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Source: Franklin Associates, Ltd., Prairie Village, KS, Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 1998; and earlier reports. Prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
* MATERIAL FLOWS METHODOLOGY
The material flows methodology is utilized to generate the estimates above. The crucial first step is making estimates of the generation of the materials and products in MSW.
DOMESTIC PRODUCTION Data on domestic production of materials and products were compiled using published data series. U.S. Department of Commerce sources were used where available, but in several instances more detailed information on production of goods by end use is available from trade associations. The goal is to obtain a consistent historical data series for each product and/or material.
CONVERTING SCRAP The domestic production numbers were then adjusted for converting or fabrication scrap generated in the production processes. Examples of these kinds of scrap would be clippings from plants that make boxes from paperboard, glass scrap (cullet) generated in a glass bottle plant, or plastic scrap from a fabricator of plastic consumer products. This scrap typically has a high value because it is clean and readily identifiable, and it is almost always recovered and recycled within the industry that generated it. Thus, converting/fabrication scrap is not counted as part of the postconsumer recovery of waste.
ADJUSTMENTS FOR IMPORTS/EXPORTS In some instances imports and exports of products are a significant part of MSW, and adjustments were made to account for this.
DIVERSION Various adjustments were made to account for diversions from MSW. Some consumer products are permanently diverted from the municipal waste stream because of the way they are used. For example, some paperboard is used in building materials, which are not counted as MSW. Another example of diversion is toilet tissue, which is disposed in sewer systems rather than becoming MSW.
In other instances, products are temporarily diverted from the municipal waste stream. For example, textiles reused as rags are assumed to enter the waste stream the same year the textiles are initially discarded.
ADJUSTMENTS FOR PRODUCT LIFETIME Some products (e.g., newspapers and packaging) normally have a very short lifetime; these products are assumed to be discarded in the same year they are produced. In other instances (e.g., furniture and appliances), products have relatively long lifetimes. Data on average product lifetimes are used to adjust the data series to account for this.
MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE GENERATION AND DISCARDS The result of these estimates and calculations is a material-by-material and product-by-product estimate of MSW generation, recovery, and discards. * TERMS
Municipal solid waste ( MSW) includes wastes such as durable goods, nondurable goods, containers and packaging, food scraps, yard trimmings, and miscellaneous inorganic wastes from residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial sources. Examples of waste from these categories include appliances, automobile tires, newspapers, clothing, boxes, disposable tableware, office and classroom paper, wood pallets, and cafeteria wastes. MSW does not include wastes from other sources, such as construction and demolition debris, automobile bodies, municipal sludges, combustion ash, and industrial process wastes that might also be disposed in municipal waste landfills or incinerators.
Source reduction activities reduce the amount or toxicity of wastes before they enter the municipal solid waste management system (see Generation). Reuse is a source reduction activity involving the recovery or reapplication of a package, used product, or material in a manner that retains its original form or identity. Reuse of products such as refillable glass bottles, reusable plastic food storage containers, or refurbished wood pallets are examples of source reduction. Generation refers to the amount (weight or volume) of materials and products that enter the waste stream before recycling (including composting), landfilling, or combustion takes place.
Recovery of materials means removing MSW from the waste stream for the purpose of recycling (including composting). Recovery for recycling as defined for this report includes purchases of postconsumer recovered materials plus net exports of the materials. Recovery of yard trimmings includes diverting yard trimmings from disposal to a composting facility. For some materials, recovery for uses such as highway construction or insulation is considered recovery along with materials used in remanufacturing processes.
Combustion includes combustion of mixed MSW, fuel prepared from MSW, or a separated component of MSW (such as rubber tires), with or without energy recovery.
Discards include the municipal solid waste remaining after recycling (including composting). These discards are usually combusted or disposed of in landfills, although some MSW is littered, stored, or disposed on site, particularly in rural areas.
These tables are based on figures supplied by the United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce and are subject to revision by the Census Bureau.
Copyright © 2006 Photius Coutsoukis and Information Technology Associates, all rights reserved.