California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Baxter CVG Case Study

Chapter 5: The Economic and Ecological Implications of a Solid Waste Reduction Program

In the previous chapter, the economic impacts of CVG’s solid waste reduction program (SWRP) were demonstrated. The focus of this chapter is to discuss some of the environmental impacts of this SWRP. Through source reduction, recycling and composting activities, CVG benefits the natural environment. Impacts such as savings of electricity, trees, water, and reduced pollution result from CVG’s efforts.

In order to better understand these impacts, two product life cycle analyses are presented in this chapter. A product life cycle analysis demonstrates the amounts of materials, energy and pollutants that result from the manufacture of a given product. Product life cycle analyses are fairly new to the environmental field and limited information is available. For this reason, the analyses presented in this chapter are limited to the environmental impacts of CVG’s paper and plastic reduction programs.

Environmental Impact Of 1997 CVG Paper Reduction Programs

As demonstrated in the 1997 audit report in Chapter Three, CVG has implemented several paper reduction programs. Some of these programs include a 25% two-sided copying policy, an E-mail paper source reduction policy, a paper recycling program and a recycled paper-purchasing program. These paper reduction policies have some very definite environmental impacts. This section of the report will demonstrate these environmental impacts.

In order to establish how these environmental impacts are calculated, a paper life cycle analysis will be presented. The following information was utilized in this paper life cycle analysis:

Trees Saved: It takes 17 (50 ft.) trees to manufacture a ton of paper. Each tree is equivalent to 23.5 reams of paper (1995 City of Los Angeles, Page 57).

Landfill Space: One ton of paper occupies 3 cubic yards of landfill space (1995 City of Los Angeles, Page 57).

Water: 20,500 gallons of water are saved per ton of paper source reduction (1995 City of Los Angeles, Page 57 ).

7000 gallons of water are saved if a ton of paper is remanufactured using recycled fibers (1995 City of Los Angeles, Page 57).

Electricity: 10,785 kilowatt-hours of electricity are saved per ton of paper source reduction (1995 City of Los Angeles, Page 58).

4100 kilowatt-hours of electricity are saved if a ton of paper is made with recycled fibers (1995 City of Los Angeles, Page 58).

Pollution Effluents: A ton of paper manufactured from virgin fibers emits 60 pounds of pollution effluents (1995 City of Los Angeles, Page 58).

25 Percent Two-Sided Copying Policy

One way to reduce the amount of paper that a company uses is to implement a two-sided copying policy. As demonstrated in Chapter Three’s 1997 audit report, CVG’s 25% two-sided copying policy saves an estimated 5440 reams or 13.6 tons of paper per year. Using the information in the previous section, some of the environmental impacts of this policy are as follows:

  • 231.2 (50 ft.) trees saved per year.
  • 40.8 cubic yards of landfill space saved per year.
  • 278,800 gallons of water saved per year.
  • 816 lbs. of pollution effluents prevented per year.
  • 146,676 Kilowatt hours of electricity saved per year.

E-Mail

As demonstrated in the 1997 audit report, CVG saves an estimated 5.2 tons of paper per year as a result of the implementation of E-mail. Some of the environmental impacts of CVG’s E-mail source reduction policy are as follows:

  • 88.4 trees (50 ft.) saved per year.
  • 15.6 cubic yards of landfill space saved per year.
  • 106,600 gallons of water saved per year.
  • 56,082 Kilowatt hours of electricity saved per year.
  • 312 lbs. of pollution effluents prevented per year.

Paper Recycling

As demonstrated in the 1997 audit report, CVG recycles an estimated 166.2 tons of mixed paper per year. Some of the environmental impacts of this policy are as follows:

  • 2825.4 (50 ft.) trees saved per year.
  • 498.6 cubic yards of landfill space saved per year.
  • 1,163,400 gallons of water saved per year.
  • 681,420 kilowatt-hours of electricity saved per year.

Recycled Paper Purchasing

CVG buys 14,880 reams of recycled paper per year, which is equal to 42.4

tons. Some of the environmental impacts of this policy are as follows:

  • 720.8 trees (50 ft.) per year saved per year.
  • 127.2 cubic yards of landfill space saved per year.
  • 296,800 gallons of water saved per year.
  • 173,840 kilowatt-hours of electricity saved per year.

Environmental Impacts of All CVG Paper Reduction Programs

As demonstrated in the previous sections, CVG’s paper reduction programs have some very definite environmental impacts. Table 5.1 demonstrates the sum total of these environmental impacts. Due to its paper reduction policies, CVG saved an estimated 3865.8 trees, 1,845,600 gallons of water, 682.2 cubic yards of landfill space, 1128 lbs. of pollution effluents, and 1,058,018 Kilowatt-hours of electricity in 1997. Having demonstrated the environmental impacts of CVG’s paper reduction programs, the next section demonstrates the environmental impacts of CVG’s PET plastic reduction program.

Table 5.1: Detail of Annual Environmental Impact from Paper Reduction Programs
Paper Reduction Policy Trees Saved Water Saved (Gal) Landfill Space Saved (Cu Yd) Pollution Effluents Prevented (lbs) Electricity saved (KWh)
Two-Sided Copying 231.2 278,800 40.8 816 146,676
E-Mail 88.4 106,600 15.6 312 56,082
Recycled Paper Purchasing 720.8 296,800 127.2 unknown 173,840
Paper Recycling 2825.4 1,163,400 498.6 unknown 681,420
Totals 3865.8 1,845,600 682.2 1128 1,058,018

Environmental Impacts of CVG Plastic Reduction Programs

As a result of packaging reduction programs at CVG, an estimated 305.5 tons of polyethylene terylate (PET) plastic source reduction is attained per year. As a result of this program, CVG saves over $1.25 million per year in production costs. This program also creates ecological benefits. The focus of this section will be to discuss these ecological benefits. The Association of Plastic Manufacturers

in Europe (APME) has completed a life cycle analysis on PET plastic*. The information in the upcoming sections is based on this life cycle analysis.

* It should be noted that APME represents the plastics industry in Europe and its life cycle analysis reflects European environmental impacts.

Gross Energy

One resource that goes into the production of PET plastic is energy. Table 5.2 demonstrates that it takes 83.8 MegaJoules of gross energy to produce 1 Kg of PET plastic.

Table 5.2: Total Gross Energy (in megajoules) to Produce 1 Kg PET Plastic
    Average
Fuels Coal 3.89
  Oil 15.96
  Gas 16.66
  Hydro .55
  Nuclear .82
  Other .10
Feedstocks Coal .01
  Oil 33.18
  Gas 12.63
Total Gross Energy (Fuels plus Feedstock)   83.80

Given that CVG saves 305.5 tons of PET plastic per year, the total estimated annual gross energy savings amounts to 23,271,218 MegaJoules or 6,464,227 kilowatt-hours.

Raw Materials

Raw materials are also required to produce PET plastic. As Table 5.3 demonstrates, several raw materials (mostly water) totaling 17.51 kg go into the manufacture of 1 kg of PET plastic.

Table 5.3: Total Raw Materials to Produce 1 Kg PET Plastic
Raw Materials Unit Average
Bauxite mg 310
Sodium Chloride mg 4900
Clay mg 1
Ferromanganese mg 1
Iron Ore mg 550
Limestone mg 270
Manganese mg 50
Metallurgic Coal mg 230
Sand mg 20
Water mg 17,500,000
Phosphate Rock mg 30
Total Raw Materials kg 17.51

As a result of CVG’s 305.5 tons of PET plastic reduction, an estimated 5349 tons of raw materials are saved per year.

Air Emissions

The manufacture of PET plastic also creates air emissions. Table 5.4 demonstrates that 2.45 kg of air emissions are created per kg of PET produced.

Table 5.4: Total Air Emissions to Produce 1 Kg PET Plastic
Air Emissions Unit Average
Dust mg 3,800
Carbon Monoxide mg 18,000
Carbon Dioxide mg 2,330,000
Nitrogen oxides mg 20,200
Sulphur oxides mg 25,000
Hydrogen Chloride mg 110
Hydrocarbons mg 40,000
Organics mg 9,400
Metals mg 10
Total Air Emissions kg 2.45

Therefore, by reducing PET plastic packaging by 305.5 tons per year, CVG is reducing air emissions by 747 tons per year.

Water Emissions

In the process of manufacturing PET plastic, several water pollutants are emitted in industry effluents. Table 5.5 demonstrates that 21,461 mg of water emissions are created from the production of 1 kg of PET plastic.

Table 5.5: Total Water Emissions to Produce 1 Kg PET Plastic
Water Emissions Unit Average
COD mg 3,300
BOD mg 1,000
Sodium ions mg 1,500
Acid as H+ mg 180
Metals mg 120
Chloride Ions mg 710
Dissolved Organics mg 13,000
Suspended Solids mg 600
Detergent/oil mg 20
HydroCarbons mg 400
Dissolved Solids mg 580
Phosphate as P2O5 mg 10
Sulphate ions mg 40
Other Nitrogen mg 1
Total Water Emissions mg 21,461

Therefore, by reducing PET plastic packaging by 305.5 tons, CVG is preventing 6.6 tons of water emissions per year.

Solid Waste

One by-product of manufacturing PET plastic is solid waste. Table 5.6 demonstrates that 45,130 mg of solid waste is created in the production of 1 kg of PET plastic.

Table 5.6: Total Solid Waste to Produce 1 Kg PET Plastic
Solid Waste Unit Average
Mineral Waste mg 30,000
Stags and Ash mg 9,600
Mixed Industrial mg 3,500
Regulated Chemicals mg 130
Inert Chemicals mg 1,900
Total Solid Waste mg 45,130

Therefore, by reducing its PET plastic packaging by 305.5 tons, CVG prevents an estimated 13.8 tons of solid waste from being created.

Analysis of Data

As demonstrated in this section, CVG’s plastic reduction program results in considerable environmental impacts. By reducing PET plastic packaging by 305.5 tons per year, CVG saves nearly 6.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 5349 tons of raw materials (mostly water). In addition, 747 tons of air emissions, 6.6 tons of water emissions, and 13.8 tons of solid waste are prevented.

Conclusion>>>

Last updated: January 1, 1997
Business Resource Efficiency & Waste Reduction, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/ReduceWaste/Business/
Business Assistance: BzAssist@calrecycle.ca.gov