Fall 2007 Report
I am currently putting the finishing touches on my report for the activities during the fall semester independent study class of ENVI209-002. It has been an exciting, rewarding, and exhausting semester, but well worth all of the efforts.
During the semester I assisted Professor Langford with a project of his which sought to connect incoming freshmen class members with the university. In this project, class members placed thirty recycle barrels around the campus for plastic and aluminum items. They then labeled the barrels, collected the deposits, sorted the contents, and deposited them into bins segregated for aluminum and plastic. In this manner the new students learned where the various buildings were on campus and became involved in a community service project. My part of the project was to dispose of the sorted materials, as no provision had been made for transportation of these materials after collection.
After Dr. Langford’s freshman class project was completed, I inherited the barrels and began to manage them on my own. This proved to be a daunting task, as I was already collecting recyclable waste from many dumpsters, both on and off of campus, as well as waste newsprint from the university’s print shop. Not only did I make these collections, but in some cases people noticed my activities and asked me to come to their homes and work places and remove various recyclable goods.
Results for the project are as follows:
- 666 pounds of aluminum cans were recycled resulting in the savings of:
- The equivalent of 22,644 cans not going into the landfill
- The energy savings equivalent of 1,061 gallons of gasoline
- The savings of 2,664 pounds of bauxite aluminum mining ore
- 3366 pounds of steel was recycled (some was other metals, but for simplicity of reporting all is considered as steel) resulting in the savings of:
- 3485 pounds of iron ore
- 1952 pounds of coal
- 167 pounds of limestone
- 74% energy savings over producing steel from virgin materials
- 5310 pounds of paper was recycled resulting in the savings of:
- 45 mature paper pulp trees 35 feet tall
- 266 gallons of gasoline or diesel
- 159 pounds of air pollutants
- 27,614 kwh of electricity
- 8 ¾ cubic yards of landfill space
- savings of 18,585 gallons of water to the area on recycled newspaper
- Numerous cardboard boxes, plastic refuse containers, three cases of three ring binders, sports equipment, and clothing items were also recovered and either used in the project, or given to people that could use them.
- 15 thirty-five gallon trash bags of plastic bottles were recycled, but 15 others had to be discarded
- The direct environmental cost of operation of the vehicle used was 110 pounds of carbon put into the air (11 pounds per gallon of gasoline burned X 10.5 gallons). Other direct costs were plastic bags and latex gloves used, but not calculated as to environmental impact. Other costs will be incurred in subsequent transportation, but are not accountable for as distances vs. amounts transported are not known.
- Total cash benefits of operations after expenses were $459.32, which was deposited into the university endowment fund.
- Efforts are underway to have roll-off containers placed on the campus for waste newspaper and plastic deposits, thus eliminating the need for frequent trips to Greenville to return these items and will result in additional energy savings.
- Plastic items recovered in the recycle bins were deposited in a recycle container in Greenville, TX, to the extent that there was room for it in the vehicle transporting paper and aluminum for redemption. At times there was no room, so it had to be discarded. There is no direct financial benefit from recycling plastic to the individual turning it in, so this was the sacrifice made in order to gain the most possible benefits from the project
Plastic recycling has shown to be problematic in that it is very bulky for the weight generated and there is no financial incentive to recycle it to the individual. It must be handled many times and be transported long distances before being re-used, negating much of the positive benefits of recycling it. As evidenced by the plastic collected, the majority of people using plastic water bottles replace the caps, making the bottle very difficult to crush, thus increasing the cost of baling and transporting it, and many leave the containers partly full of water, which skews the weight of the recycled material.
During the semester a new environmentally based student club began the process of organizing and will assist in the management of the recycle barrels in the spring semester. It is my hope that this organization will continue and expand on my work of this semester and I look forward to assisting them in this endeavor. Please continue to monitor this site for news and other items concerning the only place that we have to live in; our earth.
Reference sources used in preparation of this report include, but are not limited to:
We have been busy here at CommerceRecycle! I (Donald May) am still working hard on getting this site done but I am making slow progress.
We have some exciting stuff in the works so check back soon!
Hello and welcome to the home of the Commerce Recycling Project!
Soon this site will have tons of information about our project so please check back soon!