www.electronicsrecycling.org/public/contentpage.aspx?pageid=14

http://keepincalendar.com/November-15/America-Recycles-Day/319

http://www.epa.gov/students/amrecycles.html

http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-resource-conservation-and-recovery-act

http://www.nrdc.org/cities/recycling/fover.asp

sumber : http://recycling.about.com/od/Resources/fl/Recycling-Progress-in-the-US.htm