Environmental Project Proposal
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Environmental Project Proposal Bryant Nguyen, Alec Burke, Eric Jones, Mamesa El, Andrew Gong Environmental Project Proposal Executive Summary Imagine a low-cost, efficient, reputable, and effective solution to the issue of excessive landfill waste. The most important factor that must be considered in a solution is feasibility. We propose a solution that implements a sorting system, a simpler trashcan model for the public, and further educational programs. We shall introduce an easily accessible trashcan only consisting of “wet”, or contaminated, products in one bin, and all remaining garbage in the other—recyclable or non-recyclable; a “dry” bin. This will help reduce the demands given to all passengers and the public. One may question the why we wouldn’t mind contamination in our waste. However, contamination will not be an issue because the “wet” bin will include anything involving unfinished food and meals. Mixed waste is something our solution is made to solve. The municipal solid waste will be sent to a facility owned by the airport where detailed sorting of products and waste will occur.1 The contaminated waste will be separated from the “dry” waste creating an easier environment for our hand-sorting facility. After this process is completed, the materials will be sent off to their designated areas; such as the landfill, recycling areas, and the composting docks. Our solution implements and recreates already utilized programs in a better and more efficient way to create a better environment for the community. Introduction One community strives to become more environmentally friendly, potentially all communities are influenced to better their environment. Our group recognizes the issues with the current recycling system at the Port of Seattle. The problems consist of human behavior, lack of education or motivation, and a simply unreliable program. Compensating for the lack of proper recycling and waste management is not enough to benefit the community in the long run. As a prominent power in the SeaTac community, the Sea-Tac International Airport must change and improve the environmental systems already set in place to achieve the objective of a 50% landfill diversion rate in waste disposal. Problem Statement The problem lies within the human behavior when considering how much time is used when sorting their garbage, or to simply put it, their personal costs when it comes to recycling. Reports have been analyzed that concessionaires at the airport purposely contaminate recycling compactors for their own interests because there is no cost in recycling compared to that of garbage disposal. Also, an obvious issue regarding recycling programs is that it’s very publicly influenced. People tend to be lazy, or rather, efficient with their time. Our solution proposes that all of these problems be solved by making everything more easily accessible, for everyone. Project Description Goals: Overcome the difficulty with the lack of waste diversion from landfills. Provide a new interpretation of recycling to the public. Discover what environmental programs are most efficient and effective in increasing waste diversion from landfills. Objective: The Sea-Tac Airport in the Port of Seattle will reach a 50% landfill diversion rate in waste disposal. Multi-Family homes will achieve a 15% recycling rate due to educational programs. Plan of Action: The proposition firstly suggests that we make “recycling” easier for the incoming passengers and public. We shall implement a 2bin waste disposal system consisting of a “wet” bin, and a garbage, or “dry” bin. The “wet” bin will be composed of any waste, solid or not, that may be compostable or considered contaminated, for example food, drinks, and compostable utensils. The garbage bin will then consist of literally any other type of solid waste, recyclable or non-recyclable. Near each modified trashcan will be an advertised display of our processes in sorting the waste for the purpose of informing the public. After simplifying the bin processes, the mounds of trash separated from the two bins are transported to a nearby, airport owned facility. The facility will apply sorting practices for compostable materials, non-recyclables, and recyclable waste. The main objective is to have all waste categories placed in their respective locations; such as the landfill, recycling center, or composting facility. We urge a mixed waste facility because of the known differences in benefits for mixed waste recycling in Appendix D. Another supporting reason for a mixed waste facility along with the single-stream, 2-bin program is because of the effectiveness of mixed waste sorting without contamination2. Finally, the sorted trash will then be transported to the desired locations; the landfill, composting grounds, or recycling company like Cleanscapes3. This overall proposition meets the goals and objectives in bettering the environment while keeping a low-cost for the airport itself. Finally, in order to proceed with our plan to reach the set objectives and goals, we must ensure that our solution does not coincide with any governmental or county-level laws or regulations (Appendix F).
"Solid Waste Recycling." FlySFO. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2014. "Vertes Energies & Technologies Inc." Dirty MRF. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2014. 3 "CleanScapes | Effective Waste Reduction, Diversion and Collection Services."CleanScapes | Effective Waste Reduction, Diversion and Collection Services. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2014. 1
2 Environmental Project Proposal Bryant Nguyen, Alec Burke, Eric Jones, Mamesa El, Andrew Gong
Evaluation: We expect to reduce the waste by 80% in the first year and up to 90% in the immediate years following. That number is based off the total amount of trash and is not relative to any previous number. Based on a characterization study performed at RAHS, 35% of trash was labeled as non-recyclable. Out of that category, up to 75% could have been recycled if not contaminated. With the introduction of a new waste reduction system featuring a sorting facility to manage waste, we expect to be able to take that 75% and redirect it away from the landfill. With these two additions we expect to be able to reduce the port’s garbage to the landfill by an estimate 75% immediately, increasing to full capacity of 90% without any added systems within the following years. By adding other systems and improvements to the facility this can possibly be increased to close to, if not at, 100% waste reduction, resulting in a zero-waste environment. All of the data collected will be measured by using the same process the Port of Seattle currently uses, such as individually recording all waste being exported to landfills. This is the best idea because it tackles the bigger picture. We were able to compare this to our other innovative ideas as well (Appendix E). The overall description of our goal is to make things easier and effective while still greatly benefiting the environment and preserving the airport’s resources. The proposed plan holds all of these key factors. However, there is the issue of costly site management and creation. In regards to this, we decided to weigh the costs of managing a facility versus the reduction of costs when receiving 75-90% waste diversion (Appendix C). The Airport Director proposes a similar solution, proposing a secondary sorting facility on airport property. All of the operations, specific location, and management of the facility is emitted from the Director’s proposal. Fortunately, we would like to incorporate our solution with that of the Director’s. The stakeholders around the proposal will not be negatively affected. Passenger and concessionaire demands will be reduced, education will make recycling easier for the public, SeaTac and surrounding residents will not be affected, and waste management contractors will benefit from the purity of the sorted waste. We hope to allow discussion and agreements amongst the city of SeaTac and the airport itself when consulting location for the best possible area for the sorting facility. Budget As our plan suggests, the budget will be flattened out in hope that the lowest possible cost will be obtained. There will be no limit because our goal is to have the lowest costs and also because we ultimately believe that a 75 – 90% projected diversion rate is worth any projected costs from this project from any ends, whether it be every proposed program malfunctioning for a set period of time, or all systems are properly operative. The differences in conducting this solution is clearly shown in Appendix A. The costs we must consider are landfill tipping fee costs4, facility management costs (Appendix C). Initial costs are also equally important. Construction of the facility, minor bin replacements, and informative seminars are major contributors to the basic costs to our proposal. We predict a cost of roughly $600,000 at the most5. Conclusion In conclusion, conducting a sorting program exposed to the media to ensure participation will create a simpler and more effective approach to reaching the objective of having the Sea-Tac Airport reach a 50% landfill diversion rate in waste disposal. The approach utilizes recycling and composting as its key components, and at the same time making the categorizing of waste for the public much easier. As an addition to the effective program, education shall be widely spread throughout the airport’s community and hopefully reaching the various communities in Washington state. The most important things to consider is the feasibility and sustainability of our proposed solution. As the solution is being implemented in other airports, we have introduced a better system of mixed waste sorting that’s also feasible because we are only changing the public waste input. The benefits are very widespread and potent. The positive outcomes of the 2-bin sorting plan include methane reduction (Appendix B), significant waste reduction rates (Appendix A), and finally an exceptional profit margin when conducting our solution (Appendix C). The proposition is feasible, sustainable—with a profit, and compelling beneficial factors.
"Recycling and Disposal Station Rates." Rates--Seattle Public Utilities. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2014. "The Car Wash Business." The Fastlane Forum. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2014.
3 Environmental Project Proposal Bryant Nguyen, Alec Burke, Eric Jones, Mamesa El, Andrew Gong APPENDIX A Figure 1.
Figure 1 displays the current garbage and recyclable material distribution in the Sea-Tac Airport. Figure 2.
Figure 2 displays the projected garbage and recyclable material distribution in the Sea-Tac Airport after our solution is conducted. Analysis: The graphs show that we are reducing the amount of waste from the port to the landfill and thus accomplishing one of the largest goals of this project. By implementing our solution we are projected to effectively reduce the amount of the port’s waste to the landfill by 75-90%, 90% being at full capacity. As seen above, the port’s waste to the landfill was just under 6,000 tons and the port’s waste to be recycled was just under 200 tons. With the solution in effect the total waste to the landfill is under 700 tons and the total recyclable waste at 7,000 tons. These numbers justify our solution as a highly rewarding impact on the port both in a financial sense and eco-friendly sense. These graphs prove that if our solution is implemented in the way projected by this data, that our solution will reduce the waste to the landfill and surpass the port’s 50% by a minimum of 35% completely solving the given problem as well as going above and beyond, making our solution the best solution.
4 Environmental Project Proposal Bryant Nguyen, Alec Burke, Eric Jones, Mamesa El, Andrew Gong Appendix B Figure 1.
Figure 1. is a graph displaying the methane content when considering the current amount of waste produced at the airport and its 30% waste diversion rate. Figure 2.
Figure 2. is a projected graph displaying the methane content when considering the future reduction of waste and the 90% waste diversion rate. Analysis: These graphs show the methane produced by the port’s waste in 2012. This is very important because it shows how our solution impacts the environment and how, in solid visual representation, our solution reduces methane production by the port for a year of operation. Methane is an important factor to the health of a worldwide environment. Methane is 20 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide when considering climate change. One important contributive factor to methane’s harmful effects is that a large amount of methane will create holes in the ozone layer. Further disrupting the ozone layer along with carbon dioxide will drastically manipulate climate change against our favor. Ozone holes allow ultraviolet light from the sun to more directly contact the earth and change temperatures on the surface of our environment. Methane holds critical potential to environmental safety and therefore must be reduced. Sea-Tac airport can support this cause by reducing the amount of waste they are producing annually.
5 Environmental Project Proposal Bryant Nguyen, Alec Burke, Eric Jones, Mamesa El, Andrew Gong APPENDIX C Figure 1.
Current garbage costs for SeaTac Airport in the year 2012 before transportation costs are incorporated. Figure 2.
Projected garbage costs for SeaTac Airport in the year 2012 before transportation costs are incorporated. The graph includes total annual costs including employment fees. The solution will reduce garbage going to landfill therefore reducing costs. Analysis: These two graphs show the total waste produced by the port using data from the 2012 Port waste stream analysis data. This is important because it directly shows how our solution will help the Port in terms of tons of waste. The annual cost of our solution itself is approximately $730,000. While this seems like a large price to pay for the airport annually, it isn’t detrimental when compared to the current waste disposal costs. Landfill tipping fee prices are approximately $145 per ton of garbage going to the landfill6. Analyzing this data and computing the annual costs of the 2012 tipping fee totals, we were able to compare those costs to the cost of operating our solution. We discovered that the Sea-Tac airport will be saving approximately $120,000 each year when implementing the 2-bin sorting solution. When accounting initial construction and management costs, in approximately 5-6 years the initial costs will be made back and the airport will then be creating a profitable income from our proposition. The data proves that our solution will be far superior to the Port’s current system. All costs don’t consider flat transportation costs. Refer to Appendix G for excel calculations we used to compute the desired graphs. 6
"Recycling and Disposal Station Rates." Rates--Seattle Public Utilities. Web. 09 May 2014.
6 Environmental Project Proposal Bryant Nguyen, Alec Burke, Eric Jones, Mamesa El, Andrew Gong APPENDIX D
This is a comparative chart displaying the individual separation of waste groups in Seattle versus that of San Jose’s mixed waste program. 7
"Source-Separation and Mixed Waste Recycling Systems for Multifamily Buildings: A Comparative Analysis | Topics | Editorial | MSW Management.” N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2014. 7
7 Environmental Project Proposal Bryant Nguyen, Alec Burke, Eric Jones, Mamesa El, Andrew Gong Appendix E
Comparative Decision Making Matrix looking at the values of various solutions based on certain project traits. All scores are added up and reviewed to see the best possible solution.
8 Environmental Project Proposal Bryant Nguyen, Alec Burke, Eric Jones, Mamesa El, Andrew Gong Appendix F Summary #1. The relevant law to our proposed solution is from King County, named “Title 10 Solid Waste.” This law deals with solid waste in various ways. The section particularly relevant to our proposed solution is section 10.08.020, dealing with systems of disposal. Section 10.08.020 says “Unless specifically authorized by a King County ordinance, it is unlawful for any person to deliver any county solid waste to a place other than a disposal facility designated by the county to receive the particular waste.” (King County). Also, it says “It is unlawful for any person to deliver county solid waste other than unauthorized waste as determined by the division director to any facility for final disposal other than the county-designated disposal facility, unless the division director has provided prior written authorization for the disposal for public health, safety, welfare or planning purposes and the disposal is consistent with the adopted King County comprehensive solid waste management plan.” (King County). The purpose of this law is to make sure people have permission to create a waste facility in order to manage waste, and not unlawfully deliver solid waste to facilities other than a disposal facility. The law means you have to get approval from the King County ordinance to build a waste facility, and you also can’t dispose waste unless it doesn’t affect public safety and health. This law makes it relevant to the current problem because it deals with facilities that moves waste to other facilities other than the purpose for disposing it. Our proposed solution deals with having a facility to sort waste—recyclables, metals, compost, and others into their appropriate places. It impacts us because this particular section of the law says you can’t dispose waste to other facilities that does something else other than the purpose of disposing waste. If we take the waste to other facilities not approved by the King County Ordinance, then, we technically are breaking the law. Also, the law requires approval for disposal of waste that doesn’t affect public health and safety. This law limits our solution to what we are limited to. For instance, the law states that “It is unlawful for any person to deliver any county solid waste to a place other than a disposal facility designated by the county to receive the particular waste.” This means we have to dispose or send waste to another processing facility that is approved by the King County ordinance. If we don’t, we aren’t disposing it properly. Also, the law states that “unless the division director has provided prior written authorization for the disposal for public health, safety, welfare or planning purposes and the disposal is consistent with the adopted King County comprehensive solid waste management plan.” We have to have a solid waste management plan in order for our particular solution to work. This means a solid waste management plan needs to be in order to what we do with the various amounts of waste we have, and where do we dispose the waste to. Our proposed solution doesn’t violate Title 10, Section 8 because the program is tied to the airport. For instance, one airport, although not entirely related to our proposed solution, is already doing waste sorting in its recycling program (Dane County). Another airport is also doing waste sorting; the concept is similar to our proposed solution, but the way they do it is different. Brussels Airport is doing its part in waste sorting by relabeling bins with relevant signs that pertains to what particular waste each bins want (Brussels Airport). These two airports are examples of how our proposed solution won’t get anyone in trouble; solutions somewhat similar to ours is already put in place. Finally, those two airports have already executed their waste sorting programs for some time without any problems. Summary #2 The relevant law for our proposed solution is from the EPA titled “Title 40, Part 243-Guidelines for the storage and collection of residential, commercial, and institutional solid waste.” The section relevant to our proposed solution is section 243.200-1, titled “Storage Requirement.” The law says “All solid wastes (or materials which have been separated for the purpose of recycling) shall be stored in such a manner that they do not constitute a fire, health, or safety hazard or provide food or harborage for vectors, and shall be contained or bundled so as not to result in spillage. All solid waste containing food wastes shall be securely stored in covered or closed containers which are nonabsorbent, leakproof, durable, easily cleanable (if reusable), and designed for safe handling.” (EPA) Also, the law says “In the design of all buildings or other facilities which are constructed, modified, or leased after the effective date of these guidelines, there shall be provisions for storage in accordance with these guidelines which will accommodate the volume of solid waste anticipated, which may be easily cleaned and maintained, and which will allow for efficient, safe collection.” (EPA) The purpose of these laws is to make sure all solid waste doesn’t pose a safety risk or cause any harm to anyone. Also, this section of the law makes sure that food wastes are contained safely in particular containers so that they don’t pose a safety risk and the facility can hold the solid waste and collect it in a safe, effective manner. This law means you have to secure your disposal facility properly, including all of the solid waste and food waste generated by the people. This law is relevant to the current problem because it deals with securing solid waste collected from various places around the airport. Our proposed solution deals with sorting waste and putting them into designated bins. It impacts us because the law requires us to secure solid waste so that they don’t pose a threat to public health and safety. Also, this requires us to make sure food waste gets secured as well, so that it doesn’t leak and cause contamination. If we don’t secure the waste and make sure
9 Environmental Project Proposal Bryant Nguyen, Alec Burke, Eric Jones, Mamesa El, Andrew Gong they don’t pose a threat, our facility can’t do its job correctly. In addition to that, we also get into trouble for causing contamination if we don’t maintain a clean and safe environment in our sorting facility. The law limits our solution to what we can do in the law. For instance, the law states that “All solid wastes (or materials which have been separated for the purpose of recycling) shall be stored in such a manner that they do not constitute a fire, health, or safety hazard or provide food or harborage for vectors, and shall be contained or bundled so as not to result in spillage.” The law means we can’t just have particular bins and sort waste and recyclables into those bins; we have to secure them and make sure they are being sorted and disposed or recycled properly. Also, the law states that “there shall be provisions for storage in accordance with these guidelines which will accommodate the volume of solid waste anticipated, which may be easily cleaned and maintained, and which will allow for efficient, safe collection.” This section of the law means that there are waste constraints or limits to how much waste we can carry or hold. If we carry too much waste, then we aren’t following the EPA’s regulation. In order for the safe and effective operation of our sorting facility, we have to limit on how much solid waste we hold and dispose. Our proposed solution doesn’t violate title 40, part 243 for a few reasons. Firstly, while our solution involves a series of steps in removing various wastes, the waste we collect are non-hazardous solid waste. Non-hazardous wastes don’t pose much of a threat when being sorted. Secondly, one disposal facility at Chico Airport that deals with hazardous waste is already doing its part in making sure solid waste are properly dealt with; it has a set of rules in telling disposers what they need to do, such as making sure disposers properly and tightly seal lids on waste they wish to dispose (City of Chico). Lastly, the facility in the City of Chico makes sure that people put waste in their original containers (City of Chico). Having those rules set in place made the facility much safer with those wastes properly taken care of.