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Sustainability and Waste Management


Municipal waste sources and sustainable management (data specific to United States), appropriate for

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Updated 5 months ago

1. Poll
60 seconds
What is the definition of sustainability?
  • Using resources in a way that meets the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
  • The use of resources to meet the needs of the current society or group
  • The protection and preservation of the environment for future generations
  • The use of resources in a way that does not damage the environment.
2. Slide
60 seconds
Sustainability in environmental science refers to the responsible use and management of natural resources in a way that ensures their availability for future generations. In other words, it is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To achieve sustainability, we need to consider the long-term impact of our actions on the environment and on the social and economic systems that rely on natural resources. This involves taking into account factors such as resource availability, energy efficiency, waste reduction, and pollution control. In order to achieve sustainability, individuals, businesses, and governments must work together to adopt sustainable practices and policies that reduce our impact on the environment while also promoting social and economic well-being. This may involve initiatives such as conservation and preservation of natural resources, use of renewable energy sources, recycling and waste reduction, and promotion of sustainable agriculture and forestry practices.
3. Open question
240 seconds
What are some individual or collective actions we can take to make our society more sustainable ?
4. Slide
60 seconds
Day 1: Sustainability, Waste Production, and Methods of Waste Management
Solid Waste
5. Slide
60 seconds
Explore common sources of municipal solid waste Learn about methods for disposing of or recycling solid waste Discuss sustainability initiatives to reduce solid waste production
Learning objectives:
6. Slide
60 seconds
The Law of Conservation of Matter states that matter cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed In natural systems, all matter cycles back into the ecosystem Advancing technologies have allowed us to begin accumulating forms of waste that take longer to cycle
Conservation of Matter
7. Slide
60 seconds
Municipal Solid Waste Industrial Solid Waste Hazardous Waste Wastewater
Types of Waste
8. Slide
60 seconds
Biodegradable Waste: Can be broken down by decomposers Persistant waste: Non-degradable
Municipal Solid Waste
9. Open question
180 seconds
This graph shows waste data for the US from 1960 to 2018. What trends do you notice?
10. Slide
60 seconds
Open dumps are exposed to the elements and carry the greatest risk of contamination of air, water, and soil Runoff - the draining of water over land towards a body of water Leaching - water dissolving contaminants, then entering the soil Gas - methane can build up and release due to natural decomposition by bacteria
Where does waste go? Where should it go?
11. Slide
60 seconds
Sanitary Landfills are a safer option; waste is buried in pits that are lined with plastic and compacted clay to reduce groundwater infiltration soil and waste are layered to encourage decomposition once full, a clay cap and topsoil cover can be added to allow the land used to be reclaimed
Where does waste go? Where should it go?
12. Slide
60 seconds
Incineration of MSW involves burning waste in large furnaces Can reduce waste volume by ~ 70% 30% solid matter remains as "bottom ash"
Where does waste go? Where should it go?
13. Open question
240 seconds
Some waste incinerators are able to generate electricity from the heat produced. Do you think this is more or less sustainable than other traditional forms of waste management, and why?
14. Slide
60 seconds
Day 2: Recycling, Composting, Waste Reduction, and Extended Producer Responsibility
Municipal Waste Management
15. Word cloud
120 seconds
Word Cloud: Identify some strategies that companies and/or consumers can use to reduce the amount of solid waste being produced or sent to landfill
16. Slide
60 seconds
Explore common sources of municipal solid waste Learn about methods for disposing of or recycling solid waste Discuss sustainability initiatives to reduce solid waste production
Learning objectives:
17. Slide
60 seconds
Theoretically, 75% all solid waste is recyclable, but Americans recycled or composted only 32% in 2018 Depending on the type, plastics can taken between 20 and 500 years to break down in landfills through a process of Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.
Fast Facts:
18. Slide
60 seconds
Recycling reprocesses discarded materials into new products
Recycling: Benefits
19. Slide
60 seconds
Limited materials: Cost: Labor intensive:
Recycling: Drawbacks and Limitations
20. Poll
60 seconds
Test Yourself: which of the following is NOT recyclable?
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic bags
  • Egg cartons
  • Books
  • Plastic straws
21. Slide
60 seconds
Aluminum foil: 👍Just make sure you wash off food debris first. Plastic Bags: 🙃In your home recycling container - definitely not. Thin, stretchy plastics like this can wreck recycling machinery. However, many grocery stores have special collection areas for plastic bags - keep an eye out and collect any you bring home. Egg cartons: 👍As long as it's the cardboard kind, rather than styrofoam, egg cartons can be both recycled AND composted! In fact, they're great for starting garden seedlings. Books: 👍Certainly! If it's a paperback, it should be able to go straight in your recycling bin. If it's a hardcover, you'll need to remove the cover - just recycle the pages. Plastic straws: 👎Definitely not. Plastic straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter, so they drop through the sorting screens and end up contaminating recycling loads and then being sent to landfill (along with the load they contaminated).
Check Your Thinking
22. Slide
60 seconds
A Victim of its own Successful Marketing - Aspirational Recycling
23. Slide
60 seconds
The biological degradation of organic materials Expensive due to the costs of collection and processing
24. Slide
60 seconds
Re-use materials repeatedly before recycling or sending to landfill Repair broken items, rather than replacing Eliminate use of unecessary packaging Choose locally-sourced materials when possible
Waste Reduction
25. Slide
60 seconds
A policy approach that holds manufacturers responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products, including disposal. Concept first introduced in 1990 by Thomas Lindquist, in Sweden
Extended Producer Responsibility
26. Slide
60 seconds
27. Open question
180 seconds
What are some ways that you can (or already do) contribute to sustainable waste management efforts in your daily life?
28. Slide
60 seconds
Waste Management Day 3
Hazardous Waste
29. Slide
60 seconds
Discuss sources and management of industrial and municipal hazardous waste
Learning objectives:
30. Poll
60 seconds
Which of the following is true about the environmental disaster in Love Canal, NY?
  • Heavy rainfall following an earthquake caused oil from an underground well to contaminate soil and water in a nearby town
  • Hazardous waste was dumped by a chemical company in an open canal and contaminated land, water, homes, and schools in a nearby town
  • The Love Canal disaster led to the creation of the EPA
  • Hazardous waste was dumped by government agencies near a town and then covered up when health effects were reported
31. Slide
60 seconds
Dangerous materials that cannot be landfilled or incinerated Has one or more of the following properties:
Hazardous Waste
32. Slide
60 seconds
Two hazardous waste laws weree passed following the Love Canal disaster Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
Hazardous Waste Laws
33. Open question
270 seconds
Open Question: What do you think would be the most sustainable way to manage hazardous waste?
34. Slide
60 seconds
The use of organisms to break down contaminants Typically relies on decomposer microorganisms
35. Word cloud
60 seconds
Word Cloud: Certain household items are classified as hazardous waste and should not be placed in the trash. What are some items from your home that you think require special disposal?
36. Slide
60 seconds
37. Slide
60 seconds
Recycling and treating hazardous waste is expensive, so many companies try to export it overseas. This was banned by the 1994 Basel Convention treaty. In spite of the Basel Convention, electronic hazardous waste is still often transported overseas.
Environmental Justice Connection
38. Open question
240 seconds
Open Question: Would you support a law prohibiting US export of e-waste to other countries? What do you think the effects, positive or negative, would be of such a law?

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