Recycling line

Keeping recyclables three steps away from landfills

Written by: Jessica Wright

Approximately 4.5 trillion pounds of trash is generated annually, and it’s getting worse. Annual trash accumulation is expected to reach 7.5 trillion pounds by mid-century. Landfill trash pollutes water supplies and the atmosphere. Methane emissions from landfills are often overlooked yet they emit more Greenhouse Gas than 21.6 million passenger cars.

To achieve the nation’s goal of Net Neutrality by 2050, more waste must be diverted from landfills. Solid waste is a problem that can be reduced many ways. Better recycling is one of them.

Dry recyclables (plastic, paper, cardboard, metal, and glass) comprise 38% of municipal waste yet only 13.5% is recycled. Among the many ways to keep more materials from landfills are better mixed recycling, reduced reliance on single-use plastics, and technology investments at Materials Recycling Facilities (MRF).

Footprints

Promote best practices in mixed recycling

Curbside recycling bin

With knowledge and more attention to what goes into blue carts at home and blue bins at work, every citizen can help limit the loads of contaminated recycling that MRF must relegate to a landfill.

Audit and education programs in communities nationwide are resulting in the rinsing away of more contaminants. Now, more often, trash and recyclables are being tossed into the correct cart or bin.

Footprints

Reduce reliance on single-use plastics

This spork – made from bamboo, corn, and sugarcane – is one of many weapons needed to keep 40 million pieces of plastic from landfills every year.

Sporks were made of metal when invented in 1874. The millions distributed at 21st-century drive-thrus are made of plastic. It seems that from there, many make their way to a landfill or shoreline where they accumulate for 200 years.

Single-use cutlery, straws, and packaging should be made of less durable materials. Recycled cardboard boxes, wood fibers, and agricultural waste can all be remanufactured as compostable utensils and packaging.

Footprints

Innovate with autonomous sorting

Optical sorting machine

With automated sorting, robotic arms, many equipped with cameras, pick over sorting lines. Their application is enhanced with artificial intelligence the continually improves their choices. The sifting they do may also be supported by magnets, flotation, and wind sifter that separate light and heavy materials.

There are many ways that smart Solid Waste Management can reduce landfill accumulation and methane emissions! To explore three of them further:

SOURCES:

EPA.gov – Basic information about landfill gas
WorldBank.org
CNBC.com

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AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

Tools tailored to location and need

Disaster resilience requires a select toolset, identified, adapted, or created as needed based on planning calls and inclusive workshop participation.

Business and government organizations today are confronted by threat categories that range from drought to flood, from fire to hurricane, and extend globally to pandemics and sea level rise. Threat categories are broad and diverse, but ecoPreserve and collaborating organizations design resiliency tools for specific local context.

Local needs are identified and verified. Building from that essential understanding, tools are designed, tested in pilot programs, refined, then implemented through action plans.

Today's challenges/
tomorrow's potential

ecoPreserve collaborates with major community and private organizations in optimizing the resiliency and resource efficiency of their workplaces, venues, and public spaces.

In response to ever-increasing environmental, sociopolitical, and public health challenges, we advocate for and participate in assessment and planning actions that directly address disaster preparations, recovery activities, infrastructure improvements, and smart building/city design.

Online and in-person workshops

ecoPreserve designs and leads workshops in varied formats, to achieve varied goals.

Often an event is held for skill and knowledge development, but some needs of an organization or community are better resolved through collaboration to identify requirements and to design solutions. A range of Disaster Resilience workshops are available for solutions planning and development, as well as for training and communication.

Disaster Planning and Recovery Workshops

  • Identify technical and business process gaps
  • Define stakeholders, recovery teams, and processes/functionalities necessary for operation
  • Highlight missed expectations from a data loss and recovery time perspective
  • Address compliance with regulatory agencies and industry standards
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

  • PHYSICAL CONDITION
    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPREAD POTENTIAL
  • OPPORTUNITIES
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
  • ORDER OF MAGNITUDE RENOVATION BUDGET
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC EQUIPMENT
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
  • FLOORPLAN
    • Traffic patterns
  • FURNISHINGS
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.