Top 10 Recycling Countries From Around the World


As disappointing as it is, in regards to recycling, the United States does not make the cut. At just a 34 percent success rate, the U.S. sends only 1/3 of its waste into the recycling pool—which is well below many other countries worldwide.

That stat got us thinking: What are the top recycling countries in the world? And, what traits do those successful recycling locations possess?

Austria sits with the highest recycling rate out of any country in the world: 63 percent of all waste is diverted from landfills. As recycling programs have evolved, Austria’s overall performance in terms of municipal solid waste recycling has been stable and at a very high level for the past decade, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).

“Austria has a long tradition of diverting waste from landfills and has a long-established recycling system. Most of the MSW (municipal solid waste) generated in the country is either recycled or incinerated,” as published in the Municipal Waste Management Report released by the EEA.

Furthermore, according to the Austrian constitution, the municipal waste management responsibilities are divided between the federal and the provincial governments. In addition to a handful of federal waste ordinances, a pivotal leg of the waste legislation is the 2002 Act on waste management, which established the bar for the country’s waste management practices.

According to a report compiled by Planet Aid—an organization that unites communities to bring about worldwide environmental and social change—Germany isn’t too far behind Austria. Germany sends 62 percent of its waste through the close-loop process, keeping it from landfills. And, Taiwan is keeping pace, hitting the top margin with a 60 percent success rate of recycling.

However, in an alternative approach, the recycling effort of the Zaballeen people in Cairo, Egypt, reflects even greater success than the aforementioned locations. With a metropolitan comprised of 60,000 people, you may be surprised to discover that the word Zaballeen is Arabic for “garbage people.”

As told in the 2010 documentary, Garbage Dreams, recyclers collect the urban waste and gather income from reusing, sorting, and reselling the articles they collect. The system has no established official or contemporary recycling facilities or sanitation services, yet, 80 percent of everything that is gathered is recycled.

“The Zaballeen have created the world’s most effective resource recovery system…they are actually saving our Earth. From out of the trash, they lifted themselves out of poverty and have a solution to the world’s most pressing crisis,” said Garbage Dreams Director and Producer Mai Iskander, as reported by Tom White for the International Documentary Association.

Likewise setting the recycling bar high—though, comparatively, with an established industry—Brazil recently broke global records for its aluminum recycling.

In 2014, the country recycled 98.4 percent of consumable packaging—and has been the number one recycler of consumer packaging in the world since 2001. In 2014, that high percentage equated to 289,500 tons of aluminum beverage cans out of 294,200 tons that were available in the market.

The country’s effort was linked to the economy—which was in recession—and the high cost of energy. Aluminum recycling requires less energy than producing new aluminum, so the cost-effective model created a natural incentive for the community.

Following Austria, Germany and Taiwan on Planet Aid’s list: another top recycling country is Singapore, sending 59 percent of its trash to be reused and recycled. Next up: South Korea recycles 49 percent of tossed goods. The United Kingdom hits the 39 percent mark with that percentage going into recycling. Lastly, closing out our top ten are Italy – recycling 36 percent of its trash – and France following closely behind with 35 percent.

The aforementioned locations are the top ten recycling countries in the world for varying reasons with their own unique approaches to the processes. As it seems, in order to implement a high success rate for a nationwide recycling program, the community requires one or all of these qualities: organization—be it through legislation, industry, or entrepreneurs—incentive: a personal motive or financial necessity, and cultural habit-building practices.

To learn more about how WIH Resource Group can assist you in recycling, waste management, transportation and business improvement processes, contact us:  WIH Resource Group, Inc

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ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

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5 Ways Business Improvement Process (BIP) Services Can Help Your Business


“Business Improvement Process services can help your company streamline operations and increase its bottom line.  In a highly functional business, everyone – from the janitor to the CEO – work towards common goals.”  – Bob Wallace, President – WIH Resource Group

The purpose of a business improvement process (BIP) strategy is to evaluate and develop processes within a business that boost productivity and maximize profits. Many small to medium-sized businesses often regard them as an unnecessary expense, reserved only for the big corporations; however, every company—regardless of size or turnover—could benefit from making a formal assessment of their operations every once in a while.

If you’re thinking about investing in a process improvement strategy, but aren’t sure whether or not you can afford it, the following benefits may sway you in the right direction.

1 – Identifies Common Problem Areas

No business is perfect. Even Apple, the most valuable brand in the world, could make improvements. Having said that, there’s a reason why they’re at the top of their game: because they’re constantly refining their business model. Tech giants like Apple, Tesla and Microsoft spend phenomenal amounts of money on identifying and rectifying problems in order to streamline their operation. While the costs may seem great, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure.

2 – Improves the Customer Experience

Contrary to popular belief the customer is not always right; however, they always think they’re right. Improving customer experience starts by studying their wants and needs, and then delivering a competitive advantage. Behind every genuine complaint is a broken business process. While polite customer service staff can help, they aren’t always a solution. Sometimes you need to look deeper in order to improve your company’s front-of-house.

3 – Reduces Response Time

When people pay for goods or services they not only expect to get their money’s worth, but also a delivery in a timely fashion. A satisfied customer will come back to you again and again. In fact, most businesses generate around 80 percent of their revenue from repeat business. If you aren’t seeing similar results, something could be wrong. By removing non-value-added tasks and re-structuring your organization, you could dramatically reduce response times without hindering quality. This will give you a major advantage over your competitors.

4 – Improves Asset Productivity

Assets are acquired for one reason only: to produce profits. Whether it’s staff, equipment, facilities, technology or any other form of intellectual property, few managers will measure how well these assets are performing. Process improvement methods for businesses will help you quantify this data in layman’s terms, showcasing what’s working, and most importantly, what’s not working. This information can then be used to implement beneficial changes.

5 – Drives Everyone Towards Common Goals

It’s surprising how many businesses start trading without knowing what they’re actually working towards. In a highly functional business, everybody – from the janitor to the CEO – will work towards common goals. You must define your mission statement in order to succeed. Part of process improvement is about identifying goals and ensuring everybody works towards them,.

At the very heart of it, good business isn’t just about profit margins, it’s also about providing a safe, secure and happy environment for your staff. If you’re eager to make improvements that work for everybody, devising a process improvement strategy could be the fastest and most effective way of generating results.

CLICK HERE to check out WIH Resource Group’s Operational Performance Assessment (OPA) Services to help improve your business operations and financials.

Source: WIH Resource Group

WIH Resource Group’s team of expert witness litigation support professionals have a track record of success. Whether you’re facing a valuation dispute, damage assessment, contract claim, employee matter, safety incident, personal injury, landfill gas issue, or other pending legal action, our experts are ready to assist you.

For more information, visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

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ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

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The Unknown and Unseen Scandal of Hotel Food Waste


Everyone loves a luxury vacation or a fancy hotel buffet, but how are hospitality companies contributing to the global food waste problem? You are about to find out.

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What if every time you sat down for a meal, you threw one-quarter of it in the trash?  That’s the hidden story of waste in the hospitality industry, where an eagerness to please customers has turned into an unseen food scandal.

About 25 per cent of all food that passes through hotel kitchens is thrown out as food waste, and for every diner the hotel serves, about 350 grams is binned, according industry experts Eco-Business spoke to.  Multiply 350g by the hundreds of thousands of hotels and hundreds of rooms, and the figure adds up. For instance, French hotel giant AccorHotels reports that food-related waste makes up half of all trash generated on its properties, though the amount of waste varies according to the type of hotel.

Luxury hotels under its Sofitel and Pullman brands, for instance, churn out 47 tonnes of food waste annually, while mid-range names such as Mercure and Novotel throw away 35 tonnes a year. Economy hotels such as Ibis only produce half that figure, at 17 tonnes a year.

But the waste footprint of a hotel could be much higher depending on its size and the number of food and beverage (F&B) outlets on site, says Benjamin Lephilibert, managing director of hotel food waste consultancy Lightblue Consulting.

“On average we’ve seen hotels waste 35 per cent of all food purchased, with some exceptions like a remote luxury resort in the Maldives, where the figure reaches a stunning 42 per cent,” he says.

The issue of food waste is especially pertinent in the Asia Pacific region, which is home to major food-exporting countries such as the Philippines and China, and is also where most of the world’s 800 million hungry people live. 

It is also the new frontier for the hotel industry as economies such as Myanmar open to tourism. The number of rooms in certain Asian cities could grow as much as 30 per cent in the next few years, according to real estate firm JLL.

But increasing consumer awareness around sustainable travel means customers are showing a preference for hotels that can prove their environmental credentials—65 per cent of travellers, to be more precise, reports a study by travel booking portal Booking.com.

Eat till you drop

The biggest amount of food wastage occurs due to overproduction in the kitchens, notes Maxime Pourrat, the Singapore-based managing director of food waste prevention firm Winnow Solutions’ Asian operations.

Pointing out that buffets are more popular in Asia than in Europe, he says: “In Singapore for example, we love buffets, but we want buffets that look like there’s a lot of food there, and most of this will go to the bin.”

“Some food will be reused [through donations or as raw materials for other dishes], but that’s still overproduction.”

The dinner buffet at Edge, the all-day dining restaurant at Pan Pacific Singapore, is refreshed every two hours to cater to the continuous stream of customers.  Singapore’s National Environment Agency regulations stipulate that food cannot be kept on hold for more than four hours at a certain temperature, says Michele Greggio, executive chef of Pan Pacific Singapore. “But to be safer and ensure we are providing the freshest food possible, we have a two-hour standard, which is in the middle of service.”  The most popular of the hotel’s eight eateries, the Edge restaurant—together with the hotel’s staff canteen—generates 400kg of food waste every month.

Greggio says that chefs at the hotel prepare the amount of food to be served during each meal based on the expected number of guests, which is inferred from reservations and registrations. Kitchen staff also record the amount of leftovers to better anticipate future demand.

However, buffets are good for feeding a large group of people at the same time, though the downside is the amount of food that ends up in the trash, notes Lucas Glanville, director of culinary operations at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.

His guiding principle to running a buffet is to do as one would at home: cooking right when the food is needed. The equivalent in a hotel restaurant setting is cooking dishes at live stations upon request, or a la minute.

“If you go to any of our restaurants, you’ll see small portions of food cooked to order,” he tells Eco-Business.

The five-star hotel has cut its food waste output from 1000kg two years ago to 800kg today by monitoring its waste generation, communicating with staff, and ensuring proper food storage.

By slashing its food waste, the hotel reports that it has achieved S$100,000 in savings per year.

Lightblue Consulting’s Lephilibert says that reducing food waste can result in a reduction of between 3 and 5 per cent in annual food purchasing costs. This in turn translates into savings of US$50,000 (S$67,603) for small three-star hotels serving 15,000-20,000 covers per month, to over US$300,000 (S$405,623) in international brand five-star properties.

Crunching numbers

One major issue in tackling hotel food waste is to get hotel employees to see the value of the food they are tossing out, says Winnow’s Pourrat, adding that people are quite good about reducing their waste once they have the data.

The company installs weighing scales and software in restaurant kitchenshotel staff can then use these to weigh and record the amount and type of food they are throwing away, and the software displays the corresponding carbon emissions and cost price of the food. The data is collected and eventually sent to the hotel’s managers or chefs.

“What gets measured, gets managed. That’s why there’s a reduction in food waste,” he adds.

After trialling Winnow’s solution, AccorHotels this year announced a goal to reduce food waste by 30 per cent across its international portfolio of 4,200 properties by 2020, says Lynn Lee, sustainable development and communications director, Asia Pacific, AccorHotels.

“The results from our pilot programme with Winnow reflected that the food waste reduction had been more than 30 per cent, therefore the group felt that an average reduction of 30 per cent is achievable,” Lee says.

AccorHotels this year began offering its hotels a choice between adopting Winnow’s software-based monitoring system and an in-house programme for properties that are more advanced in the food waste reduction journey, launched in July.

The hotel group has also committed to installing 1,000 urban vegetable gardens by 2020, like the one at the Pullman and Novotel hotels in New Delhi Aerocity.

Another way to repurpose food waste are biodigesters; these are machines that convert food scraps and leftovers into fertilisers or organic wastewater that can be discharged harmlessly into the sewage system.

Hyatt already has a digester and uses its byproducts in its rooftop vegetable garden, while Pan Pacific Singapore plans to install one in the first quarter of 2018.

Biodigesters are the fourth best option according to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Hierarchy, but have the benefit of reducing the overall carbon footprint associated with transport and disposal”, says Lephilibert. A better option is donate food that is still edible to local charities, he adds.

According to hospitality sustainability consultancy Greenview’s Green Lodging Trends Report, 47.4 per cent of hotels in Asia Pacific donate excess food, higher than other regions. The report also found that 41 per cent of hotels in Asia Pacific say they compost food waste within their premises or externally, while 12 per cent have a digester.

Grand Hyatt’s Glanville says, when asked what his advice was for hotels still on the fence about food waste: “Make a decision—are you part of the problem or the solution?”

“As an industry, it’s not just about producing delicious food and having amazing service. Just as we’re accountable for producing an enjoyable experience for guests, we’re also accountable for what happens afterwards.”

Source: Eco-Business & WIH Resource Group

WIH Resource Group’s team of expert witness litigation support professionals have a track record of success. Whether you’re facing a valuation dispute, damage assessment, contract claim, employee matter, safety incident, personal injury, landfill gas issue, or other pending legal action, our experts are ready to assist you.

For more information, visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

Visit our new website!   www.wihresourcegroup.com

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ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

WIH Website logo

More information on WIH Resource Group and its services can be found at www.wihrg.com.

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Landfill Mining: Current Trends


Landfill mining is a term used to describe a process whereby landfilled solid waste is excavated and processed for beneficial purposes.

The beneficial purposes can include recovery of recyclable materials, recovery of soils for use as daily or intermediate cover in active landfills, or recovery of land area for redevelopment. As urban sprawl has continued in many metropolitan areas, landfills—which previously were located in areas relatively distant from the population centers—are less so, and the value of those properties for redevelopment have increased.

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In the US, however, the term “landfill mining” has increasingly become a misnomer, as the primary driver has been to reclaim the old footprint and develop it to meet current Subtitle C regulations (i.e., typically at a minimum installing a bottom-lining system with leachate controls) and gain valuable additional airspace for active waste filling. The reclamation of recyclable materials—like plastics, metals, and glass, and plastics and paper for energy recovery—are secondary and do not typically justify the total cost to reclaim them with natural gas energy, both abundant and relatively “cheap.”

As pointed out in the recent International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) publication on landfill mining, the concept of mining landfills is not new. Some 60 examples have been cited in solid waste literature since the first reported project in Israel in the 1950s. Landfill mining is a practice not unique to any particular country or even region. The practice has both advantages and disadvantages, which are summarized in Table 1.

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Planning Aspects
An overview of the entire landfill mining process is helpful to be able to properly plan all of the parts of the process and have contingency plans ready if something does not go according to plan. Table 2 presents a summary overview of the overall aspects to consider on a mining project.

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What About Recyclables?
Some landfill owners have opted to separate and sell recyclables obtained from a reclamation project; however, the value of these materials is elusive. Cal Recovery, Hercules, CA, conducted a study for EPA of the Collier County, FL, landfill mining demonstration process in 1993, and concluded that plastic and metal were the only viable recyclables, but were not of acceptable quality for the resale market. They indicated that the actual “cost” of mining and separating the recyclables was about $115 per ton. Extrapolating that cost to today’s dollars would cost approximately $250 per ton. This cost is high, relative to the price being paid for recyclables as discussed in the section on benefit-cost.

Construction Timeframe
Basic landfill mining equipment may include the following:

  • Waste excavation: hydraulic excavators (backhoes)
  • Waste screening (large objects): grizzly screen
  • Waste screening (smaller objects): trommel screen
  • Screen feed: front-end loader
  • Waste hauling: dump trucks

The production of a landfill mining operation is mainly dependent on the size and number of pieces of equipment deployed, the types of soils used during landfill operations (e.g., sandy versus clayey materials), the types of waste disposed, weather conditions, liquid levels in the landfill, and gas emissions. More equipment means more production, but more equipment also means additional capital costs.

Certain types of waste are more difficult to excavate and process than others, which can slow productivity. High liquid levels and highly saturated wastes require additional steps to excavate and process, which, again, slows production. Inclement weather is a less controllable factor; however, the timing of major excavation efforts can be scheduled to take advantage of seasons with less inclement weather. Lastly, health and safety issues associated with gas emissions such as combustible gases, odorous gases, and such must be considered and can negatively impact surrounding properties if not controlled properly, ultimately impacting the excavation and processing activities.

Equipment involved in the waste excavation activities typically limits the actual capacity of an operation. This equipment is involved in excavating compacted waste, loading trucks, and moving as the excavation progresses. The other machines in a landfill mining operation, such as shredders, screens, magnets, and conveyors are generally static (i.e., they are not moved for periods of time), and are processing materials that have had some loosening and separation, and are for one function only, so their capacity usually does not limit the operation.

If you are considering implementing a landfill mining project, you should be realistic about the time it will take to complete the project. This timeline needs to coordinated with the overall landfilling activities of a site, assuming it’s an active landfill, and remaining site life calculations. A mining project and the necessity to dispose of much of the excavated materials back into the new landfill can temporarily increase the landfill tonnage by up to 80% over your normal throughput, if everything except the cover soils are put back in the landfill.

Take for example, an old landfill 40 feet high with a base dimension of 800 feet long by 500 feet wide, about a 9-acre footprint. That landfill will contain approximately 383,000 cubic yards of material. Working with three large bucket excavators (total bucket capacity 36 cubic feet), it would take at least a year, or more, to complete excavating, working nine hours a day, 6 days a week, without bad weather delay.

The most efficient approach is to stockpile recovered soils near or with other onsite cover stockpiles in order to handle the materials only once. However, this approach may not always be feasible. If that is the case, all of the mined soil may have to be temporarily stockpiled separately. Soils can make up to 40% of the materials mined from old landfills. In our previous example, that would amount to approximately 153,000 cubic yards of soil, which would be equivalent to a 4-acre stockpile area 40 feet high.

Benefit–Cost Assessment

A benefit–cost assessment should be conducted to justify pursuing a landfill mining project. One way to approach a benefit–cost assessment is to compare the estimated cost of mining the landfill cell against the value of the “new” airspace that created by mining and used for future landfilling (Table 3), or the value of the reclaimed property. We typically would not include the value of any separated recyclables, because the value of these recovered materials generally is inconsequential.

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Table 2 summarizes a simple cost analysis for an example landfill mining project at an active landfill based on the following assumptions:

  • Landfill cell volume = 383,000 yd³.
  • Volume of reclaimed soil = 20% of volume, and it will be reused as cover soil in the active landfill.
  • Remaining materials excavated = 42%, and is disposed in adjacent active landfill.

If we further assume that the landfill is reclaimed at an average cost of $4 per cubic yard, then the reclamation cost (383,000 yd³ x $4 per cubic yard) is equal to $1,532,000. Clearly, in this example, the reclamation benefit far outweighs the cost. If cover soil has to be purchased from an outside source, there could be another savings benefit by reusing the recovered soil. At higher tipping fees, the benefit gets even better.

Looking again at the potential value of recyclables, in this case plastics, the market price paid for plastics is down. If the plastics were of a quality to be acceptable on the market, at a price of 12 cents per pound, the value of the recyclable plastic is $240 per ton. Contrasting that to $250 per ton for mining and separation extrapolated from the Collier County study, plastic reclamation would not provide any significant monetary benefit.

Case Studies
Perdido Landfill
A pilot study was performed in 2008 that involved the excavation of 2.5 acres of an unlined cell at the Perdido Landfill in Escambia County. The main goal of the project was to acquire air space for future disposal.

Excavated waste was processed the following ways:

  • separating the waste with a shaker screen following shredding,
  • utilizing a shaker screen without shredding, and
  • using a trommel screen for screening.

After field testing was conducted, it was found that the trommel screen proved to be the most effective at separating the waste from the cover soil, with waste shredding being the most time consuming of the three.

Soil constituted approximately 70% of the unlined cell. This recovered soil was stock piled at the site to be used at a later date for cover material. The excavated refuse was returned to the landfill for disposal. In regard to cost benefit analysis, the project proved to be worth the investment. The value of the acquired airspace outweighed the mining costs themselves. The total cost of mining was $8.60 per yard with a total of 54,000 cubic yards being excavated, 38,000 cubic yards of which was reusable cover soil.

Naples Landfill
The Collier County Solid Waste Management Department was involved in managing and performing a landfill mining project at the Naples Landfill in 1986. This was one of the first landfill recovery projects to occur in the US. No federal or state regulations regarding landfill mining were in place when the project began. At the time, the site was an unlined 33-acre MSW facility.

The three main goals of the project were to: (1) determine if an alternative method to traditional landfill closure was available and more economically feasible, (2) develop a low-cost system to separate the waste, and (3) provide performance data for this system to assist with optimizing the design of said waste processing system. However, the main underlying premise of the project was to reuse the soil portion within the waste mass since cover soil was relatively expensive and limited in the area. At the completion of the project, the site had successfully mined 5 acres of waste and was able to utilize the recovered material for cover, as it showed high levels of decomposition.

In total, 292 tons of waste were processed, with 171 of those tons reusable as cover soil. The waste was excavated at a cost of approximately $115 per ton. In regard to funding, the project received the “Innovations” award from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; therefore, much of the project cost was covered by the award funds. The total cost to the County for this project was only $40,000. Without the award funding, a similar project is estimated to have a total cost of $1.2 million.

Frey Farm Landfill
In 1990, a municipal solid waste combustor (MWC) was constructed by the Lancaster County Solid Waste Authority in Lancaster, PA. The WTE facility had available capacity when built, which was filled through landfill mining and then spot waste until Lancaster County grew into the plant’s full capacity. Since the waste in the lined landfill was less than five years old, a landfill mining project was a viable option for them. The facility was to utilize a mixture of new waste and reclaimed waste from the landfill as its augmented MWC input stream.

The waste was excavated from the landfill and processed using a 1-inch trommel screen. Approximately 56% of the excavated material from the landfill was acceptable for intake at the MWC, with 41% being composed of soil. Only 3% of the total excavated material was neither combustible nor able to be used as cover soil at the landfill, and had to be returned back into the landfill for disposal.

In order for the input wastestream of the MWC to achieve the necessary energy value, it had to be composed of 75% new waste and 25% reclaimed mined waste. While the project itself was cash flow neutral (revenue gains versus expenditures), it resulted in added value of reusing dirt for cover and reusing the cubic yard landfill space a second time. Once those assets were factored in, the overall gain was positive $13.30 for every ton of material excavation.

Lessons Learned
Some of the lessons learned over the last few decades from landfill mining in the United States include:

  • Personnel and equipment typically assigned to normal landfill operations generally have the skills and capabilities to perform landfill mining activities, assuming they are available, but if not, these activities can be contracted out to experienced contractors.
  • If there is soil and groundwater contamination under the landfill, sufficient time should be allocated in the schedule to remediate the area, preferably before re-lining and filling of waste.
  • The quality of recyclables in old landfills (say something more than 10 years old) is questionable for sale in the marketplace. Unless there are extenuating circumstances (i.e., like those of the Frey Farm mining project), the cost of separating recyclables will likely be higher than the potential revenue from the marketplace.
  • One needs to be realistic and conservative about the timeframe needed to mine an old landfill. Contingency delays for bad or seasonal weather, equipment breakage, or uncovering hazardous materials should be included in the schedule.
  • There are many good case histories of landfill mining in the US that can be reviewed to become familiar with many of the variables that were encountered, costs, equipment, and how well the particular project went.

References
Cobb, Curtis E. and Konrad Ruckstuhl.

SPM Group, Inc. Mining and Reclaiming Existing Sanitary Landfills. Aurora, CO.

Fisher, Harvey and David Findlay 1995. “Exploring the Economics of Mining Landfills.” Waste 360, July 1995.

Innovative Waste Consulting Services LLC. Landfill Reclamation Demonstration Project, June 2009.

International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) 2013. Landfill Mining, prepared by the Landfill Working Group.

USEPA. Solid Waste and Emergency Response. EPA530-F-97-001, July 1997.

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Contact WIH Resource Group
For more information, Visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

Visit our new website!   www.wihresourcegroup.com

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ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

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Land of Waste – American Landfills & Waste Generation


The average American tosses 4.4 pounds of trash every single day. It may not seem all that astonishing on the surface, but with 323.7 million people living in the United States, that is roughly 728,000 tons of daily garbage – enough to fill 63,000 garbage trucks.

That is 22 billion plastic bottles every year. Enough office paper to construct a 12-foot-high wall from Los Angeles to Manhattan. It is 300 laps around the equator in paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons. It is 500 disposable cups per average American worker – cups that will still be sitting in the landfill five centuries from now.

Approximately half of the 254 million tons of yearly waste will meet its fate in one of the more than 2,000 active landfills across the country – and you probably live, work or socialize closer to one than you may think.

How Close Is Too Close? 

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Click HERE to find out!

The easiest way to know you’re living near a landfill is by smelling it, right? Wrong.

The easiest way to know you’re living near a landfill is by smelling it, right? Wrong.

The United States is home to thousands of inactive landfills – and some have found new life and purpose as public parks.

But most are out of sight, out of mind. The West Coast is practically overflowing with landfills: There are a dozen in the Los Angeles area alone, though most are now closed. New Yorkers hailing from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens have no problem beating up on Staten Island, a borough practically built on top of what used to be the world’s largest garbage dump.

Even the Sunshine State isn’t immune to taking some of the load. Landfills linger in the heart of Miami and West Palm Beach, though they pale in comparison to the dump deluge in Tennessee and the Carolinas.

A Tale of Thousands of Dumps

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Landfills have a long and relatively unsorted history. Before the first municipal dumps appeared on the map in the 20th century, humans either burned their garbage or buried it on the outskirts of town to avoid disease. The circa 1937 Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill is considered the first modern, sanitary landfill of its kind, and future landfills followed suit.

At first, they weren’t much more than man-made craters in the earth – a dramatic step up from the first municipal dump established in ancient Athens but still pretty crude. They were environmental disasters, leaching contaminated liquid into the soil and groundwater, and releasing overwhelming amounts of methane into the air.

The 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act changed all of that. The law requires landfills to be lined with plastic, clay or both, effectively killing the old idea of a “dump,” or those old-school craters.

The Landfill Evolution

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Over the last hundred years, the number of dumps and landfills has dramatically increased across the country – as seen in the time lapse above – to accommodate the growing population’s garbage disposal needs.

That’s a Ton of Trash

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Las Vegas may be the city of sin, but its home state Nevada is the land of garbage, with a whopping 38.4 tons of waste per person in its landfills.

Idaho, North Dakota, and Connecticut are the only three states in the country with less than 10 tons of landfill waste per person – putting Pennsylvania, Colorado, and California to shame, with their average of 35 tons of landfill garbage per person.

That’s not to say that these state residents are necessarily producing all of this landfill waste themselves. The trash trade is a $4 billion industry, and many state landfills are only too happy to take garbage from other states.

Transport fees are cheapest in the South and Midwest – as low as $19 per ton in states like Alabama. Ohio, for example, is famous for accepting as much as 3.4 million tons of out-of-state waste per year, to the tune of $35 per ton. The most offensive giver of trash was New York, accounting for nearly 32 percent of Ohio’s out-of-state total, with New Jersey not far behind.

Landfill Gases, a Top Concern

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Landfill gas is a dangerous, virtually invisible concoction generated in the most natural way possible: the bacterial decomposition of organic material. The result is half methane and half carbon dioxide and water vapor, with trace amounts of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and nonmethane organic compounds, or NMOCs, which can cause smog if uncontrolled.

In the past, environmentalists have been more concerned by carbon dioxide emissions, but now, they are worrying about methane. Even though methane doesn’t linger as long as carbon dioxide, it is far more effective at absorbing the sun’s heat and contributing to global warming. For the first 20 years after it meets the atmosphere, methane is 84 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The population-heavy states of California and Texas are currently facing the greatest problem with landfill-produced methane, but the repercussions of this problem could eventually affect the entire world.

Visualize Your Garbage

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It can be hard to wrap our minds around the impact of our waste in terms of landfill gas and metrics that stretch into the billions. So let’s scale it down.

Your 4.4 pounds of daily trash is approximately the weight of a modest-sized pumpkin that you would carve on Halloween. Add up all those “pumpkins” over the seasons and they come in at 1,606 pounds – or the size of your average cow. But if you pack that trash into cubed feet, you’re looking at the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The waste tally for a family of four is even grimmer. That yearly haul weighs as much as an Asian elephant and stacks up to the height of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Think that’s bad? The annual weight of trash for the entire country equals 254 million tons, or 1.2 million blue whales, and would reach the moon and back 25 times, a journey of 11,534,090 miles.

Not all hope is lost, though. Keep reading to learn about how you can cut back on your waste.

Going Green

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Now, more than ever, Americans are hopping on the recycling bandwagon. Last year marked the all-time high for recycling: 34.3 percent of our garbage, or 87.2 million tons, could have ended up in a landfill but didn’t. Bravo, America!

But though recycling has increased in recent years, so has trash generation. More than 60 million plastic bottles still find their way to landfills and incinerators on a daily basis. Six times as many water bottles were thrown away in 2004 than in 1997.

Clearly, there is still work to be done. And you can make a difference.

Conclusion

Whether we are a running out of landfill space in America is a hotly debated topic, but that doesn’t mean we should produce garbage like there is no tomorrow. Here are some tips to help reduce your personal waste:

  • Bring reusable bags when you go shopping, and choose reusable containers for packing meals.
  • Buy in bulk whenever possible. Beware of double packing – or individually wrapped items that are repackaged and sold as bulk.
  • Compost your food scraps and yard waste whenever possible.
  • Cut back on junk mail – you receive more than 30 pounds of it per year.

Methodology

We analyzed the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data on landfills to determine the per capita waste in tons for each state. We also looked at the total sum of landfill gasses by state. For the graphic titled “Visualizing the Impact of Our Waste,” we used the EPA’s average estimate of 4.4 pounds of trash produced per person per day to calculate the yearly waste average per person, per family of four, and for the entire United States.

To calculate the height of the waste tallies, we assumed that loose residential waste weighs 225 pounds per cubic yard, and converted this to square footage. To compare these heights and weights with real world animals and objects, we used http://www.bluebulbprojects.com/measureofthings/.

Sources

Fair Use

You can share the images on this page freely. But please give credit to the authors by linking back to this page, so your readers can learn more about this project and the related research.

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For more information, Visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

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ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

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More information on WIH Resource Group and its services can be found at www.wihrg.com.

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The Past, Present and Future of Recycling


The Past – We’ve Come a Long Way!

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Recycling has come a long way over the past few decades – in the US there wasn’t a single recycling program in place until 1973 (in The Hidden Past of Recycling you’ll read that the concept of recycling was widely used in the past, however only privately or individually). Now, there are over 8,000 programs in operation. The first ever curbside recycling program in Canada began in 1973, the program initially served 80,000 homes in the Toronto area and eventually curbside programs and recycling centers were all over the country.

While we’ve come a long way since the explosion of the environmental movement in the 1970s, our recycling programs still have a long way to go as a collective group. Keep reading and you’ll see how we currently reduce our waste today and how we can improve our recycling habits in the future.

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The Present – Strategies for Zero Waste

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Currently the US recycles about one third of the municipal trash (waste generated in homes, schools and non-industrial businesses) and Canada recycles about 21 percent of what would otherwise end up in the solid waste stream. Here are some strategies you can do today that will immediately increase how much you recycle:

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Closing the Recycling Loop

Separating your trash from your recyclables is only one step in the recycling loop – in order to close the gap, manufacturers need to start making more products out of recycled material and consumers need to focus on buying these products. Creating merchandise from scratch is often very harsh and damaging to the environment, the more life that we can get out of a product made from post-consumer recycled content, the better!

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Compost, Compost, Compost!

The amount of organic waste that ends up in landfill or burned in an incinerator is a little alarming – 60 percent of household waste in the US is compostable but only 8 percent of Americans compost. Canada has done a fairly good job on the composting front – as of 2011, over half of Canadian households (61%) had participated in some form of composting. If you have a green thumb, composting is the way to go – you’ll never have a better looking garden in the summer!

And if you’re an enthusiastic early adapter to up-and-coming composting trends, be sure to take a look at The Humanure System, which you can guess from the name, involves recycling your poop—and no, it’s obviously not for everyone…

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Keep the Garbage Bucket as Empty as Possible

Recycling and composting are great ways to keep what’s going in the garbage to a minimum, but there are more ways to stem the garbage cans’ burly appetite. Pre-Cycling is a great way to reduce how much trash your house is sending to the curb – buying in bulk to reduce packaging, using reusable bags, having a refillable water bottle or coffee mug – these are just a few examples of how you can pre-cycle..

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The Future – Strategies to Boost Recycling Rates

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While recycling has increased in North America, the amount of trash produced has increased as well. The amount of material recycled today equals the total amount of trash produced in 1960. While recycling programs are a continuing success, experts say in future we should focus on limiting the amount of trash we produce to begin with, doing so will help lower the amount of greenhouse gasses being released into the air.

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Updated and Expended Bottle Bills

Having a bottle bill in place is a very effective way to get people recycling. A bottle bill (or container deposit law), requires a refundable deposit on beverage containers ensuring they are returned for recycling. Ideally, every state should have a container deposit law, but unfortunately only 10 states have a bottle bill in place – many of which don’t include plastic bottles. If more states could enact and expand these laws, the amount of plastics ending up in landfills would drop drastically.

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Manage Electronic Waste

Technology is always changing, and with the explosion of smartphones, tablets and laptops over the past decade, it has meant an increase in the amount of electronic waste that is being produced. In 2011, the US generated 3.41 million tons of e-waste, of which only 850,000 tons were recycled – the rest ended up in landfills or incinerators, the toxic chemicals that electronic components are made from end up seeping into our soil or up in the atmosphere. Businesses that sell electronics are beginning to take responsibility for the amount of e-waste produced, offering trade in programs allowing them to recycle unwanted gadgets – some even give you some money back!

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Stop Using Plastic Bags

This ties back to pre-cycling, but the numbers on how much plastic bags are thrown out versus how many are recycled warrant its own section – 380 billion plastic bags are used a year in the US alone and less than 5 percent are recycled! Plastic made with PET (polyethylene terephthalate, in case you were wondering why we needed an acronym for it) do not biodegrade, they do break down in UV light (photo-degradation), but that can take 10-100 years. That’s if exposed to sunlight, and since most garbage is buried at a landfill, the whole process takes even longer.

Currently, less than 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled each year. Recycling one ton of plastic bags costs $4,000—the recycled product can then be sold for only $32. We don’t claim to be the best mathematicians in the world, but we’re fairly confident we wouldn’t want to enter into the business of recycling plastic bags for profit.

Efforts are being done all over to get people to ditch the plastic bags, supermarkets offer reusable cloth bags and now charge you for plastic bags, and San Francisco has even flat out banned the distribution of plastic bags in the city. Fingers crossed that these measures are the beginning of the end of the dreaded plastic bag.

This should most certainly be enough information to get your started on your way to recycling stardom. Stay tuned and we’ll fill you in on the sensible, not-so-sensible and downright strange recycling trends that you’ll start to see in the coming years—including, of course, recycling your #1’s and 2’s.

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Matt Bradbury

Written by Matt Bradbury – Sustainability Research Analyst

Information provided to you by WIH Resource Group, Inc

Contact WIH Resource Group
For more information, Visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

Visit our new website!   www.wihresourcegroup.com

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ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

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More information on WIH Resource Group and its services can be found at www.wihrg.com.

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The Story of the Fourth of July


We celebrate American Independence Day on the Fourth of July every year. We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

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But July 4, 1776 wasn’t the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776).

It wasn’t the day we started the American Revolution either (that had happened back in April 1775).

And it wasn’t the day Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence (that was in June 1776). Or the date on which the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (that didn’t happen until November 1776). Or the date it was signed (that was August 2, 1776).

So what did happen on July 4, 1776?

The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They’d been working on it for a couple of days after the draft was submitted on July 2nd and finally agreed on all of the edits and changes.

July 4, 1776, became the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence, and the fancy handwritten copy that was signed in August (the copy now displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.) It’s also the date that was printed on the Dunlap Broadsides, the original printed copies of the Declaration that were circulated throughout the new nation. So when people thought of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 was the date they remembered.

In contrast, we celebrate Constitution Day on September 17th of each year, the anniversary of the date the Constitution was signed, not the anniversary of the date it was approved. If we’d followed this same approach for the Declaration of Independence we’d being celebrating Independence Day on August 2nd of each year, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed!

How did the Fourth of July become a national holiday?For the first 15 or 20 years after the Declaration was written, people didn’t celebrate it much on any date. It was too new and too much else was happening in the young nation. By the 1790s, a time of bitter partisan conflicts, the Declaration had become controversial. One party, the Democratic-Republicans, admired Jefferson and the Declaration. But the other party, the Federalists, thought the Declaration was too French and too anti-British, which went against their current policies.

By 1817, John Adams complained in a letter that America seemed uninterested in its past. But that would soon change.

After the War of 1812, the Federalist party began to come apart and the new parties of the 1820s and 1830s all considered themselves inheritors of Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. Printed copies of the Declaration began to circulate again, all with the date July 4, 1776, listed at the top. The deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on July 4, 1826, may even have helped to promote the idea of July 4 as an important date to be celebrated.

Celebrations of the Fourth of July became more common as the years went on and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941.

Regardless, Happy Independence Day America from your friends at WIH Resource Group !!!

U.S. Pocket Constitution Book To learn more about the Constitution — the people, the events, the landmark cases — order a copy of “The U.S. Constitution & Fascinating Facts About It” today!  Call to order: 1-800-887-6661 or order pocket constitution books online.
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Contact WIH Resource Group
For more information, Visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

Visit our new website!   www.wihresourcegroup.com

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ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

WIH Website logo

More information on WIH Resource Group and its services can be found at www.wihrg.com.

Click on an image below to take you to WIH’s other sites!