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June 27 2013


Landfill Folly & What Industries are Doing to Correct It

More than 3000 operating landfills in the US process tons of waste - much of which is hazardous  and/or could be recycled By Andrew Anderson

The amount of trash that the United States produces is staggering. There are more than 3,000 operating landfills and more than 10,000 abandoned landfills in the U.S., according to Zero Waste America. Industry leaders are focusing on improving manufacturing standards and processes that lessen the burden and create more sustainable products for today and our future.

What’s in the Landfill?

The unintended consequence of manufacturing materials, such as plastic, is the vast amount of space that slowly decaying material requires. The Environmental Protection Agency says plastics accounted for nearly 13 percent of the municipal solid waste stream in 2011. Many suggest that plastic, along with rubber and Styrofoam, will take centuries to decompose. Many scientists agree that a significant amount of hazardous material escapes through leaking landfill liners, but it’s difficult to accurately measure the full impact. Landfills located near lakes and streams could potentially allow chemicals and gases to seep into ground water and enter the food chain through marine animals. While landfill operators and environmental advocates look for efficient liner mechanisms to control leachate, which is a solid-containing liquid that is generated when groundwater “percolates” through solid waste, industries are searching for innovative ways to manage and reduce harmful effects of their products.

Rubber: What is the Industry Doing Today?

Tires don’t decompose, and it is expensive to collect and repurpose tires. They are heavy, take up a lot of room and are not easily broken down into other materials. Thirty-five states charge disposal fees to offset the expense of collection, storage and processing, TireBuyer.com has stated. The company makes efforts to sell tires that are manufactured using sustainable materials and manufacturing processes. Kumho Tires is one brand that is incorporating more eco-friendly manufacturing into their business plan; reducing air pollution and incorporating oil-free processing procedures.

Electronic Industry Contributions and Solutions

The EPA estimates that more than 150 million pieces of e-waste find their way into the landfill every year. To offset this huge impact and encourage more consumers to recycle old digital equipment and related waste, Dell provides opportunities for recycling that include scrubbing information from hard drives, refurbishing equipment for continued use and connecting consumers to non-profit organizations that put used computer equipment in schools and other public agencies. Dell also offers a free mail-back service for any brand of equipment and ink cartridges.

Styrofoam Products

Hasswell, a manufacturing company based in China, makes machines that reduce size and volume of Styrofoam and other material waste. Its equipment is designed to handle cardboard with balers, densifiers for Styrofoam, shredders for plastic bottles and crushers for glass. Its website reports that 1,369 tons of Styrofoam enter landfills every year and burning Styrofoam products releases more than four dozen harmful chemicals. Sun exposure also releases harmful chemicals from this non-biodegradable substance.


Andy lives in San Jose, Calif., is a full-time surf rat and a part-time photographer and journalist.

The post Landfill Folly & What Industries are Doing to Correct It appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

November 11 2011


Koch Brothers Behind Push To Dismantle EPA

During last week’s Americans For Prosperity (AFP) event, a common theme kept creeping into the speakers’ presentations: Dismantle the EPA. And as the major funders of AFP, Charles and David Koch are the ones pulling the strings of the American elected officials who keep clamoring for an end to all environmental protections.

Since the new Republican-controlled Congress took over earlier this year, calls for the EPA to be disbanded and general attacks on the agency have been constant. In the last 11 months, we have covered those stories here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Those in favor of saying goodbye to the EPA include presidential candidates like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, elected officials like Republican Representatives Mike Rogers and David McKinley, and even media figures like Fox News’s John Stossel. The attacks include false claims that the agency is destroying jobs, or just general claims that the agency’s usefulness has run its course.

But when you look past those claims, the money from the Koch brotherss and their organizations is all that you can see.

In addition to GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain pledging his loyalty to the Kochs at last week’s event, we were also privy to a rousing anti-EPA speech by Republican representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas. As Think Progress reports, Pompeo told the crowd the following about his efforts to completely strip the EPA of their funding:

“We’re trying. Indeed, I personally tried. … We’ve got a Senate that has a deeply different worldview, and there my bill sits. We won’t be able to slow down the growth of the EPA dramatically until we change the view of folks in Congress, and I speak mostly of the Senate here, and we get a new leader in the White House.”

Lee Fang from Think Progress has detailed Rep. Pompeo’s connections to the Kochs, who have personally been involved with helping Pompeo climb his way into the top 1% of income earners:

Pompeo developed much of his wealth from a firm he founded, Thayer Aerospace, which he ran with investment funds from Koch Industries. According to a December 11, 1998 article in the Wichita Business Journal, “[Pompeo's] company’s capital base is drawn in part from Wichita’s Koch Venture Capital, a division of Koch Industries.” Pompeo sold Thayer in 2006.

Pompeo still relies on Koch for his private wealth. After the sale of Thayer, Pompeo became the President of Sentry International, a business specializing in the manufacture and sale of equipment used in oilfields. Sentry International is a partner to Koch Industries through its Brazilian distributor, GTF Representacoes & Consultoria.

Pompeo won his Republican primary largely with the support of Koch Industries’ PAC, which gave him one of his largest endorsements in March. Despite the fact that Koch Industries is the recipient of tens of millions in federal contracts, Pompeo boasted about the endorsement: “The employees of the Koch Companies have jobs here in the Wichita because of their own hard work and creativity, not because a federal agency deemed it to be so.”

With $31,400 in contributions from KOCHPAC, Koch Industries is by far the greatest contributor to Pompeo’s campaign.

So to be clear, Congressman Pompeo owes not only his election but his personal fortune to the Koch brothers, and now that he is in a position of power, he is doing his best to push their agenda within the chambers of Congress.

The money in politics database organization Open Secrets has a lengthy list of specific legislation that Koch Industries has lobbied for and against. On the "against" list, you’ll find legislation such as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 – a bill that would have put Americans to work building a green energy infrastructure; the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act – again, a bill that would have created green energy jobs and infrastructure; and the Clean Air Protection Act – a bill that would limit the amount of acceptable emissions into our atmosphere.

The Koch brothers, through their PACs and other organizations, have funded numerous efforts to defeat legislation aimed at reducing pollution or protecting the environment. After all, their companies don't pay the real cost for the pollution they release.

That’s why it is important to follow the money on these stories, especially when dealing with Congress members who are attempting to dismantle the few environmental protections that are currently in place, like Mike Pompeo. Because more often than not, these efforts are supported by fat cat checks from a member of the Koch family.

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