According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) most recent estimates, Canada exports approximately 4 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) to the United States each year while the United States exports roughly 12,000 tons a year, primarily from Maine to New Brunswick.
“Currently, MSW is not counted and reported to EPA as it crosses the border,” said Richard Yost, press officer at the EPA. “When MSW is exported from Canada into the United Sates it is still considered non-hazardous. EPA does not regulate the transportation of non-hazardous waste,” he added.
By volume, MSW is Canada’s largest export and most all of it goes to United States landfills for the simple reason it is a whole lot cheaper. That explains why many large landfills are situated just across the border from Canada’s major population centers. ...read more
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Waste in the Walls: Cellulose Insulation Keeps Paper Out of Landfills
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that Americans generated a total of 243 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) during 2009, the lion share of which was paper and paperboard at a whopping 28.2 percent. For comparison, the next largest category, food scraps, comprised only 14.1 percent of the total.
Food decomposes quickly, but buried paper, sheltered from rain and air, is highly resistant to deterioration when compacted in a landfill. Garbage archeologists have actually excavated perfectly readable newspapers that are more than 50 years old.
In 2009, 68.4 million tons of MSW paper and paperboard were generated and 42.5 million tons recovered, leaving 25.9 million tons going to landfills – a huge waste of an otherwise valuable commodity.
While recycling paper generally entails the consumption of chemicals and the production of emissions, there is one notable exception: recycled cellulose insulation. Newspapers and other paper sources are promptly ground up, treated with chemicals and go on to long and useful lives keeping homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer. It is potentially one of the greenest recycling routes, and an ideal strategy for conserving ever more costly landfill space. ...read more