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By Rosa Adimari

October 25,2017
Mrs. Oliveira, Period 4

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STEM 1 /'1
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\\:ste Not. Want Not

Far in the distance enter-qes a volrlg'bor. ss5ping for fresh air amid a cloud of toxins and
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endless mounds of rubbish. Once livel1'citres busthng rvith people,turned to lifeless junkyards.
I
'rl ' 1: '

1Air so hot and heavy all life on Earth is nearl1 unsustainable. Homes buried long agoitulivors

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' withoulpense of belonsins. The future of the environment liesat
'l' { the hands of the people. In {?" ,
,"ld d.\
a world revolving around a never-ending cycle of wants. legitimate environmental concerns are
r,'i#*o'
often pushed to last place on the list of priorities. The United States, for one, fi the epitome of an
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imbalance of priorities. People continue to pile up waste while yeaming for the next popular

must-have. Oftentimes Americans simply toss their waste in the trash and forget about it,
'l
,,/ knowing ffi will magically disappear on trash day. They typically do not consider what

happens next to their trash. On the contrary European countries better manage between

both the needs of the people and regulation of waste production. Approaches of the

typical three R's- reducing, reusing, and recycling exist- and call for wor As
o(n m

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alternatives to wastefulness and prioritize the environment. }r, ,4"" yv,rdtz*, CI{l{'t- X llnq,- ,!
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fnore trash i#;ifggenemfed


In the United S tates,

Waste in America.r&rursified into two categories! hazardous and non-hazardous.

Hazardous waste poses athreatto public health or the environment and can be in the form of

liquid, solid, or contained gas ("DefiningHazardous Waste"). These are generally the byproducts

of manufacturing processes or discarded material such as cleaning fluids or pesticides ("Defining

Hazardous Waste"). hazardous w includes virtirally anything recyclable or


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&N,* tt /, ^"';,.' | ,n'/
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it does n.rt pose environmental threat


non-recyclable, as as

in tire U.S todaY.


Paper, plastic, and
7
.\ produced bY Americans
Of the
40% of food
? Action Center ofNew England released the "tut"*"n{"
(

this $'asted food ends up in landfiils in fact'


produced in the U.S. goes uneai.ll. Or er 979 u of -
A .maJ of food waste
food waste is of landfiils in the
n-t
rLtfr t7 stricter
'tA )
part by lgot. Po1!ti."t on organic disPosal and

Han ard Foot]La*.andPolicyClinicnoted..thevastmajorityofstatesdo

recycling law tn place", asserting onlY a


not currently have an organic \\ aste ban or u'aste

handfulofstateshaveimpl.-nrentedsuclrlarvs.organicwastebansforcestatestoresofito

eco-friendly methods of drsprrsal as opposed to


using']andfi-ill As of 2017, only Connecticut'

Mass , Rhode Island. \'i--ffi]oflt.


and California have reguiated organic waste in some
?
, neither the Food and Drug
Administratton
form.
...expired by,, .use by, or .best before
the U.S. Dept. of Agrlculture (USDA) rggllf.e

)) aa
discretion of the manufacturer"

,fl1 fl ulu Srtrlr lt&


as an indicator food
O\TY
"37yo
Lrrr*..r,{reat such labels as a signal to tos{ the

away food that close to or Past the date on the


Americans report always or usually throwing
Misuse of date labeling not onlY
package, and}Ao/oreport doing so at least occasionally"

also oer*ses-+
.3
striPf;ry of that can be used to PotentiallY
butes to food
1A
in restaurants and grocery stores tu
hunger in the United States. Only l'4% of uneaten
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donated, as opposed to the 84' 3% of food disposed
of The i

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waste. I

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Landfill in the U b I'L


JltlvM;dL1
gressively pro blematic- not only perlaining to
.f'
environmental effects, but pLrblic health as u'ell. As bl,products ofpurying or incineration

processes occurrin-e at 1andfi11s. harmftil toxins and pollutants easily enter the atmosphere.

Methane and carbon dioride are produced in abundance. contributing directly to pollution which,

in turn, translates to global u armins and climate change. The Norlhcoast Enr.ironmental Center

asserts "Methane (CH4) is a pori'erful greenhouse gas that is 23 times more effective at trapping

heat in the atmosphere than the most prevalent greenhouse gas-carbon dioxide (CO2)"

(Gainer). Although methane does not remain in the atmosphere ur long as CO2, the effects of
W
methane emissions are far more de.,.astatine in terms of global warming and climate
u*4 ywf Wrp'
rs, salvag
", ^ff"t car carcinogenic material to the
/
environment^V&@d.Toxinsre1easedfromsalvageyardsinc1ude

W
mercury
"NlLat-+kffirfi -^
1_
from light switches, oil, lead f€+rnd in batteries, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs),
^{o,
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) found in brake pads and lining of older cars, as well as anti-freeze
)'o'{'
and freon from systems ("Waste"). These carcinogens become problematic to public
I
health yards are in close proximity to communities, as they can contaminate UV,\
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drinking water. A number of health issues arise from these toxins as "Mercury is linked to kidney
2^
disease, lead may cause brain damage, PCBs and oitlroalrcts have been linked to liver, kidney,
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only temporari ly 4istract

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STE\I-+
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::: L nited States have the
In terms of laws and policie.

the Resource
7 Environmental Protection Agenc) (EP-\) co\ ers nties and regulations under
/
waste are ensured to be
Conserryation and Recoyery Act (RCRA). Hazardous and non-hazardous

handled in a manner that protects human health and the environment.


Under Subtitle C of the
' '-
l"/
waste iS+e be conducted through a "cradle-to-grave" approach
for guaranteed
l ij
proper management and transporta vzith ttre moment it is produced to the dispo-sal 4 ll* .7

h-*st' 7aUHt..Q.t- j. ,2 LJ ,/
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hn"li ubtitle D bans the oPen


stage ("Resource Conservation and") for

dumping of waste and criteria for the operation of landfills including desisn

("Resource Conservation
criteria, location and cleanup restrictions, and financial assurance
;'i.-,.llcs 1n the
and"). The RCRIhowevel merely sets a
UJI
waste management. 7s lt
sf,fr
states to enforce action. A 1S government officials often times work hand-in-
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increase waste tonnage
, , ,, ,,- hand with waste industries "to permit massil'e expansions to landf,rlls,

their profits"
incineration, and develop new facilities-hke trash transfer stations-to increase

(".Waste"). The money making


-G";4 side of landf,rlls in the U.S.oufweighs .-ff"t: n'
-,i;',1"
r2Vroteffi| o ,N#'& fuw
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environmen ,. ,7u*)'iarp;"1 '([itn]5
?:
ni"X o
e c-t rp se-
An ocean away,waste manageme;8il'i;"pe @e substandard

'hlt' l''14 LA'


countries produce paper, plastic
programs the U.S has implemented. S,#ffi6('Ernop.ut
a#s, yet their efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle are what
,) I
and food waste
I J, n

by goine straie# ' " 'i:;,,-.


differentiate the two. waste in the EuroPean Union (EU) is handled
''"
'hy-'t'u
place. In efforts to reduce what
to the source and reducing the amount being produced in the first

banned and the use of other


ends up as hazardous waste "several types of chemicals have been

(garden,
materials has been significantlY restricted" ("Being Wise with"). As for biowaste
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STEM 5

kitchen, and food waste), around 88 millitrn tons is thrown out across Europe each year ("Being

Wise with"). Although a large amolult is generatcd . "40yo of bio-waste sent to landfills is used as
/
a renewable energy source as it is recovered as biogas or thermal energy" ("Being Wise with").
a
, ../
waste ilreduced in production, while a majority of non-hazardous u,aste lp-converted
J**'Hazardous
to energy. PtN'*') d"!-r.,ir"L t*'tq +Jtt qs
:
ll"tsta\,vr,1
.+sofposetl+o the United States, the European Union strive
${ {the continuance
fo end of

landfill usage. Today, landfills {d remain the most common form of disposal in Europe, yet
/
"Thousands of sub-standard landfill sites have been closed across Europe and the arnount of

*unicipal waste put into landfills in the EU has fallen by more than25o/o since 1995" ("Being
,
Wise with"). In fact, Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria have completely eliminated their

landfill usage and remaining the EU co y send 38% of waste to


|J{il o$" !de-"
landfrlls (Lacey). Belgium and Sweden sending less than 1o% of waste to
rhL
with the rest either recycled, composted, or turned into (Lacey). processes m
b"+--
landfills across Europe are created with the intent from the large fires, \nh'i+e

u[o'l recoveriq any heat generated throughout the process. The EU also regulates incineration

processes by monitoring and setting emission limits on incineration plants/landfills (Lacey)

meffinrcrrholds stricter policies on waste outpu)paired with two approaches

to tackling waste hierarchy


,.^ t'bJ l-lA-.
lr' " s't#wffi" preven tion fof waste
incinerationl, and ends with dispo Wise last

when it comes to waste in the S, "pinpoints


hr^
the area in a that produces most waste, pollution,g energy consumption to decide
ily 5rn

0'n;. #.a{T""Y: s* ok- u!-1.


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\\'hen it's better to replace and dispose than continue use of a less ener-qv eft-tcrent product"

("Being Wise with"). anal with the initial extraction of narural resollrces to

make a product, then design, manufacturing, product use, waste collection, and the rellse,

recycle, or recovery stage of the product- again placing waste disposal as an absolute last resort

(' manufacturing companies to rethink a product's "life

,, Nffikurcers responsible for the entire lite-cycle,$

AlA" "--i?afrlrellts the tcr""nooAyrt"* whicirrequires producers to pay a levy for


i vto

recycling of their product ("Being Wise with"). The EU enforces many tematives to
ilsd
producing more waste than tt ?\l
g^Ao*,
SO ? A psychological understanding provides some re
,-irtj-t h,'t4**-
the madness. Anloutof Jilfri, orit'of mindmentality
s
American people when it comes to trash. Americans
,1
is

tl
pep#rly held among

the simplicity of thror,ving


thr
^ry
Jappeal
*4t-- r'of c/t\s
something ou t andlforyetting what bottles seen on sides of roads and major
'l

mare given little to no consideration, remain tuere toiiso y.urrt- according to a


$t'' table on how long items take to decompose released by the EPA in 2013 (Abdu1-Rahman). The

mentality of "marking a shift away from thjalcing about waste as an unwanted burden to seeing it
id oPkd?
as a valued resource" needs to be adapted by the mindsets of Americans ("Being Wise with").
**Y'
q Con the beginning of acceptance andrexecution ot poprcnretl
I
- ructw!tu4

so'hrtium
s- ur&"{"d $ra}k* \

'44r-*-

When it comes to consuming products, there are a multitude of eco-friendly alternatives#Y $re%^{t"
+o
For instance, stimulates local economy while Wt
I
reducing negative impacts &pm shipping and transpoftation. iOpting for more
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STEM 7

,ffiffi, F,t-i-*
l't
durable products such as or reusable s and water production
iltA ih<lJ ,.. :1

as opposed dul-Rahman)

:g[sa; old cell phones can dr#cys be traded in, donated, or as electronics

material and produce hazardous byproducts (Abdul-Rahman). "Phone books...production

costs 5 million trees a 5,000 tons of waste (2000)"- le can out

reduce this impact ( aids "the chemical, biological, anrJ-- W+J


4-,,LL
lnhysicat
t-
properties of soil, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers" while fixing one of the J"*a-*
biggest problems the U_41.d S-IatSq fages;-fogd waste,(Abdul-Rahman).
$raetion-as*itele-as
r !u9t
trading a-celffi€a€-irris one step foflr,,ard-iiliaving
$, tk
7414&C,-^4
environment.
t+*^-r- aL?
(-f1*,*ra.);
(l4 t-
r/'d 'rts-rn*'^'
f
fli-e
! )' iltA
Government intervention plays a hig6 role in balt toward a wasteless

society. Matt Kasper, researcher at the Energy and Policy Institute proposes "to begin reducing

the amount of waste sent to landfills, increasing recycling rates, and generating renewable

energy, a municipal-solid-waste portfolio standard must be enacted by Congress and applied

nationwide" (Lacey). Along with a portfolio standard, grant programs and direct funding should

be allotted to food recovery organizations in efforts to end hunger and reduce food waste. Laws

pertaining to food safety should be altered to allow selling of past date foods or be made more h
donation friendly. In accordance with the harmful effects of salvage yards in close proximity of
communities, location of sites should be decided by direct community members.
ii)
i!.

Government people to resort to eco-friendly options


ry
C,Drt.A/tMI r or *.,ru$ar C<,

The most difficult of proposals, yet the most efficient, is zero waste. As defined by the

Toxic Action Center, "Zero Waste is not any single technology, program, or policy", but rather a

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STE\1 S

A utvr
t
b {
"r.ision" or "goal" that can be achieved through a series of processes 1"\\'aste"). The idea ol zero

u'aste "centers around reducing needless consumption, minimizing lr'aste. maximizin-e rec;-c1ing.
f
and incentivizingthe manufacturing of products that can be intentionally reused, repaired, or T
recycled back into the marketplace" ("Waste"). Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling \\roven in r'vith

attentiveness to consumption and use of alternatives leads to implementation -Waste. W-


Q.*I
Zero waste means a world of less hunger, more economic growth and opportunity, and a healthy,
b,'
sustainable environment. }"t'" a rnn o ,?
5[Y"9
k'L{'a:7rt
While many people a*€+werb€iF-the growing waste problem rrrA [t, negative impactg on
t) Z /
the environment, most do not to execute solutions. , and

littering remain prevalent society, along with many other wasteful habits. With
\4,tb#

$
h
,le that restaurants allow you to add on, but you carulot return the extra,
,.

y{ food to the kitchen once it is prepared and served" ("Food Wasting Habits"). (eople ofte*aet-as
lt *
if*ey are informed and in favor of change,,,ft their day to day actions prove otherwise. Even

more disturbing, 0% of Americans do not believe humans have any impact on global
r changes (Cimons). The attitudes held by skeptical Americans on environmental

v,
a

hold to execute changes and the effects of their wasteful habits on their grandchildren and ot&er F"*",t
t:

generations . ,r..r. rl I

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STEM 9
.m
gr't't
On a global scale, waste management is a significant issue ty'th b oth negative impacls

and feasible solutions. With $k#pollution, global warming, and climate change directly /> t#t
appearing in the present day, it is important for people of this generation to stepap and prevent a (Kot' ^

destructive future for the planet. The United States must follow the by
lru
d4 {rn,
I wltp r-wd v
European Union in terms of waste management and e,fstricter
a.t
g'
rules and regulations to push +he4ublic to make fl change. The food waste crisis and widespread Ll t Cl't
i' t +
r'd t$f
n
Atnt't'>h*l
-. \u'''" . /hrttg., America faces can breasiffiiminated through fiindingsnd loosening policies
f *t 't
CL'j''- dLfuY,
';,I'i \onation-wise. LandfilM1J4$3n.rrn risks and environmental threats can be replaced with ptan,,
reducing, reusing, and recycling, and with what remains in landfills can be converted to energy.
*u'.)
As one of the most powerful nations in the world,
ffi. United Sta eco-friendlvJ

altemati to-evenruatlyere *, #H: 3"


"
society.

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"n9
STEM 10

Works Cited b\u:oul


v
Abdul-Rahm an,Fahzy. "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Alternatives for Waste Management." W Cbstk t d,tte,
,1, f
aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_g/G3 1 4.pdf.

"Being Wise with Waste: the EU's Approach to Waste Management." European Union
't'n ryJ-
Environment,Publications Office of the European Union, 2010,

ec. europa. eu/environment/waste/pdf/WASTE%20BROCHURE.pdf.

Cimons, Marlene. "Poll Finds Fevn'er Americans Than Ever Doubt Climate Change Is

appening." ThinkProgress. -, ,

thinkprogress.org/po11-finds-felr,er-americans-than-ever-doubt-climate-change-is-

happening- 16257790947 dl .

"Defining Hazardous Waste." Cali.fonia Depcu'tment of Tbxic Sttbstances Control, l

www. dts c. c a. gov lHazardou sWa ste/up I o ad,lHWMP_D e finin gHW 1 1 1 .p df.

"Food Wasting Habits May Depend on Age and Gende(' TODAYonline,

www.todayonline.com/lifest)rlelfoodifood-wasting-habits-ma),-depend-age-and-g

ender.
d,w&t
Gainer, Margaret Contribute to Global Warming. " Th e I'{orth c o as t Environmental

Center or gl c ontentllandfills -contribute- global-warming.

Leib, Emily Broad. "Keeping Food Out Of The Landfill: Policy Ideas for States and

Localities." End Hunger, d,A-iL,

www. endhunger. org/PDFs/20 1 6/I{arvardJoodWasteJoolkit:Oct20 I 6.pdf.

"Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Overview." EPA, Environmental Protection

Agency, 9 Feb. 2017,

Lncrq rtLrs s )
STEM 11

www.ePa.gov/rcra/resource-conservation-and-recovery-act-rcra-overview#subtitle

C.
7
lTienttt, Courtney. "American Restaurants Are Wasting an Incredible Amount of Food - Here's the

Proof." Busirtess htsider, Business Insider, 17 May 2016,

r ,u'u'.businessinsider.com/solving-food-waste-in-americas-restaurants-20 1 6-5.

"Waste." Toxics Action Center, org/issues/waste/

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