In November 2007, the EPA prepared a report “METHODOLOGY FOR ESTIMATING MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE RECYCLING BENEFITS” (found at http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/06benefits.pdf). This methodology shows the link between Waste Management, Climate Change and Energy. The report provides details on how waste management through waste prevention and recycling help us to reduce greenhouse gases and save energy by:
• Reduces methane emissions from landfills. Waste prevention and recycling (including composting) divert organic wastes from landfills, thereby reducing the methane released when these materials decompose.
• Reduces emissions from incinerators. Recycling and waste prevention allow some materials to be diverted from incinerators and thus reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of waste.
• Reduces emissions from energy consumption. Recycling saves energy – because manufacturing goods from recycled materials typically requires less energy than producing goods from virgin materials. Waste prevention is even more effective at saving energy – because when people reuse things or when products are made with less material and/or greater durability, less energy is usually needed to extract, transport, and process raw materials and to manufacture replacement products. What’s more, when energy demand decreases, fewer fossil fuels are burned and less carbon dioxide is emitted to the atmosphere.
• Increases storage of carbon in trees. Trees help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in wood, in a process called carbon sequestration. Waste prevention and recycling of paper products allow more trees to remain unharvested, where they can continue to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
With this methodology in place, we can’t help but save energy, resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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Need more information? Envision Plastics Vice President, Tamsin Ettefagh will be happy to discuss your comments or concerns in greater depth. Contact her at 336/342-4749 Ext 225.