Recycling Research

28 نوفمبر
2010

Recycling facts in the nation:

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) – used when calculating national recycling figures

–        includes common household throw-away items such as food scraps, package wrapping, grass clippings, and even bigger items like an old microwave, sofa, or refrigerator

–        not taken into account = items such as hazardous, industrial, and construction waste

–        U.S. waste reduction improving, but overall MSW continues to rise

–        1980 – 2005 — U.S. MSW generation increased 60 percent = 246 million tons of trash created in 2005; 2 million less than 2004

–         Organic materials make up the bulk of wastes that go into landfills. Around 35% are paper and cardboard, while yard trimmings and food scraps total about 24%

EPA plans to calculate Recycling Statistics every 2 years – last time in 2008

–        Facts & Figures: http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw2008rpt.pdf

–        Data Tables: http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw2008data.pdf

–        2007 general data:

  • Recycling, including composting, diverted 85 million tons of material away from disposal in 2007, up from 15 million tons in 1980.
  • Recycling and composting rates recovered 33.4% of MSW.
  • There were approximately 8550 curbside recycling programs active in the U.S. in 2007, compared with 8875 programs that existed in 2005.
  • Container and packaging recycling increased to 40%.
  • 42 million tons of paper products were recycled, approximately 55% of what could be.
  • 64% of common yard waste was composted (leaves, grass clippings, etc)
  • Batteries are recycled at a rate of 99%

–        2005 general data:

  • recycling trends positively increased from 2003
  • Recycling and composting rates recovered 32.1% of MSW (79 million tons). 32.1% is higher than before but still way too low
  • ~8,550 curbside recycling programs existed throughout the United States; lower figure than the 8,875 programs in 2003
  • Composting programs (recycling of leaves, grass, and other organic items such as food) jumped from 3,227 in 2003 up to 3,470
  • Container and packaging recycling increased to 40%
  • 62% of yard waste was composted
  • 50% of all paper products were recycled = 42 million tons
  • 1990 to 2005 – the amount of MSW going to U.S. landfills has decreased by 9 million tons and continues to decrease each year

Competition between states can encourage recycling

–        Electronic recycling programs

  • Oregon has a bottle deposit where you receive five cents back for each bottle you take to a deposit facility. The recycling areas for Oregon are everywhere and are easily accessible in places such as grocery stores.
  • Gallup, New Mexico has a recycling program for plastic bottles where you’re paid one cent for each pound of plastic bottles you recycle

Keep America Beautiful Inc.

–        http://www.kab.org/site/PageServer?pagename=index

–        National volunteer-based community action & education organization dedicated to helping people improve their community’s environment

–        Network of over 1000 organizations

–        Addresses challenges with 3 focus areas:  litter preventionrecycling and waste reduction, and beautification and community greening

Other helpful things:

–        http://earth911.com/ – local recycling finder; specific to type also

–        http://www.epa.gov/epahome/whereyoulive.htm – regional as decided by EPA

Recycling across campuses nation-wide:

One of the main organizations that is currently pushing for on campus recycling is called the College and University Recycling Council (CURC) and it began in 1992.  It is a sub-section of the National Recycling Coalition.  The main purpose of the CURC is to help educate campuses about how to recycle and the importance of recycling.  The CURC has provided many initiatives for colleges to initiate recycling programs such as national awards and grants.  The CURC is also a helpful resource for colleges because it provides information about ways to recycle, such as a program where colleges can get contracts with soft drink companies so the company helps pay for can recycling programs.

Other programs have been enacted to encourage colleges to promote recycling on campus; in 2001 a competition was created called RecycleMania.  The challenge was to see which campus recycled the most and had the least trash, proportionally over a 10-week span.  The competition has grown rapidly since 2001, beginning with 2 schools and now up to 510 in the 2009 competition.  Programs like these are helping to get college campuses interested in recycling.

Waste reduction programs on campus are not just limited to recycling aluminum cans and plastic bottles, however, many campuses are coming up with innovative ideas to cut down on food waste, paper waste, and other on-campus items that could be reused instead of thrown away.  Campuses have made simple changes, like offering documents and news bulletins online rather than printing handouts and flyers.  Many schools, including Georgia Tech have made two-sided printing the default setting on printers to cut down on paper waste.  Other ideas for conservation include a program enacted at the University of Wisconsin known as the Solid Waste Alter-natives Project Shop (SWAP); unwanted furniture and office supplies are collected on campus then swapped with other universities.  This innovative idea follows the thought that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and takes this idea to the university level.

One of the main ways campus recycling is being promoted is through online resources and grassroots campaigns where environmentally-conscious students can go to get information about how to enact recycling programs at their own schools.  Programs like the Grassroots Recycling Network or Zero Waste aim to provide resources to help students encourage recycling on their campus.

Student Interview: Caroline Swartz

>What university or college do you attend?

> University of Miami

> Do you recycle on a normal basis?
> Yes
> If not, what holds you back?
> n/a
> Are you familiar with the recycling options your school has to offer?
> Yes, we have recycling bins around campus.
> Does your school keep you informed on how and where to recycle?
> For the most part, I feel informed. I have seen the bins at various locations around campus and flyers and posters promote students to participate.
> Do you feel like there is incentive for you to recycle at your school?
> Apart from helping the environment, nothing else is offered. It just makes you feel good and like you helped.

Georgia Tech Recycling Information and Statistics

http://www.recycle.gatech.edu/programs/

Georgia Tech offers four special recycling programs which take place throughout the year: Student Move-In, Game Day Recycling, Earth Day Celebration and Think Green Week, and Student Move-Out. Each program is strategically planned to maximize recycling opportunities and spur interest within the student population for recycling.

http://www.recycle.gatech.edu/statistics/2009_waste_diversion_summary.pdf

Georgia Tech recycled a total of 902 tons of waste in 2009. The majority of the recycled waste was mixed office paper, cardboard, composting, and mixed metal.

http://www.recycle.gatech.edu/statistics/spring_2010_move_out_report.pdf

Over the week that students move out, Georgia Tech collects five categories of recycled materials: mixed office paper, electronics, non perishable foods, clothing and household goods, and glass. During Move-Out 2010, they collected 10,912 lbs (5.46 tons) of recycled waste.

Student Interview: Clay Cross

> What university or college do you attend?
> Georgia Tech
> Do you recycle on a normal basis?
> Not normally, only at the occasional time.
> If not, what holds you back?
> Sometimes, recycling is inconvenient compared to simply throwing the bottle away. Other times it is laziness.
> Are you familiar with the recycling options your school has to offer?
> I think so. We have recycling bins in our dorms and also around campus.
> Does your school keep you informed on how and where to recycle?
> Georgia Tech is a big advocate of recycling. They just seem to have trouble convincing kids to actually follow through.
> Do you feel like there is incentive for you to recycle at your school?
> Not really. If I can’t find a recycling bin, I don’t think twice about tossing the object in the trash.
> Would you be more interested if the act or recycling was turned into a game?
>Perhaps. It seems like a start in the right direction, at least.

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