Home Health Best practices for environmental health : environmental pollution, protection, quality and sustainability
Battery Recycling Program
Because of federal and state laws on the recycling of lead-acid batteries and strict enforcement, there has been a substantial drop in the amount of these units not being recycled. A study of recycling of these batteries for the years 2009-2013 indicates that 99% of the batteries are recycled. This is well above the rate of recycling for aluminum soft drink and beer cans, newspapers, and glass bottles. This is done only at approved and closely supervised re-processors. The plastic is removed, washed thoroughly and blown dry. It is then melted together and is ready to be reused in battery cases. The lead parts are thoroughly cleaned and then melted together in smelting furnaces and the lead is then poured as needed for the batteries. The sulfuric acid is neutralized and the water is treated, cleaned, and tested to make sure it does not violate clean water standards. The typical new battery contains 60-80% recycled materials.
Model Solid Waste Management Program
A model solid waste management program consists of many factors including the industry partners who will be working with the regulatory agencies to follow the appropriate laws, rules, and regulations and utilize the various resources which are provided to them. The program consists of source reduction, recycling/reuse, treatment, and ultimate disposal. When the disposal area if it is a landfill is full, then it is necessary to have an appropriate closure with no opportunity for leakage to the surface or groundwater supply and the prevention of gases contaminating the air.
Source reduction prevents actual waste generation by volume and reduces potential toxicity. It consists of: elimination of certain materials; inventory control and on-time delivery of supplies as well as excellent management; material substitution of less toxic raw materials instead of more toxic ones and materials of less volume instead of those of more volume; modification of the process of making the finished product to avoid producing contaminants and reducing energy use; improved housekeeping by following appropriate techniques on a regular scheduled basis of cleaning and waste removal as well as using special scheduling for certain types of equipment and facilities; and putting into the purchase contract that all unused materials will be returned to the supplier for appropriate credits to avoid creating additional waste and controlling costs.
Recycling/reuse is the collection and use of waste materials free of contaminants that can be put back into the process instead of using raw materials or are sold to other industries as a byproduct. It consists of: reusing existing materials where feasible; reprocessing and reclaiming materials for either internal use or sale as a byproduct to other companies; and using the materials as a fuel to reduce waste and reduce cost.
Treatment techniques vary with the industry and the product and may be physical, chemical, or biological in nature. These techniques consist of: filtration through a variety of different filters which may also produce recycled or reused material; various types of chemical, biological, or thermal treatments to make hazardous material less hazardous and to reduce volume; extraction of the usable materials from the unusable and the non-hazardous from the hazardous; chemical stabilization to make the products inert instead of active; and spreading on the land for agricultural purposes if it is not hazardous.
Disposal may be in lined landfills, through incineration, by discharge to bodies of water with acceptable National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits allowing it, turning the materials into solids for later disposal in landfills, burial on-site, and underground injection of the materials.
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