The environmental impacts of waste management are more far-reaching than you may think. In addition to affecting soil, water, and air quality, waste management practices have impacts on energy consumption.
In 2003, the United States generated just over 236 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW). If this waste was managed with energy implications in mind, significant energy savings could be achieved. Products that enter the waste stream have energy impacts (and associated GHG emissions) at each stage of their life cycle. These stages include: the acquisition of raw materials, the manufacture of raw materials into products, product use by consumers, and product disposal.
Waste reduction practices, such as recycling and reuse, reduce the demand for raw material and energy inputs to the manufacturing stage of the life cycle, thereby conserving energy and reducing GHG emissions. Energy savings can also result from waste disposal practices, such as waste combustors and landfill gas to energy systems.
Since the energy implications of waste management practices for specific products accrue throughout the life cycle, product-specific energy factors typically require a life-cycle analysis to quantify. During the 1990’s EPA began an ongoing analysis of the life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of waste management activities. This GHG research was initially presented in a 1999 EPA report and was subsequently updated in a 2002 report entitled “Solid Waste Management and Greenhouse Gases: A Life-Cycle Assessment of Emissions and Sinks”.
These reports used detailed life-cycle information on specific products and material types to generate GHG emission factors for five waste management practices—source reduction, recycling, composting, combustion, and landfilling. The purpose of this research was to aid waste planners in assessing the benefits of waste reduction activities (e.g., recycling, source reduction) as compared to traditional waste disposal practices (e.g., combustion, landfilling) from a GHG perspective.
The research underpinning the report continues today; since the completion of the 2002 report, EPA has developed GHG factors for nine additional materials: copper wire, grass, leaves, branches, carpet, personal computers, clay bricks, aggregate, and fly ash.
The quantification of energy related emissions are an important element of the streamlined life-cycle analysis conducted in the GHG report, thus EPA already had available the necessary life-cycle data to develop energy factors for improved waste management at the commodity level. The remainder of this paper presents the results of EPA’s efforts to extract the life-cycle energy implications of waste management practices from the overall GHG research mentioned above; puts the energy impacts in perspective with respect to overall GHG impacts; and applies these energy emission factors to estimate the energy savings that could be achievable at a national scale through improved waste management practices.
TelekomXChange has launched a program to help its Commercial Customers to stop losing money on their Waste Removal and Recycling bills. Businesses and Organizations alike have no idea whether or not their Waste Removal and Recycling bills are correct. They are incomprehensible. And, if their Accounts Payable Department doesn’t pay the bills, the Waste Hauler will not pick up their garbage.
Through a strategic partnership with a Waste Removal and Recycling firm that can service both the U.S. and Canada, we are encouraging those Companies and Organizations who are spending over $20,000 per month at all their facilities for their Waste Removal and Recycling bills to sign up without any cost for a program that does not require them to change their Waste Hauler.
The service provider will guarantee them a savings, and split out the cost savings with them on a performance based shared benefit basis. Over the past 20 years, they have saved their Clients in the U.S. and Canada an average 36% on their Waste Removal and Recycling Costs. The vendor incurs significant time and expense to perform their services which requires them to make a Site Visit to the Client’s premises. And, the Client is in total control. They have the right to approve every recommendation provided them by the Waste Removal and Recycling Consulting Company.
To see if there is an opportunity, Clients can sign up for the program by simply providing the last month of their Waste Removal and Recycling bills. And, if they are on an existing Contract with their Waste Hauler, they need to provide a copy of their Contract. Signing up for the program is risk-free, as if there is no recovery, there is no fee.
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"We have been pleased with both the savings results and management aspect of their program. We have reduced our waste budget by 30% and has saved our organization thousands of dollars since partnering with us in 2009. They have exceeded our expectations and continues to be valuable partner in our organization". - Jim Moore - Maintenance Director