Point of View
Theodore Roosevelt set aside 150 million acres of timberland as public domain during his presidency. In the hundred years since then, the American landscape has become a web of paved roads with sprawling urban areas, while untouched land is absent. It is more important than ever to restore native habitat to protect water quality, air quality, and species diversity.
At first glance, a landfill is unsuitable for wildlife habitat. The Audubon Society doesn’t agree. In fact they recently announced a partnership with Waste Management to restore wildlife habitat at Two Pine Landfill in North Little Rock, AR.
“The Audubon Society realized that we can’t take for granted one acre of land or water anymore,” said Ken Smith, Executive Director of Audubon Arkansas. “We really have to look at conservation within our communities. The idea of restoring habitats and working with companies like Waste Management on a landfill is not that far fetched, particularly when you look at the opportunities at Two Pine Landfill.”
CFL Recycling in Perspective: Managing Mercury Exposure from Product Use Through Reclamation and Recycling
“Recycling” is a centuries-old activity common to all cultures. Long before recycling was called “recycling” in the USA, Boy Scouts had “newspaper drives,” “rag pickers” collected scraps of fabric and torn clothing for paper making, and the ancients borrowed stone from dilapidated structures. Recycling of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) is different how? Let’s explore.
We’ve established that modern-day environmentalists did not invent recycling. The role of the modern environmental movement, circa 1985, was in lobbying government and urging industry to create organized, efficient, safe recycling programs. The need for regulation came when waste-generation rates either produced “reclaimed materials” in volumes that surpassed what the markets demanded, or produced volumes so small that economic uses did not arise.
Example: Some economically useful gold ore has less noble metal than do electronics tossed in the scrapheap of the global economy. Yet mining companies traditionally expressed no interest because the volumes were not big enough and the “ore” too dispersed.
If you are like most people, you have an old computer stuffed away in the back of your closet or an obsolete TV gathering dust in the corner of your garage. In many parts of the country, electronics recycling centers are few and far between and community-recycling drives are only offered once in a blue moon, if at all.
A staggering 400 million units of electronic waste are scrapped in the United States each year (International Association of Electronics Recyclers), and this trend is likely to continue, as there are always more gadgets to be had. Add to this the fact that electronics tend to become obsolete rather quickly, and you can see we have a growing e-waste problem.
“The electronics waste stream is growing at five times the rate of any other waste stream,” said Matthew Coz, VP of Growth and Commodity Sales for Waste Management Recycle America. “The product life cycles are shrinking. We are constantly creating more of that waste.”
Our relationship to energy is rapidly changing. What had once seemed like endless supplies of fossil fuels are now obviously finite and with an ever-increasing cost. The most innovative approaches to solving environmental or economic problems involve recognizing potential treasure out of what would otherwise be waste. The University of New Hampshire (UNH) is taking control of their energy future by utilizing both alternative energy and energy efficiency.
UNH will soon be the first university to tap landfill gas, generating both electricity and heat for their 5 million square foot campus. Landfill gas will be piped 12.7 miles from Waste Management’s Turnkey Recycling and Environmental Enterprise facility in Rochester, New Hampshire for this project named EcoLine. This project was made possible by the unlikely partnership between the university and the local landfill.