Matching Items (4)

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Construction and Demolition Waste Impact, Policy and Diversion

Description

Humans, throughout the world, build houses to live in and raise their families. The construction of houses and other buildings produces a large quantity of waste during this process. This waste is not necessarily biodegradable or derived from environmentally friendly

Humans, throughout the world, build houses to live in and raise their families. The construction of houses and other buildings produces a large quantity of waste during this process. This waste is not necessarily biodegradable or derived from environmentally friendly materials. They often damage the environment causing pollution and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions (Tam, V. W., & Tam, C. M, 2012). This type of waste is categorized as Construction and Demolition(C&D) waste. My culminating experience focuses on C&D waste and this summary is divided into three parts. In the first part, the report covers the impact of the C&D waste in sustainability. Considering the three pillars of sustainability the effect of C&D waste on these three pillars are analyzed. The second part is the policy analysis surrounding current C&D waste in cities within the states of Arizona, Oregon and California. This section also covers the current practices and impact that the policies have had in diverting C&D waste from landfill. The report features application of conceptual mapping to explore the issues surrounding C&D waste in the circular economy, and intervention points for waste diversion. The third part of this project focuses on a selected intervention point: Community engagement, and education. The report also discusses the processes and strategies applied to organize an event to create art from salvaged building supplies. Stardust celebrated their 20th year anniversary in April 2017. In collaboration with them, the “Salvage This” event was organized to engage with artists, to exhibit arts created from salvaged building supplies, and promote reuse concept in the community.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2017-04-28

Facilitating phosphorus recovery through improved waste management

Description

Phosphorus (P) is an essential resource for global food security, but global supplies are limited and demand is growing. Demand reductions are critical for achieving P sustainability, but recovery and re-use is also required. Wastewater treatment plants and

Phosphorus (P) is an essential resource for global food security, but global supplies are limited and demand is growing. Demand reductions are critical for achieving P sustainability, but recovery and re-use is also required. Wastewater treatment plants and livestock manures receive considerable attention for their P content, but municipal organic waste is another important source of P to address. Previous research identified the importance of diverting this waste stream from landfills for recovering P, but little has been done to identify the collection and processing mechanisms required, or address the existing economic barriers. In my research, I conducted a current state assessment of organic waste management by creating case studies in Phoenix, Arizona and New Delhi, India, and surveyed biomass energy facilities throughout the United States. With participation from waste management professionals I also envisioned an organic waste management system that contributes to sustainable P while improving environmental, social, and economic outcomes.

The results of my research indicated a number of important leverage points, including landfill fees, diversion mandates for organic waste, and renewable energy credits. Source separation of organic waste improves the range of uses, decreases processing costs, and facilitates P recovery, while creating jobs and contributing to a circular economy. Food is a significant component of the waste stream, and edible food is best diverted to food banks, while scraps are best given to livestock. Biomass energy systems produce multiple revenue streams, have high processing capacities, and concentrate P and other minerals to a greater extent than composting. Using recovered P in urban agriculture and native landscaping results in additional benefits to social-ecological systems by improving food security, reducing the urban heat island effect, sequestering carbon, and enhancing urban ecosystems.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2016

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Assessment and solutions for waste handling of compostable biopolymers

Description

Fossil resources have enabled the development of the plastic industry in the last century. More recently biopolymers have been making gains in the global plastics market. Biopolymers are plastics derived from plants, primarily corn, which can function very similarly to

Fossil resources have enabled the development of the plastic industry in the last century. More recently biopolymers have been making gains in the global plastics market. Biopolymers are plastics derived from plants, primarily corn, which can function very similarly to fossil based plastics. One difference between some of the dominant biopolymers, namely polylactic acid and thermoplastic starch, and the most common fossil-based plastics is the feature of compostability. This means that biopolymers represent not only a shift from petroleum and natural gas to agricultural resources but also that these plastics have potentially different impacts resulting from alternative disposal routes. The current end of life material flows are not well understood since waste streams vary widely based on regional availability of end of life treatments and the role that decision making has on waste identification and disposal.

This dissertation is focused on highlighting the importance of end of life on the life-cycle of biopolymers, identifying how compostable biopolymer products are entering waste streams, improving collection and waste processing, and quantifying the impacts that result from the disposal of biopolymers. Biopolymers, while somewhat available to residential consumers, are primarily being used by various food service organizations trying to achieve a variety of goals such as zero waste, green advertising, and providing more consumer options. While compostable biopolymers may be able to help reduce wastes to landfill they do result in environmental tradeoffs associated with agriculture during the production phase. Biopolymers may improve the management for compostable waste streams by enabling streamlined services and reducing non-compostable fossil-based plastic contamination. The concerns about incomplete degradation of biopolymers in composting facilities may be ameliorated using alkaline amendments sourced from waste streams of other industries. While recycling still yields major benefits for traditional resins, bio-based equivalents may provide addition benefits and compostable biopolymers offer benefits with regards to global warming and fossil fuel depletion. The research presented here represents two published studies, two studies which have been accepted for publication, and a life-cycle assessment that will be submitted for publication.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2015

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Quantifying the Impact of Circular Economy Applied to the Built Environment: A Study of Construction and Demolition Waste to Identify Leverage Points

Description

The built environment is responsible for a significant portion of global waste generation.

Construction and demolition (C&D) waste requires significant landfill areas and costs

billions of dollars. New business models that reduce this waste may prove to be financially

beneficial and generally more

The built environment is responsible for a significant portion of global waste generation.

Construction and demolition (C&D) waste requires significant landfill areas and costs

billions of dollars. New business models that reduce this waste may prove to be financially

beneficial and generally more sustainable. One such model is referred to as the “Circular

Economy” (CE), which promotes the efficient use of materials to minimize waste

generation and raw material consumption. CE is achieved by maximizing the life of

materials and components and by reclaiming the typically wasted value at the end of their

life. This thesis identifies the potential opportunities for using CE in the built environment.

It first calculates the magnitude of C&D waste and its main streams, highlights the top

C&D materials based on weight and value using data from various regions, identifies the

top C&D materials’ current recycling and reuse rates, and finally estimates a potential

financial benefit of $3.7 billion from redirecting C&D waste using the CE concept in the

United States.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2019