Day: January 30, 2018

New Research Unveiled to Improve Accounting for Non-Hazardous Industrial Waste in the U.S.

Read the full story at Waste360.

A lot of what we understand from the ancient world comes from looking at waste—that’s what was left behind, says Jonathan Krones, postdoctoral associate at Yale University. Looking at waste is a fascinating way to understand our society. Everyone produces air and water pollution, but only solid waste is something everyone puts their hands on.

In the U.S., however, waste accounting is widely acknowledged to be incomplete. Non-hazardous industrial waste (NHIW) specifically is underexamined to a particularly egregious extent, according to Krones.

At the upcoming Global Waste Management Symposium (GWMS), which is being held at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Space in Indian Wells, Calif., February 11-14, Krones will debut the final results of his research to improve accounting for NHIW.

See also Krones’ dissertation Accounting for Non-Hazardous Industrial Waste in the United States.

Abstract: This dissertation presents a method for estimating the tonnage and composition of non-hazardous industrial waste (NHIW) flows in the United States. For thirty years, it has been an accepted fact that NHIW is generated at a rate of 6.9 billion Mg per year, making it the largest waste flow in the country by more than an order of magnitude. However, this value was generated in 1985, has not been updated since, and is thought to account largely for the weight of dilute process water disposed in surface impoundments rather than solid waste generated by industry. To address this data gap, and lacking the resources to collect new, national-scale information, I propose an approach by which three independent estimates of NHIW generation based on existing data are used to corroborate each other at the industry sector level. The individual estimates are compared in triangulation so as to control for the errors, uncertainties and other validity concerns unique to each. The methods are: forecasting from historical waste accounts, modeling industrial materials flows to calculate lost mass, and up-scaling state-level data reported to the Pennsylvania Residual Waste Program. I apply the triangulation method to three industrial sectors for the year 2010, yielding estimates of (all in million Mg) 9.7-14.9 from pulp and paper, 21.2-24.7 from iron and steel, and 0.96-1.24 from petroleum refining. These values suggest that the total quantity of NHIW is measured in the hundreds of millions of Mg, not the billions as claimed by the prevailing EPA account. It therefore appears that NHIW generation rates are comparable to those of municipal solid waste. Accurate waste accounting based on reliable, repeatable, and efficient methods is an important tool for characterizing current environmental challenges and understanding trends and the effects of key drivers. Waste accounts are also essential for developing and tracking progress on sustainability strategies like industrial symbiosis, in which wastes like NHIW are used as substitutes for raw materials throughout the economy. The method developed here satisfies these needs and answers what has been an open question for nearly three decades.


A new generation of organic waste systems and products

Read the full story in Crain’s New York.

Nonprofits such as City Harvest and newcomer Rescuing Leftover Cuisine together move millions of pounds of uneaten food from local retailers to soup kitchens and homeless shelters per year. But such efforts barely make a dent in the 40% of United States food production that winds up in dumps, contributing to landfilled food’s dubious distinction as the world’s third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The good news is that a new generation of systems and products is arriving to tackle organic waste on multiple and sometimes unexpected fronts.

Business And Wildlife Groups Skip The Fight, Work Together To Save A Species

Read the full story from NPR.

Georgia businesses are  working with wildlife agencies, private foundations, environmental groups – and even the Department of Defense – on a project to save the gopher tortoise. They hope to protect enough animals that federal regulation won’t be necessary.

Trump infrastructure plan would loosen environmental standards: report

Read the full story in The Hill.

President Trump’s forthcoming infrastructure plan would reduce some of the environmental requirements for projects, the Washington Post reported Friday.

This year’s Super Bowl stadium can withstand snow and save energy

Read the full story from ACEEE.

All those watching the Super Bowl this weekend, take heart: there’s a good chance the Minneapolis stadium roof won’t collapse — as its predecessor the Metrodome’s did in December 2010.

That’s because U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016, features a sleek, practical roof made of a material that lets the snow fall off the roof into a gigantic snow gutter. This transparent material, Ethylene Tetrafluoroethyl (ETFE), also saves energy. It allows natural sunlight into the stadium, giving the venue a natural, outdoorsy feel, while also allowing solar thermal heating that redistributes warm air in the winter and pumps cold air in the summer.

More on solar tariffs

Trump says solar tariff will create ‘a lot of jobs.’ But it could wipe out many more. (WaPo)

Trump says a tariff on solar-energy cells and panels will create jobs and revive a U.S. manufacturing sector that has been decimated by imports.

The tariff sparked controversy in the solar industry after Trump imposed it Jan. 23. A couple of remaining U.S. solar-cell manufacturers say it will help them get back on their feet. But the developers that install solar panels and farms — a much larger segment of the industry — say it will hike their costs, kill projects and make it harder to compete with wind and natural gas.

Fueled by low prices and innovations in imported solar cells, the U.S. solar market began to grow at a breakneck pace starting in 2010.

But the tariff is bound to change the dynamics. Will it add “a lot of jobs,” as Trump says?

Trump Tariff Causes Solar Company to Halt $20 Million Investment (Pacific Standard)

Solar energy company SunPower announced on Thursday that it is halting a $20 million investment in new factories and hundreds of new jobs after the Trump administration imposed federal tariffs this week, Reuters reports.


Science-based targets gain traction

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The bar for setting meaningful greenhouse-gas-reduction targets keeps getting higher. The leaders are turning to science to determine exactly how high.

After Harvey, Houston suburb suffers a persistent problem: waves of foul air

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Air pollution is a perpetual issue for the mostly Latino community in Manchester encircled by industrial facilities.

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