Tag Archives: landfills

Recycling – Cardboard Balers Help You Get Money from Trash the Easy Way

Why recycle?

Why do we need to recycle cardboards? Why not just dump them at the landfills and let them rot back to their organic origins? Well, there are a number of reasons why we need and indeed should recycle cardboard boxes and pieces; but probably the easiest answer to that question is simply because we can. However, conserving the environment while preserving our natural resources, cutting down on carbon emissions, saving money through reuse of resources and so on also form good arguments as to why we should recycle.  (more…)

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Measuring the “Other” Greenhouse Gases: Higher Than Expected Levels of Methane in California

Berkeley Lab scientists develop new method for evaluating short-lived pollutants.

New research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that levels of methane—a potent greenhouse gas emitted from many man-made sources, such as coal mines, landfills and livestock ranches—are at least one-and-a-half times higher in California than previously estimated.

Working with scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Berkeley Lab scientists Marc L. Fischer and Seongeun Jeong combined highly accurate methane measurements from a tower with model predictions of expected methane signals to revise estimated methane emissions from central California. They found that annually averaged methane emissions in California were 1.5 to 1.8 times greater than previous estimates, depending on the spatial distribution of the methane emissions. (more…)

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Novel Device Removes Heavy Metals From Water

*Engineers at Brown University have developed a system that cleanly and efficiently removes trace heavy metals from water. In experiments, the researchers showed the system reduced cadmium, copper, and nickel concentrations, returning contaminated water to near or below federally acceptable standards. The technique is scalable and has viable commercial applications, especially in the environmental remediation and metal recovery fields. Results appear in the Chemical Engineering Journal.*

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — An unfortunate consequence of many industrial and manufacturing practices, from textile factories to metalworking operations, is the release of heavy metals in waterways. Those metals can remain for decades, even centuries, in low but still dangerous concentrations.

Ridding water of trace metals “is really hard to do,” said Joseph Calo, professor emeritus of engineering who maintains an active laboratory at Brown. He noted the cost, inefficiency, and time needed for such efforts. “It’s like trying to put the genie back in the bottle.” (more…)

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Breaking Down Plastics: New Standard Specification May Facilitate Use of Additives that Trigger Biodegradation of Oil-Based Plastics in Landfills

Despite efforts to encourage the recycling of plastic water bottles, milk jugs and similar containers, a majority of the plastic packaging produced each year in the United States ends up in landfills, where it can take thousands of years to degrade.  To address that problem with traditional polyethylene, polypropylene, Styrofoam and PET products, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working with the Plastics Environmental Council (PEC) to expand the use of chemical additives that cause such items to biodegrade in landfills.

Added during production of the plastic packaging, the compounds encourage anaerobic landfill bacteria and fungi to break down the plastic materials and convert them to biogas methane, carbon dioxide and biogenic carbon – also known as humus.  These additives – simple organic substances that build on the known structures of materials that induce polymer biodegradation – don’t affect the performance of the plastics, introduce heavy metals or other toxic chemicals, or prevent the plastics from being recycled in current channels. (more…)

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