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 CVGs 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 CVGs 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 CVGs 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 Threes 1997 audit report, CVGs 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.
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 CVGs 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.
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, CVGs 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 CVGs paper reduction programs, the next section demonstrates the environmental impacts of CVGs PET plastic reduction program.
|Paper Reduction Policy||Trees Saved||Water Saved (Gal)||Landfill Space Saved (Cu Yd)||Pollution Effluents Prevented (lbs)||Electricity saved (KWh)|
|Recycled Paper Purchasing||720.8||296,800||127.2||unknown||173,840|
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.
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.
|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 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.
|Total Raw Materials||kg||17.51|
As a result of CVGs 305.5 tons of PET plastic reduction, an estimated 5349 tons of raw materials are saved per year.
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.
|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.
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.
|Acid as H+||mg||180|
|Phosphate as P2O5||mg||10|
|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.
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.
|Stags and Ash||mg||9,600|
|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, CVGs 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.
Business Resource Efficiency & Waste Reduction, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/ReduceWaste/Business/
Business Assistance: BzAssist@calrecycle.ca.gov