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Title: Energy implications of recycling packaging materials

Abstract

In 1992, Congress sought to rewrite the United States comprehensive solid waste legislation -- the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Commodity-specific recycling rates were proposed for consumer-goods packaging materials and newsprint We compare the impacts on energy, materials use, and landfill volume of recycling at those rates to the impacts for alternative methods of material disposition to determine the optimum for each material. After products have served their intended uses, there are several alternative paths for material disposition. These include reuse, recycling to the same product, recycling to a lower-valued product, combustion for energy recovery, incineration without energy recovery, and landfill. Only options considered to be environmentally sound are Included. Both houses of Congress specifically excluded combustion for energy recovery from counting towards the recovery goats, probably because combustion is viewed as a form of disposal and is therefore assumed to waste resources and have n environmental effects. However, co-combustion in coal-fired plants or combustion in appropriately pollution-controlled waste-to-energy plants Is safe, avoids landfill costs, and can displace fossil fuels. In some cases, more fossil fuels can be displaced by combustion than by recycling. We compare the alternative life-cycle energies to the energies for producing the products from virginmore » materials. Results depend on the material and on the objective to be achieved. There are trade-offs among possible goals. For instance, paper packaging recycling conserves trees but may require greater fossil-fuel input than virgin production. Therefore, the objectives for proposed legislation must be examined to see whether they can most effectively be achieved by mandated recycling rates or by other methods of disposition. The optimal choices for the United States may not necessarily be the same as those for Europe and other parts of the world.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Argonne National Lab., IL (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab., Washington, DC (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab., IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
10134176
Report Number(s):
ANL/ES/CP-82316; CONF-940382-1
ON: DE94008478
DOE Contract Number:  
W-31109-ENG-38
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: RECYCLE `94,Davos (Switzerland),14-18 Mar 1994; Other Information: PBD: [1994]
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; SOLID WASTES; RECYCLING; PACKAGING; MUNICIPAL WASTES; WASTE MANAGEMENT; PAPER; LEGISLATION; GLASS; PLASTICS; 320604; 320305; MUNICIPAL WASTE MANAGEMENT; INDUSTRIAL WASTE MANAGEMENT

Citation Formats

Gaines, L L, and Stodolsky, F. Energy implications of recycling packaging materials. United States: N. p., 1994. Web.
Gaines, L L, & Stodolsky, F. Energy implications of recycling packaging materials. United States.
Gaines, L L, and Stodolsky, F. Tue . "Energy implications of recycling packaging materials". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/10134176.
@article{osti_10134176,
title = {Energy implications of recycling packaging materials},
author = {Gaines, L L and Stodolsky, F},
abstractNote = {In 1992, Congress sought to rewrite the United States comprehensive solid waste legislation -- the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Commodity-specific recycling rates were proposed for consumer-goods packaging materials and newsprint We compare the impacts on energy, materials use, and landfill volume of recycling at those rates to the impacts for alternative methods of material disposition to determine the optimum for each material. After products have served their intended uses, there are several alternative paths for material disposition. These include reuse, recycling to the same product, recycling to a lower-valued product, combustion for energy recovery, incineration without energy recovery, and landfill. Only options considered to be environmentally sound are Included. Both houses of Congress specifically excluded combustion for energy recovery from counting towards the recovery goats, probably because combustion is viewed as a form of disposal and is therefore assumed to waste resources and have n environmental effects. However, co-combustion in coal-fired plants or combustion in appropriately pollution-controlled waste-to-energy plants Is safe, avoids landfill costs, and can displace fossil fuels. In some cases, more fossil fuels can be displaced by combustion than by recycling. We compare the alternative life-cycle energies to the energies for producing the products from virgin materials. Results depend on the material and on the objective to be achieved. There are trade-offs among possible goals. For instance, paper packaging recycling conserves trees but may require greater fossil-fuel input than virgin production. Therefore, the objectives for proposed legislation must be examined to see whether they can most effectively be achieved by mandated recycling rates or by other methods of disposition. The optimal choices for the United States may not necessarily be the same as those for Europe and other parts of the world.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1994},
month = {3}
}

Conference:
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