Waste: A Hidden Resource

Ordering Information: single copies available @. $40.OO each Multiples of copies available with training To order Waste: A Hidden Resource (221 pages) write or call:
Keep America Beautiful, Inc.
1010 Washington Boulevard
Street Stamford, CT 06902
Phone: (203) 323-8987 Fax: (203) 325-9199

You may also visit the Keep America Beautiful website at http://www.kab.org

A MESSAGE FROM KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL, INC. Waste: A Hidden Resource is the official secondary education curriculum of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. (KAB). KAB is a nonprofit, public education organization dedicated to improving waste handling practices in American communities. The original edition of this curriculum was published by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Western Kentucky University (WKU). The current edition is the result of extensive field testing and technical update of all of the lessons. The update was made possible by funding from WMX Technologies, Inc. It is our hope that the work of over 156 teachers across the country has made this the most up-to-date and "teacher friendly" curriculum we could provide. KAB promotes an integrated approach to solid waste management. In other words, recycling, waste-to-energy, sanitary landfills, etc., are all options in our handling of municipal solid waste. No one method of dealing with solid waste offers a solution to all of the challenges this waste presents us. It is the goal of this curriculum to make students more aware of the sources of municipal waste, the characteristics of this waste, and the various options for handling it. This curriculum is not designed to be presented as a separate unit or "something extra you have to teach." The lessons are designed to fit into various subjects already taught in a secondary curriculum. The guide is divided into five major sections. The Overviews provide general background information on municipal solid waste and hazardous waste. Section I presents lessons on solid waste issues. Section II deals with possible solutions to these issues. Both sections I and II are divided into two subsections: municipal solid waste and hazardous waste. Section III contains enrichment activities including simulations, games, and creative arts projects. Section IV, the final section of the guide, is the Glossary. The lessons in this curriculum need not be presented sequentially. Many of the lessons can be presented as free-standing activities. Each lesson, as presented in this guide, begins with an informational box detailing the appropriate subject area, time needed to prepare and present the lesson, key vocabulary and a listing of the necessary materials. The lesson format provides the teacher first with the concepts presented and objectives of each lesson. This is followed by background information for the teacher. The procedure for each lesson is then broken down into steps. Each lesson contains suggestions for possible extensions and means of evaluating student mastery of the concepts presented. Since its founding in 1953, KAB has promoted the development of responsible attitudes and behavior towards the environment. We hope that the "new and improved" version of Waste: A Hidden Resource will help you and your students develop just such attitudes and behaviors.

Roger W. Powers


Keep America Beautiful, Inc.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Sue Smith, Director Michelle Racich, Project Coordinator and Editor Salim Diab,Technical Advisor and Consultant Linda Doyle, Special Revisions Team Kathleen Dunne, Special Revisions Team Kathleen Dunne, Special Revisions Team Jeannette Spreitzer, Special Revisions Team Very special thanks are extended to the following teachers, from 22 states, who reviewed and/or field tested this revision of Waste: A Hidden Resource: Mary Orr Alcock Harvey Anderson Billie Anthony Jayne Anthony Paula Bachman-William Kim Baker Anthony Ballou Linda Barajas Maureen Barnwell Mary Barrett Robert Bartelma Martha Bean Kevin Beck Chris Beimborn Tom Benjamin Dan Bernard Ann Bernhard Peggy Bittick Linda Blake Henry Bouchelle Gail Branch Lynn Breckenfelder Margaret Ann Brown Sue Ellen Browning Lea Brulc Tom Carson Jimmie Ruth Caughron Rata Clark Richard Clift Carol Colby Ann Connolly Diane Cosentino Carol Crosby Deborah Davis Salim Diab Colleen Dillon Christine Dixon Gloria Dobry Linda Doyle Julie Duncan Katie Dunne Alta Dunst Cynthia Louden Duportt Dorothy Dygos Ken Dymond Kristine Emerson Kathy Farr-Addington Susan Kay Fisher Jack Flammang Margaret Fletcher Margaret Ford Dale Freeland Shari Gaddy Neal Garner Ramona Gestland Tish Glover Tim Golden Joan Goliak Alma Gonzalez Ivy Gordon George H. Gould Debbie Grammer Gary Grammer Rita Hagevik Cecelia Helwani Alice Hendricks Steven Hobus Vivian Hoette Ernestine Hogan Timothy Holt Jenni Hood Liz Hughes Robin Hunt Becky Ingalls Ann Jackson Brenda Jarrett Sarah Johnson Hellen Jones Jeanie Jones Barbara Jones-Cruter Thomas Kelly Lillie King Kevan Kiser-Chuc Judy Klippel Charles Kobliska Margo Kuisis Brenda Kurns Rebecca Landers Jim Landon Edith Lane Jane LeCapitaine Connie Lindholm Geri Lobello Christine Longe Dennis Mann James Mathers Juanita Matkins Kathleen McCawley Willie Mae McCloud Ellen McCullough James McGahan LoRei McKinney Sandra Melchert Nancy Mercer Anne Merriweather Sara Messersmith Robert Midland Lynete Miller Lynette Miller Mary Minnix Richard Mitchell Denise Montgomery Cindy Moon Lupita Muniz Tammy Norman Jennifer Orenic Natalie Paalu Stephanie Padden Chris Peppers Dian Perkins Mark Peyton Dan Pokora Jane Polson Karla Price Margaret Protzmann Lee Rank Hermina Reyes Trixie Schmidt Kent Smith Jeannette Spreitzer Margaret Stager Cheryl Stanco Amelia Stanelle Rich Stanton Jim Stapleton Al Stenstrup Rich Stetson Isabel Stiber Joel Stone Susan Stone Janet Struble Ellen Sweeney Mary Toneff Jacqueline Townsend Diane Vidmar Nae Carter Washington Claudette Watson Andrew Webb Vera Webb Darlene Wheeler Jean Wilson Marcia Woodroffe Amy Young Lynn Young Sue Young Walter Zaida Additional technical reviews by:

Thank you to the staff support at:


Environmental Protection Agency Tennesse Valley Authority

Amoco Chemical company, Responsible Care

This revision underwritten by:

WMX Technologies, Inc.

Waste: A Hidden Resource ACTIVITIES BY SUBJECT



SCIENCE (General):

SCIENCE (Biology):

SCIENCE (Chemistry):



*lesson encompasses more than one subject area

TABLE OF CONTENTS OVERVIEW OF MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE.............................................................. i OVERVIEW OF HAZARDOUS WASTE................................................................... xxi


A. Municipal Solid Waste

2. WHAT SIZE LANDFILL? (COMPUTING SIZE AND COST).................................3
4. CAN THIS LAST FOREVER? (NATURAL RESOURCE CONSUMPTION)......................................................................................................... 9
5. DOUBLE TIME (CONSERVING NATURAL RESOURCES).................................15

B. Hazardous Waste

9. READ THE LABEL (INVESTIGATING PESTICIDES)............................................33
10. HIDE AND SEEK (COMMUNITY HAZARDOUS WASTE).................................43
11. IN MY BACK YARD? (HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL)...............................47
12. DEATH OF A LAKE (ACID PRECIPITATION)....................................................51
13. A SOLID SURVEY (HOUSEHOLD WASTE SURVEY)........................................59


A. Municipal Solid Waste

14. NATURALLY (WASTE DISPOSAL ISSUES AND OPTIONS)............................63
17. GARBAGE SALAD (SOLID WASTE STREAM)....................................................85
18. DESIGNERS FILTERS (WASTEWATER FILTER SYSTEM)................................91
l9. INPUT/OUTPUT (COMMUNITY WASTE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES).................................................................................................................99
20. PICK UP AND DELIVER (COST OF DISPOSAL)..............................................107
21. WE CAN (RECYCLING ALUMINUM)................................................................111
22. BUY-PRODUCTS (REAL COST OF MANUFACTURING)................................113

B. Hazardous Waste

25. ROLL OUT THE BARRELS (GOVERNMENT AGENCIES)...............................135
26. PLASTIC RECYCLING BY THE NUMBERS (PLASTIC IDENTIFICATION).....................................................................................................139
27. SIGNS OF THE TIMES (HAZARDOUS PRODUCT SYMBOLS).......................145
28. CREATIVE CONSERVATION (CREATIVE WRITING).....................................153

B. Simulations

29. WHAT'S GOING ON DOWN THERE? (SANITARY LANDFILL RUNOFF)....................................................................................................................157
30. CITY WATER (MUNICIPAL WATER TREATMENT)........................................165
31. RURAL WATER (RURAL WATER TREATMENT).............................................171
C. Games
33. WASTE BINGO (TERMINOLOGY)....................................................................207
34. WASTE A.A.A. (ACTIVITIES WITH ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS).....................................................................................................209

IV. GlOSSARY............................................................................................................213


TIME: preparation time:15 minutes class time: 90 minutes homework assignment: one week

KEY VOCABUlARY: petrochemical,hazardous substances, hazardous waste, environment, generate, disposal, pesticide, herbicide

MATERIALS: student sheet, product research sheet (included)


Researching and classifying products of the petrochemical industry


Students will be able to (1) define the term "petrochemical," (2) identify several household products produced from petrochemicals, and (3) research these products and their proper disposal.


Petrochemicals are products made from petroleum and/or natural gas. Petrochemical products are very important in our economy and our lifestyles. Unfortunately these products, which have become almost essential to our way of life, produce almost two thirds of the hazardous waste generated in the United States each year. (IEPA 1984). The major purpose of this activity is for students to become aware of petrochemicals, understand their impact on our environment, and recognize how we can most correctly dispose of the waste produced as a result of these products.


I. The Issue

A. Review with the students the definition and classification of hazardous substances. (See "CHARACTERISTICS OF HAZARDOUS WASTE" found in the "OVERVIEW OF HAZARDOUS WASTE."

B. With students, define petrochemicals. Discuss the petrochemical industry as it relates to natural resources; the environmental impact of the extraction and processing of petroleum and natural gas; and the disposal of wastes from the resulting products and the industry's processes.

C. Give each student a copy of the student sheet"THE PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY," included.

1. As a class, discuss the student sheet.

2. For each product category ask students to suggest brand name examples of each product.

3. Distribute student research sheets.

4. Instruct students to find in their homes an example of one of the products listed and complete the research sheet. Encourage students to call the toll-free telephone numbers now listed on many products to find answers to the questions posed on the research sheet. (Many companies will also mail out additional product information upon request.) Students may also use "OVERVIEW OF HAZARDOUS WASTE" to answer research questions.

D. Have students make oral presentations on their findings to the class. Emphasize the correct methods of disposal for these products.

Along the Petro Path


I. Invite a representative from a petrochemical plant to visit your class. Have the students take notes on what the speaker says.

II. Have the students research and report the following:

A. Which of these products are found in your home or on your farm?

B. Where can they be purchased locally?

C. Does the vendor need a license to sell them?

D. What precautions must be followed by the vendor? the user?

E. Does the vendor sell an alternative product that is not hazardous?

III. Visit a petrochemical plant, if one is located nearby and if visitors are permitted. Find out as much as possible about the operation of the plant, answering as many as possible of the following questions. What substances are required to process the oil? What waste products are generated at the plant? Where do they go? What kind of label(s) are put on the product(s)? Are the products hazardous? If so, what safety precautions are taken to assure they pass into "safe" hands? How are the product(s) transported? What is the potential for spills? Where are they stored before sale? What are the potentials for contamination? What happens to any unused or unsold portions of the product(s)? What are the directions for using the product(s)? What assurance is there that the environment will not be contaminated? Are there nonhazardous product(s) that can be substituted for the product(s)?


I. What does "petrochemical" mean?

II. What is a hazardous substance?

III. What substitutes could you make in your lifestyle that would decrease the use of hazardous products made from petrochemicals?

IV. How would reducing the use of these products affect the quality of your life?


Along the Petro Path


1. Name of product:

2. Type of product substance (i.e. cleanser, fertilizer):

3. How is this product used?

4. What is the product's toll-free telephone number? 1-800-

5. Call the toll-free number to find the answers to the following questions:

A. How much of this product is produced each year?

B. What substances are used to produce this product?

C. Are the substances used to produce this product hazardous?

D. What is the best way to dispose of the product and/or its container?


SUBJECT: Social Studies

TIME: preparation time: 45 minutes class time: 90 minutes homework assignments: 90 minutes

KEY VOCABULARY: source separation, waste stream

MATERIALS: container for one kilogram of refuse, small scoop, large paper, tweezers, spatulas, or other small instruments, triple beam balance or kitchen scale, large plastic salad or punch bowl, newsprint, stuent sheets (included), Optional for Extension: The film "Toast," (available from Bullfrog Films, Inc. Oley, PA 19547).


Developing the concepts of waste stream and source separation by refuse generators


Students will be able to (1) make a mixed waste stream which becomes difficult to separate, (2) make a flowohart and graph of the waste flow, and (3) discuss solutions to the problem.


We all produce trash and we all must take responsibility for it. The U.S. produces about 195 million tons of garbage per year, and 67% of it is disposed of in landfills. Many landfills are being closed because they do not meet current polution control standards. By the end of this decade, only 2,150 of the current 6,000 landfills will still be operating. More important is the remaining capacity of each landfill.

We are facing a landfill capacity shortage. It's estimated that we will have 64 million tons of waste each year with no place to put it by the end of the decade unless new landfills are built. This capacity problem has come about for several reasons. New, modern landfills are being built, but construction is not keeping pace with the closure of old landfills. One reason for this capacity shortage is that, even though new landfills are strictly regulated and engineered to control pollution, the public opposes their construction based on the reputation of old, unlined dumps that pollute groundwater. It is anticipated that 25 states will run out of existing landfill capacity in less than ten years. Many of the remaining 25 states are expected to face serious capacity shortages as more landfills are closed because of recent EPA regulations. To help deal with these capacity shortages, many states have established recycling or waste reduction goals.


I. Begin this activity by discussing with the students the concepts of "throwaway society" and "one-use only," "one-way flow" of natural resources. Discuss the different kinds of materials that we throw away.

A. Give each student a copy of the student sheet "GENERATED REFUSE COMPOSITION," included. Divide the class into ten groups and assign to each group one of the refuse materials on the handout.

B. Explain to the class that they will compose one kilogram of refuse similar in composition to the waste projected for the year 2000.

Garbage Salad

1. Each group will determine the number of grams of its assigned substance that it will add to the container of one kilogram of mixed waste. For example, paper will represent about 43.3 percent of the refuse stream in the year 2000; to make a total of one kilogram of waste, 434 grams of paper will have to be added. The paper may be composed of shredded newspaper, computer paper, cash register receipts, or whatever types of paper the group feels will be thrown away in the year 2000.

2. Students from each group will then bring to class the discarded material that their group will add to the container.

II. Each group will add its refuse material to the container and briefly explain what it represents and why it was chosen.

A. After each group has added its portion, mix up the contents thoroughly. Give each group of students a scoop of refuse on a large piece of paper. Ask each group to separate the materials that are reusable from those that are not reusable; have them use tweezers, plastic spoons, spatulas, or other small instruments to separate the waste.

B. Ask the students:

· What materials were separated out as reusable by your group?

· How can these materials be reused?

· What happens to waste that cannot be readily sorted (such as shoes: leather, rubber soles, cloth, and metal eyelets)?

· Was it difficult to separate the materials? Why?

C. Tell the students that our refuse (or waste) all flows into one "mixed" stream like the one they generated. We throw everything (paper, glass, plastic, etc.) into one container; the mixed waste is hauled away and disposed of. Why isn't it separated after it is collected? Could separation be done by a machine? Which would be easier to separate the materials before they are put into the container, or after?

D. Today there are recycling successes that have taken many years to build across the country. One that is very familiar is the collection of aluminum cans. Sixty-two percent of all aluminum cans are recycled. Manufacturers buy cans and recycle them because it requires 95% less energy to produce new aluminum from old aluminum rather than processing new material.

Glass and steel have been recycled for many years, too. Using recycled glass containers allows manufacturers to reduce the temperatures of their furnaces, saving energy, and prolonging the life of glass manufacturing equipment.

Thousands of businesses nationwide collect and sell valuable metals to the steel industry, and today millions of tons of metal are being recycled.

Paper recycling helps conserve resources, too. Today, approximately 30% of new paper is made from recycled or recovered paper, conserving resources and reducing air pollution.

While recycling can save energy and resources in the manufacturing process, getting recyclables to market and then processing them into new products also uses energy and generates waste which must be managed. The use of fuels and the environmental impact of preparing, collecting, sorting, and transporting recyclables should be considered when developing a program, particularily if markets are not close to home. For example, making new newsprint from old newspaper saves energy in the manufacturing process, but often the collected paper must be shipped to other cities for processing, using fuel and resources. Over 20% of newsprint collected in the U.S. for recycling is currently sold in the Far East. Glass, plastics, paper, and steel must be collected, processed, and transported to a market, and that takes energy.

Together with the students, explore some implications of increased recycling and list them on the board. Some possible effects of recycling include reduced environmental problems and new business opportunities.

III. Each group is to develop a graphic and oral presentation to describe its material in the waste stream. Students might use photographs (taken locally or cut from magazines), line drawings, and labels. (See illustration "PAPER" for an example of a finished graphic presentation.)

A. Each group is to trace the waste stream for its material. (For example, paper starts as trees which are cut, processed, and man ufactured into various paper products for use; glass starts as sand; and plastic starts as petroleum.) Some waste streams have no recycling possibilities; some have significant recycling possibilities.

B. Have each group use the student sheet "RANGE OF SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT OPTIONS," included, to show which waste management option(s) could be used for its refuse material.

C. Have the groups post their newsprint charts. Allow each group to explain its chart and present any particularly interesting information about its material. (Focus on recycling opportunities in your own community.)


I. Assign each of the ten groups a different refuse material than it had in the first investigation. Each group will have expertise about several different portions of the waste stream (from the student sheet "GENERATED REFUSE COMPOSITION").

A. Tell the students to assume that $2 billion to $4 billion w.ill be provided each year to promote recycling.

B. Each group is to examine its waste stream and develop the best way to recycle the waste material. The recycling method is to be logical, effective, and cost-effective. The group is to be prepared to give the reasons for their recommendations. In preparation for its class presentation, each group will do the following:

1. Examine and discuss in detail the waste stream chart (developed in the previous activity) and make any necessary modifications.

2. Brainstorm ideas and then discuss the recycling procedure:

· How is the material sorted?

· How will the sorted material be recycled (or discarded if not reusable)?

· Other factors? Write ideas on newsprint and post it.

3. Brainstorm, discuss, then post on another piece of newsprint the infrastructure needed:

· What type of devices or machines are necessary to sort materials?

· What type of special truck should be designed for the material? Design it.

· How will material be stored for transport?

· Other factors?

4. Brainstorm, discuss, then post on a third piece of newsprint the markets for this recycled material:

· What will be sold?

· Does it need to be reprocessed?

· Who will buy it?

· Can we make the material attractive to a buyer? How?

. Other factors?

5. Brainstorm, discuss, then post on a fourth piece of newsprint how to positively affect the attitudes of citizens:

· How can we get citizens, businesses, and industries to pre-sort their refuse for us?

· Can we get them to pay for all or part of the system? Other factors?

6. Summarize the ideas, and prepare a short "Executive Summary" report to be turned in.

C. Each group is to present its summary to the whole class.

II. After all the groups have made their presentations, have the students compile all the ideas into one general plan. Ask the students to assume roles of business leaders who want to put this plan into effect. How would they go about doing this?

III. Show the film "Toast." This film shows a piece of toast from "cradle to grave." Have the groups of students write and produce slideshows or videotapes of their waste streams, focusing on one representative item in their streams. Present these media projects to your school, civic groups, and local officials.


I. Define the terms waste stream and source separation.

II. What is the relationship of these terms to each other?

III. What is the single most important step a citizen can take to help solve the problems created by our habits of consumption and methods of disposal?



Reduction: decreasing the amount of waste generated at each step of product development, or replacing a hazardous substance with a safer one. Reduce energy/materials; better product design, larger package size, and substitution of low-energy materials for high energy materials. Extend product lifetime. Reduce personal consumption.

Reuse: using something again for its original purpose (e.g., returnable bottles), or waste-exchange.

Recycling: separate solid wastes into categories, either from mixed waste or at point of use, and processing it so that it can be used again in a form similar to its original use (e.g., newspapers recycled into cardboard).

Waste-to-energy: using a biological or chemical/physical process to change wastes into other forms (e.g., burning waste to produce gas or steam). Convert biologically: composting, biogas, and earth- worms. Convert chemically/physically: heat recovery, pyrolysis, and supplemental fuel preparation.

Disposal: use sanitary landfill for disposal of material that is left over (after the other four approaches have been applied) and that never enters these processing cycles for one reason or another. Adapted April 1993 from: Solid Waste Management Policy Analysis: A Report. Prepared for the Office of Economic and Community Development, Tennessee Valley Authonty, November 1981.

Chapter 24:


SUBJECT: Language Arts, Science, Sociai Studies

TIME: preparation time: 15 minutes class time: 3 - 45 minute periods, not consecutive homework; assignment: 60 minutes

KEY VOCABUIARY: CERCLA, compliance, corrosive, DDT, environment, EPA, generator, hazardous waste, ignitoble, issue, LULA, midnight dumping, NIMBY, OSHA, PCB,pollute, ppm, reactive, Superfuno,toxic, TRIC, TSCA

MATERIALS: student sheets (included)


Researching and writing about the sources, disposal, and regulation of hazardous waste

OBJECTIVES Students will be able to (1) define hazardous waste, list four major categories of hazardous waste, give an example of each; and (2) identify Federal, State and local government officials responsible for enacting laws, enforcing compliance, and planning management concerning hazardous waste.

BACKGROUND Being an "informed" citizen about hazardous waste includes understanding what hazardous waste is, how it is generated, what problems are associated with it, who is responsible for it, and where additional information can be found. The major purpose of this activity is for students to become informed about hazardous waste and to synthesize the experience of becoming informed by using their writing skills.


I. The Informed Citizen

A. Initiate the activity by discussing with the students the process of becoming informed about an issue. This process includes:

1. Establishing a definition

2. Learning the terminology

3. Identifying the problems

4. Identifying responsible persons

B. Explain to the students that they will be using communication skills to become infonned about the subject of hazardous waste. Give each student a copy of the fact sheet "CHARACTERISTICS OF HAZARDOUS WASTE," found in "OVERVIEW OF HAZARDOUS WASTE." Have the students:

1. Read the handout(s).

2. List and define the four categories of hazardous waste and give an example of each.

3. Define these 17 words, acronyms (designated by *), abbreviations, and terms associated with hazardous waste:

1. acronyms


3. *LULA

4. *CERCLA (pronounced sir'cluh)

5. compliance

6. environment

7. generator

8. *RCRA (pronounced rec'ruh)

9. *OSHA (pronounced osh'huh)

10. *TSCA

11. pollute

12. Superfund

13. midnight dumping

14. *DDT

15. *EPA

16. *PCB

17. ppm


II. The Issue (Initial Activity)

A. With the students, use the assignment above to discuss the definition of hazardous waste; list four categories of hazardous waste; and compile a list of examples for each.

B. Discuss the meanings of the acronyms, abbreviations, and terms given in the assignment.

C. Give each student copies of the student sheets 'tDRUMMING UP FACTS," included. They will add local agencies and organizations to the list of information sources.

D. Have the students write letters requesting hazardous waste information from these agencies and organizations. Inform the students that the material they receive may not present all sides of the issue.

E. Divide the class into four groups and assign each group to one category of hazardous waste (toxic, reactive, ignitable, corrosive). Explain to the students that, although they are assigned a specific category, they will be responsible for knowing about all the categories. Ask students to bring to class and display on the bulletin board newspaper articles, magazine articles, pamphlets, and labels associated with their topics.

III. The Response (Later Activity)

A. As information is brought to class, post the materials and discuss them with the students.

B. Ask each group to compile an annotated bibliography of resources for information about its topic. Encourage a variety of sources such as libraries, local government offices, concerned citizens groups, and local industries.

C. When all assignments have been completed and the requested literature has been received, ask each student to write a short summary of the literature he/she reviewed. The summary should include the following:

1. The definition of hazardous waste and descriptions of the four categories of hazardous waste.

2. An explanation of how hazardous waste is generated and some problems associated with it.

3. Identification of those individuals, businesses, agencies, or other entities responsible for the creation, regulation, and management of hazardous wastes.

4. Ideas about how citizens could influence local leaders who make decisions regarding hazardous waste.

5. A bibliography.


I. Invite a guest speaker to talk to the class about hazardous waste: generation, regulation, disposal, and planning. Have students list local agencies, industries, and organizations, along with information on how to contact sources. (Some students may already have contacts in those groups.)

II. Develop a survey to determine local attitudes toward having a hazardous waste disposal site in the area. Have each student survey ten citizens. Discuss and analyze results.

III. If material has been requested by mail, you will probably continue to receive literature for some time. Display materials throughout the semester.

IV. Have the students write to legislators and other officials for information about current legislation concerning hazardous waste. Discuss the responses they receive.


I. Define "hazardous waste," list the four major categories of hazardous waste, and give an example of a substance fitting each category.

II. Identify Federal, state, and local government officials responsible for enacting laws, enforcing compliance, and planning the management of hazardous waste.

III. Why is it important for you, as a citizen of your community, to know about hazardous waste activities in your area?


Region 1 - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont: Waste Management Division John F. Kennedy Federal Building Boston, Massachusetts 02203 (617) 565-3715

Region 2- New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands: Air and Waste Management Division 26 Federal Plaza New York, New York 10278 (212) 264-2657

Region 3 - Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia: Hazardous Waste Management Division 841 Chestnut Building Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107 (215) 597-9800

Region 4- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee: Waste Management Division 345 Courtland Street, NE Atlanta, Georgia 30365 (404) 347-3454

Region 5- Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin: Environmental Protection Agency 77 West Jackson Boulevard Chicago, Illinois 60604 (312) 353-2000

Region 6- Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas: Hazardous Waste Management Division First Interstate Tower at Fountain Place 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 700 Dallas, Texas 75202 (214) 655-6700

Region 7- Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska: Waste Management Division 726 Minnesota Avenue Kansas City, Kansas 66101 (913) 551-7000, 551-7050

Region 8- Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming: Waste Management Division 999 18th Street, Suite 500 Denver, Colorado 80202-2466 (303) 293-1603

Region 9- Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Guam, American Samoa: Toxic and Waste Management Division 57 Hawthorne Street San Francisco, California 94105 (415) 744-2095 Region 10- Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska: Waste Management Division 1200 Sixth Avenue Seattle, Washington 98101 (206) 442-1200


Alabama: Alabama Department of Environmental Management 1751 Congressman W. L. Dickinson Drive Montgomery, AL 36130 (205) 271-7700

Alaska: Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation 410 Willoughby, Suite 105 Juneau, AK 99801 (907) 465-2666 American Samoa Environmental Quality Commission Governor's Office Pago Pago American Samoa 96799

Arizona: Arizona Department of Health Division of Environmental Health Servicec 2005 North Central Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85004

Arkansas: Arkansas Department of Pollution Control and Ecology Toxic Substance Control Division Hazardous Waste Management Division 8001 National Drive Post Office Box 8913 Little Rock, AR 72209 (501) 562-7444

California: Department of Health Services Toxic Substance Control Division Northern California Section 4250 Power Inn Road Sacramento, CA 95826 (916) 739-3145

Colorado: Department of Toxic Substances Control Post Office Box 806 Sacramento, CA 95812-0806 (916) 322-3700 Colorado Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division Department of Health 4300 Cherry Creek Drive, South Denver, CO 80222-1530 (303) 692-3320

Connecticut: Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection 165 Capital Avenue Hartford, CT 06106 (203) 566-5712

Delaware: Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Hazardous Waste Office 89 Kings Highway Post Office Box 1401 Dover, DE 19903 (302) 739-4403

District of Columbia: Pesticide and Hazardous Waste Management Branch 2100 Martin Luther King Avenue, SE, Room 20 Washington, D.C. 20020 (202) 404-1167

Florida: Department of Environmental Regulation Twin Towers OfI;ce Building 2600 Blair Stone Road Tallahassee, FL 32399-2400 (904) 488-4805

Georgia: Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division Floyd Towers East 205 Butler Street, SE Atlanta, GA 30334 (404) 656-2833

Guam: Guam Environmental Protection Agency Post Office Box 2999 Agana, Guam 96910 (671) 646-8863, 8864, 8865

Hawaii: Hawaii Department of Health Environmental Protection and Health Services Division Post Office Box 3378 Honolulu, HI 96801 (808) 548-4139

Idaho: Department of Health and Welfare Division of Environmental Quality 1410 North Hilton Boise, ID 83706 (208) 334-5879

Illinois: Illinois Environmental Protection Agency 2200 Churchill Road Springfield, IL 62794-9276 (217) 782-6760

Indiana: Office of Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Indiana Department of Environmental Management 105 South Meridian Street Indianapolis, IN 46225 (317) 232-8603

Iowa: Iowa Department of Natural Resources Henry A. Wallace Building Des Moines, IA 50319 (515) 281-5145

Kansas: Bureau of Waste Management Kansas Department of Health and Environment Forbes Field, Building #740 Topeka, KS 66620 (913) 296-1593

Kentucky: Division of Waste Management Department for Environmental Protection Fort Boone Plaza Frankfort, KY 40601 (502) 564-6716

Louisiana: Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Office of Solid and Hazardous Waste Post Office Box 82178 Baton Rouge, LA 70884-2178 (504) 765-0741

Maine: Bureau of Hazardous Materials and Solid Waste Control Maine Department of Environmental Protection Statehouse, Station #17 Augusta, ME 04333 (207) 289-2651 Maryland Department of the Environment 2500 Broening Highway Building 40 Baltimore, MD 21224 (410) 631-3324

Massachusetts: Department of Envirionmental Protection One Winter Street, 5th Floor Boston, MA 02108 (617) 292-5589

Michigan: Waste Management Division Michigan Department of Natural Resources Post Office Box 30241 Lansing, MI 48909 (517) 373-2730 U.S. STATE AGENCIES (continued)

Minnesota: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency 520 Lafayette Road St. Paul, MN 55155 (612) 296-7301

Mississippi: Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Office of Pollution Control Post Office Box 10385 Jackson, MS 39289-0385 (601) 961-5100

Missouri: Missouri Department of Natural Resources Division of Environmental Quality Hazardous Waste Management Program Post Office Box 176 Jefferson City, MO 65102 (314) 751-3176

Montana: Department of Health and Environmental Sciences Solid and Hazardous Waste Bureau Cogswell Building Helena, MT 59620 (406) 444-1430

Nebraska: Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Hazardous Waste Section 1200 N Street, Suite 400 The Atrium Post Office Box 98922 Lincoln, NE 68609 (402) 471~217 Nevada Division of Environmental Protection 201 South Fall Street Carson City, NV 89710

New Hampshire: Department of Environmental Services Waste Management Division 6 Haven Drive Concord, NH 03301-6509 (603) 271-2905

New Jersey: Department of Environmental Protection and Energy 401 East State Street, 6th Floor Trenton, NJ 08625 (609) 292-5361

New Mexico: Health and Environmental Department Improvement Division Hazardous Waste Program Post Office Box 968 Harold Runnels Boulevard Santa Fe, NM 87504 (505) 827-2929

New York: Department of Environmental Conservation 50 Wolf Road Albany, NY 12233 (518) 457-6934

North Carolina: Department of Environmental Health and Natural Resources Post Office Box 27687 401 Oberline Road Raleigh, NC 27611-7687 (919) 733-4996

North Dakota: Hazardous Waste Management and Special Studies 1200 Missouri Avenue Bismark, ND 58501 (701) 224-2366, 221-5166

Ohio: Ohio Environmental Protection Agency 1800 Watermark Drive Columbus, OH 43266-0149 (614) 644-2160

Oklahoma: Hazardous Waste Management Services Oklahoma State Department of Health 1000NE 10th Street Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1299 (405) 271-5338

Oregon: Department of Environmental Quality Hazardous and Solid Waste Division 811 SW Sixth Avenue Portland, OR 97204 (503) 229-5913

Pennsylvania: Department of Environmental Resources Bureau of Waste Management Post Office Box 8471 Harrisburg, PA 17105-8471 (717) 787-9870

Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board Post Office Box 11488 Santurce, Puerto Rico 00910

Rhode Island: Department of Environmental Management Division of Air and Hazardous Materials 291 Promenade Street Providence, RI 02908 (401) 277-2797

South Carolina: Department of Health and Enviromental Control 2600 Bull Street Columbia, SC 29201 (803) 734-5360

South Dakota: Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Office of Waste Management 319 South Coteau 500 East Capitol Avenue Pierre, SD 57501 (605) 773-3153

Tennessee: Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation 701 Broadway, 4th Floor L and C Annex 401 Church Street Nashville, TN 37243-1538 (615) 532-0109

Texas: Industrial and Hazardous Waste Division Texas Water Commission Post Office Box 13087 Austin, TX 78711-3087 (512) 908-2334

Utah: Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste 288 North 1460 West Post Office Box 144880 Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4880 (801) 538-6170

Vermont: Hazardous Materials Management Division 103 South Main Street, West Office Waterbury, VT 05671-0404 (802) 244-8702

Virginia: Department of Environmental Quality James Monroe Building, 11th Floor 101 North 14th Street Richmond, VA 23219 (804) 225-2667

Washington Department of Ecology Solid and Hazardous Waste Program Post Office Box 47600 Olympia, WA 98504-7600 (206) 459-6317

West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection #10 McJunkin Road Nitro, WV 25143 (304) 759-0515

Wisconsin Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 101 South Webster Post Office Box 7921 Madison, WI 53707 (608) 266-0833

Wyoming Solid Waste Management Program Department of Environmental Quality 122 West 25th Street Herschler Building Cheyenne, WY 82001 (307) 777-7752

LOCAL AGENCIES (include your own here)


ACOE: acronym for the Army Corps of Engineers

acidity: a measure of the effective concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution of a given substance; i.e., the degree to which the solution turns blue litmus paper red and is capable of reacting with or breaking down substances like metals; the opposite of alkalinity

acid rain: rain that has a pH of 5.6 or lower; it contains sulfuric and nitric acid which are formed from rainwater mixed with sulfur and nitrogen oxides

acronym: a word formed by the first letters of a title or phrase act: (noun) a legislative decree or law formulated and passed by the Congress of the United States

adsorption: the process by which a substance (e.g., a potential pollutant) is retained on the surface of another substance aerobic: in the presence of oxygen

agency: an organization authorized and empowered by a government to act on its behalf in the fulfillment and/or enforcement of laws or regulations

airborne pollution: pollution carried in the atmosphere (see pollution)

alkalinity: a measure of the effective concentration of hydroxide ions in a solution of a given substance; i.e., the degree to which the solution turns a red litmus paper blue and is capable of reacting with or breaking down substances; the opposite of acidity

alternatives: other possible ways of dealing with, treating, or disposing of wastes; it is understood that alternatives offer advantages not necessarily offered by traditional or common methods

anaerobic: taking place in the absence of oxygen

arithmetic progression: according to arithmetic, a sequence of terms in which the same value is added to each term, ex. 1,2,3,4,5...etc.

asymptote: (in a graph) a line approached by a curve in the limit as the curve approaches infinity (e.g. in the consumption curve of a natural resource)

baling: (refuse) a method of waste disposal in which refuse is compacted, fastened in bales (like hay), and deposited in a systematic order, reducing the amount of space needed for disposal

bauxite: the principal source of aluminum, containing alumina and impurities

bioaccumulation: the process by which the biological concentration of a substance is increased through links in a food chain; another term for biological magnification or biomagnification

bioconversion: a waste management alternative category in which organic waste materials are treated biologically (e.g., by microorganisms) in order to obtain an energy product (such as the methane produced in anaerobic digestion)

biodegradable: waste material which is capable of being broken down, usually by bacteria, into basic elements; most organic wastes, such as food remains and paper, are biodegradable

biological magnification: see bioaccumulation blackwater: domestic wastewater containing human wastes

BOD: abbreviation for Biochemical Oxygen Demand; a measure of the amount of dissolved oxygen required for bacterial decomposition of organic wastes in water

BTU: abbreviation for British Thermal Unit, or a unit of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water, one degree Fahrenheit; 1 BTU equals 1.054 kilojules buffer: an unique solution made of a weak acid or base and its salt which resists a change in pH

CERCLA: abbreviation for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund Act), 1980; to provide funds for emergency cleanup of spills and cleanup of abandoned or inactive hazardous waste sites chlorinated hydrocarbons: synthetic organic chemicals that contain hydrogen, carbon, and chlorine; for example, many insecticides such as DDT

COD: abbreviation for Chemical Oxygen Demand; a measure of the amount of dissolved oxygen depleted by chemical reactions of pollutants in water cogeneration: production of two useful forms of energy such as high temperature heat and electricity from the same source

coliform bacteria: a category of bacteria largely derived from fecal wastes; the presence of these bacteria in a river or a stream is taken as evidence of fecal pollution and indicates the possibility that pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria may be present

compact: to pack closely together compactor a power-driven machine which compresses solid wastes and reduces their volume compliance: obeying all the Federal, State, and local regulations that apply compost: the product of composting (see compost~ng)

composting: the controlled biological decomposition of organic solid waste under aerobic (in the presence of oxygen)

conditions; organic waste materials are transformed into soil amendments such as humus or mulch

concentration: the ratio of one substance (solute) contained in a unit of another substance (solvent)

consumption: the amount of any resource (material or energy) used in a given time by a given number of people

contamination: (verb) the process of adding something to a substance (e.g., water) that reduces its quality or prevents its use unless it is treated

continuum: a continuous succession of events, features, or characteristics which form a whole (i.e., a unit of some kind)

controlled incineration: a process by which wastes are burned and the resulting gases are cleaned before being discharged into the atmosphere

conversion: the changing of the resources in waste into other resource forms; for example, burning or heating waste to produce steam, gas, or oil

corrosive: defined for regulatory purposes as having a pH level below 2 or above 12.5, or capable of dissolving or breaking down certain substances, particularly metals, or causing skin burns

daphnia: any of various small freshwater crustaceans of the genus Daphnia

DDT: abbreviation for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane; a chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticide now banned from generalized use in the United States; is still persistent in the environment

decompose: to decay or rot; a result of microbial action deep well injection: a controversial method of hazardous waste disposal in which hazardous wastes are actually injected into deep undergound wells

design capacity: refers to the amount of waste a landfill was originally planned to hold

disposal: the process by which something is gotten rid of or thrown away

dissolved oxygen: a measure of the amount of oxygen in solution in a body of water

DOE: acronym for Department of Energy

DOHHS: acronym for Department of Health and Human Services

DOL: acronym for Department of Labor

DOT: acronym for Department of Transportation doubling time: a rate of mathematical progression where each event is double the previous one (see geometric progression)

dump: a site where mixed wastes are indiscriminately deposited, without regard to the protection of the environment

"ecological society'': a term used to denote a society in which human systems of production, consumption, and waste management resemble the recycling characteristics of natural resource cycles; compare "industrial society"

ecology: the interrelationships between organisms and their environment

effluent: the liquid that comes out of a treatment plant after completion of the treatment process

enact: to put an act (see act) of Congress into effect energy recovery: getting energy from solid wastes by any conversion process; for example, obtaining and using the heat produced by the burning of solid wastes

environment: the external conditions of an organism or population; the term "the environment" generally refers to the sum of total conditions, physical and biological, in which humans live

EPA: abbreviation for the Environmental Protection Agency; the Federal agency charged with the enforcement of all Federal regulations having to do with air and water pollution, radiation and pesticide hazard, ecological research, and solid waste disposal

evapotranspiration: the total process by which water is lost from the soil, including that by direct evaporation and that by transpiration from plants; or a rural domestic wastewater treatment alternative employing the evapotranspiration process

exchange: using the waste from one activity as a resource in another activity; see waste exchange

extraction: the act or process of removing or separating something from its source; for example, mining ore (from which metal is refined) or pumping oil from an oil well

fauna: a collective term referring to animals

FDA: abbreviation for Federal Food and Drug Administration

FD&C: 'food, Drug, and Cosmetics"; followed by a number, designates a specific artificial coloring compound used in foods, medicines, and/or cosmetics

FIFRA: abbreviation for the Federal Insecticides, Fungicides & Rodenticides Act; regulates the use of these pesticides

filtering: a technique of separating solid from a liquid; in the context of water supply, the practice of forcing water through beds of sand to trap bacteria that may cause disease and thereby prevent their presence in drinking water

finite: having limits or being limited; not endless in quantity or duration

flash point: the lowest temperature at which vapors from a volatile liquid will ignite

flora: a collective term referring to plants

food chain: the sequences of organism through which energy and materials progress (through the various trophic levels) from producers (green plants) to the highest consumers

fossil fuels: fuels from once-living matter; for example, coal, petroleum, or natural gas

fungicide: a chemical used to kill fungi; a type of pesticide

g.: abbreviation for gram, measure of weight

garbage: refuse consisting of food wastes; animal and vegetable wastes resulting from the handling, storage, sale, preparation, cooking, and serving foods

generate: to originate or produce by a physical or chemical process generator (waste generator): a company, activity, or person that produces waste

geometric progression: according to geometry, a sequence of terms in which the ratio of each term to the preceding term is the same throughout the sequence (ex. 1,2,4,8,16, 32,...etc.)

graywater: domestic wastewater composed of washwater from sinks tubs and laundry, not including human wastes groundwater water stored in the porous spaces of soil and rock underground; more than half of the people of the United States depend upon groundwater for their drinking water

H+: a symbol for hydrogen or hydronium ion concentration; a measure of acidity related to the pH scale

hardness: a measure of the calcium and magnesium salts content of a water resource; a commonly tested aspect of water quality

hazardous materials: chemicals that pose a significant threat to human health and/or the environment while being transported

hazardous substances: chemicals that are dangerous to human health and/or the environment

hazardous waste: waste that is dangerous to human health and/or the environment; defined as being waste that is toxic, reactive, ignitable, or corrosive

HDPE: abbreviation for high density polyethylene, #2 coded plastic

heavy metals: metallic elements (e.g., cadmium, lead, and mercury) which are persistent in the environment, poisonous, and are subject to biological magnification (see bioaccumulation)

herbicide: a chemical used to kill plants; a kind of pesticide

humus: the organic portion of soil; a dark substance resulting from the partial decay of plant and/or animal matter

ICC: abbreviation for Interstate Commerce Commission

ignitable: capable of burning rapidly; a flash point of less than 140° F illegal dumping: disposing of waste in an improper manner and/or location and in violation of waste disposal laws

impoundment: a pool of water (lagoon) where liquid or semi-liquid wastes are stored

incinerator: a facility designed for the controlled burning of waste; reduces waste volume by converting waste into gases and a relatively small amount of ash; may offer potential for energy recovery

incineration: controlled process by which combustible solid or liquid wastes are burned and changed into gases

"industrial society": a term used to denote a society in which human resource use and waste management is characterized by one-time use and disposal of products, and in which few products are recycled; compare "ecological society"

industrial wastes: spent and scrap materials usually discarded from industrial operations or derived from the manufacturing process

inorganic: not composed of once-living material (e.g., minerals); generally, composed of chemical compounds not principally based on the element carbon

insecticide: a chemical used to kill insects; a kind of pesticide

integrated solid waste management: a practice of disposing of solid waste that utilizes several complementary components, such as source reduction, recycling, composting, waste-to-energy, and landfill

issue: a point of discussion, debate, or dispute; a matter of wide public concern

kg.: abbreviation for kilogram, measure of mass; 1 kg equals 1,000 grams

kWh: abbreviation for kilowatthour; a measure of the usage of electricity; 1 kWh equals 1,000 watts/hr.

lagoon: a pond constructed to store or treat wastewater; see impoundment

land disposal: methods of depositing wastes on land; for example, lagoons, open dumps, or sanitary landfills

landfill: a large, outdoor area for waste disposal; landfills where waste is exposed to the atmosphere are called open dumps; in sanitary landfills, waste is layered and covered with soil

Ibs.: abbreviation for pounds, measure of weight

LD: abbreviation for Lethal Dose; defined as the amount of a substance that will kill a given percentage of the test organisms exposed to it

LDPE: abbreviation for low density polyethylene, #4 coded plastic

leachate: a liquid resulting from precipitation percolating through landfills containing water, decomposed waste and bacteria; in sanitary landfills, leachate is collected and treated to prevent contamination of water supplies

lethal: causing or capable of causing death

litter: highly visible solid waste that is generated by consumers and carelessly and improperly discarded (e.g., along roadsides or on streets and sidewalks)

LULU: acronym for Locally Unwanted Land Use; for example, jails, airports, and landfills

LUST: abbreviation for Leaking Underground Storage Tanks; for example, leaking underground gasoline storage tanks

mg.: abbreviation for milligram, a measure of mass; 1 ma. equals 1/1000 gram

methane: a colorless, odorless, flammable, gaseous hydrocarbon that is a product of the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter; can be burned as a fuel

midnight dumping: a term used for the illegal disposal of hazardous waste

mineral: a natural occurring substance of inorganic origin and internal crystalline structure; for example, metals are obtained from mineral resources

municipal solid waste: includes nonhazardous waste generated in households, commercial establishments, institutions, and light industrial wastes; it excludes industrial process wastes, agricultural wastes, mining wastes and sewage sludge

natural resources: the materials or energy obtained from the environment that are used to meet human needs; material or energy resources not made by man

neutral: exhibiting neither acid nor alkaline qualities; has a pH of 7

neutralization: the process of changing or eliminating a substance's distinctive or active properties; for example, using an alkaline substance to neutralize an acid (or vice versa)

NIMBY: acronym for Not In My Back Yard; refers to the fact that people want the convenience of products and proper disposal of the waste generated by their use of the products, provided the disposal area is not located near them

nitrogen oxides (NOx): a contributor to photochemical air pollution and acid rain; nitrogen oxides are produced during high temperature combustion of fossil fuels; oxygen and nitrogen from the air produce the pollutant gas; the oxides of nitrogen (nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide) are both air pollutants, and nitrogen dioxide has been linked to an increase in respiratory illness

nonbiodegradable: not capable of being broken down by microorganisms

nonhazardous: describes materials, substances, or wastes which do not represent a significant threat to human health or the environment

nonpoint source pollution: pollution from many different sources, usually associated with rainfall runoff moving over or through the ground, carrying natural and man-made pollutants into surface water and groundwater

nonrenewable (resources): not capable of being naturally restored or replenished

NPDES: abbreviation for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

obsolescence: the process of becoming useless; see planned obsolescence

ore: mineral deposit containing a high enough concentration of at least one metallic element to permit the metal to be extracted and sold at a profit

organic: composed of living or once-living matter; more broadly, composed of chemical compounds principally based on the element carbon

organic peroxides: group of organic chemicals (photochemical oxidants) with a high oxygen content; they can be highly explosive

OSHA: acronym for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; regulates and sets the standards for health and safety practices in the workplace

oxidizers: chemical compounds that can oxidize substances that oxygen in the air cannot; ozone, a prominent photochemical air pollutant, is an oxidant, as are nitrogen dioxide, PAN compounds, and aldehydes; levels of photochemical pollution are often reported as oxidant levels

particulates: very small pieces of solid matter or droplets of liquid suspended or carried in the air; some air pollutants are particulates

pathogen: an organism that causes diseases

PCBs: abbreviation for polychlorinated biphenyls; a large class of synthetic chlorinated hydrocarbons widely used in industry; persistent in the environment and subject to bioaccumulation; suspected to be carcinogenic

percolate: the process by which a liquid gradually passes through the small spaces of a porous substance; for example, rainwater passing through soil and waste in a landfill

persistent: slowly or very slowly degradable in the environment; for example, glass, plastic, and many toxic substances

pesticide: a chemical used to kill an organism (microbe, plant, insect, or animal) considered to be a pest, i.e., one that causes loss, inconvenience, health hazard, or other perceived problem

PET: abbreviation for polyethylene terephthalate, #1 coded plastic; used, for example, in soft drink bottles

petrochemical: a chemical derived from petroleum or natural gas; may be used as an adjective (as in "petrochemical industry")

pH: a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution; the pH scale ranges from O to 14, where 7 is neutral and where values less than 7 are acidic and values greater than 7 are alkaline

photodegradeable: the process whereby the sun's ultraviolet radiation attacks the link in the polymer chain of plastic; the breaking of this link causes the plastic chain to fragment into smaller pieces, losing its strength and ability to flex and stretch; as the photodegradable plastic is subjected to the effects of the natural environment the material is flexed, stretched, and disintegrated into plastic dust

physical treatment: a method designed to remove contaminants by using physical means, such as: filtration, precipitation, extraction, and distillation

placard: a notice for display in a public place; a poster planned obsolescence: the practice of producing goods that have a very short life so that more goods will have to be produced

point source: end-of-pipe discharges of wastes into receiving bodies of water, for example, municipal sewage treatment plants, industrial wastewater treatment systems, and permitted animal feed lots

pollute: to contaminate; make impure pollution: the contamination of soil, water, or the atmosphere by the discharge of waste or other offensive andlor harmful materials

post-consumer: in post-consumer waste, refers to waste from municipal sources, not industrial waste; post-consumer content refers to the amount of recycled material from municipal sources that a product contains, for example, recycled paper may contain 10% post-consumer waste, and 30% industrial waste (waste salvaged for reuse before reaching the consumer)

POTW: abbreviation for Publicly Owned Treatment Works

PP: abbreviation for polypropylene, #5 coded plastic ppm: abbreviation for parts per million; number of units of a chemical (e.g., a pollutant) found in one million units of another substance (e.g., air, water, or soil)

ppu: abbreviation for parts per unit

PS: abbreviation for polystyrene, #6 coded plastic

PVC: abbreviation for polyvinyl chloride, #3 coded plastic

pyrolysis: the process of heating refuse to a very high temperature in a nearly oxygen-free environment to produce oil or gas as an end product; compare to incineration

raw materials: substances still in their natural or original state, before processing or manufacturing; the starting materials for a manufacturing process

RCRA: abbreviation for the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 1976; requires states to develop solid waste management plans and prohibits open dumps; identifies lists of hazardous wastes and sets the standards for their disposal

RDF: abbreviation for Refuse-Derived Fuel; fuel obtained from the mechanical processing of municipal solid waste

reactive: for regulatory purposes, defined as tending to react spontaneously with air or water, to explode when dropped, or to give off toxic gases

recycling: a resource recovery method involving the collection and treatment of a waste product for use as raw material in the manufacture of the same or another product (e.g., ground glass used in the manufacture of new glass)

reduction: the process of decreasing the amount of waste generated at each step of product development or use, or replacing a hazardous substance with a safer one

refuse: a term used for solid waste

residue: the solid materials remaining after completion of a chemical or physical process such as incineration, evaporation, distillation, or filtration

resource: something that can be used to make something else; for example, wood resources are made into paper and old bottles can be made into new ones

resource recovery; the extraction and utilization of materials which can be used as raw materials in the manufacture of new products, or as values which can be converted into some form of fuel or energy source; an integrated resource recovery program may include recycling, waste-to-energy, composting, and/or other components

rodenticide: a chemical used to kill rodents (rats and mice); a kind of pesticide residences, places of business, and institutions

runoff: water (originating as precipitation) that flows across the surface of the ground, rather than soaking into it, eventually entering bodies of water; may pick up and carry with it a variety of substances

sanitary landfill: a land area where solid wastes are disposed of using a method that protects human health and the environment by spreading waste in layers, compacting it to the smallest practical volume, and covering it with soil at the end of each working day

secure landfill: a landfill designed to prevent the entry of water and the escape of leachate by the use of impermeable liners

sediment: fine particles that do not dissolve easily or ever; suspended and/or settled particles

septic tank: a domestic wastewater treatment system into which wastes are piped directly from the home; bacteria decompose the organic waste, sludge settles to the bottom of the tank, and effluent flows out into the ground through drainage pipes

sewage: liquid and solid human waste carried off with water in sewers and drains

simulation: an enactment which gives the appearance or effect of a real-life situation

sinking fund: monies accumulated to pay off a public or corporate debt

sludge: solid matter that settles to the bottom of septic tanks or wastewater treatment plant sedimentation tanks; must be disposed of by bacterial digestion or other methods, or pumped out for land disposal or incineration

solid waste: any of a wide variety of solid materials, as well as some contained liquids, which are discarded or rejected as being spoiled, useless, worthless, or in excess

solid waste management: the systematic administration of activities which provide for the collection, source separation, storage, transportation, transfer, processing, treatment, and disposal of solid waste

solvent: a substance, usually a liquid, that dissolves or can dissolve another substance

source reduction: refers to reducing the amount of waste generated that must eventually be discarded, including minimizing toxic substances in products, minimizing volume of products and extending products' useful life; requires manufacturers and consumers to take an active role in reducing the amount of waste that is produced

source separation: the segregation of various materials from the waste stream at the point of generation for recycling; for example, householders separating paper, metal, and glass from the rest of their waste

Superfund: a term used for the fund established to implement the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)

synthetic: produced by a chemical process rather than of natural origin; man made

tipping fee: a fee assessed for waste disposal in a landfill per given amount of waste; calculated from the costs of disposal facility operation and the annual amount of waste

throw-away lifestyle: a way of living characterized by a high level of product consumption and discarding, especially if the products are meant for one-time usage

throw-away society: a society characterized by a throw-away lifestyle (see throwaway lifestyle)

tolerance: the ability of an organism to withstand the harmful effects of a substance or condition

toxic: defined for regulatory purposes as containing poison and posing a substantial threat to human health and/or the environment

transfer station: a place or facility where waste is taken from smaller trash collection vehicles and placed in larger ones for transportation to a disposal area; sometimes the site of compacting

transpiration: by which water vapor is lost to the atmosphere from living plants

trash: a term used for wastes that usually do not include food wastes, but may include other organic materials, such as plant trimmings

turbidity: a measure of how clear water is; clarity depends upon the amount of suspended solid materials or organisms in the water

TSCA: abbreviation for the Toxic Substances Control Act, 1976; controls the production, distribution, and use of all specified potentially hazardous chemicals

TSDF: abbreviation for Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility

virgin: term describing raw materials as yet unused; for example, virgin aluminum has not yet been fabricated into cans; compare recycled aluminum

waste: anything that is discarded, useless, or unwanted

waste exchange: see exchange waste generation: the act or process of making waste

waste management: handling or controlling waste; see solid waste management

waste processing: doing something to discarded materials so they can be handled more easily, or so that resources can be recovered from them

waste stream: all of the waste generated in the processes of production, utilization, and disposal of goods; the total waste produced by a community or society, as it moves from origin to disposal

waste-to-energy incineration: disposal method where municipal solid waste is brought to a plant where it is either burned, as received, or after being processed to a more uniform fuel, to generate steam or electricity; waste-to-energy plants can decrease volume by 60-90% while recovering energy from discarded products; mass burn, modular combustion units and refuse-derived fuel are the three basic waste-to-energy plants used, and over 100 are currently in operation in the U.S.

wastewater: water containing waste generated in production processes and as a result of daily municipal or sanitary use

water solubility: the extent to which a substance dissolves in water at a given temperature

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