Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 4, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
THt UTH8HIDCE HERALD THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 1971 Let's clear the air Put the lid on pollution A better kept environment There's gold in that garbage Each day the average Ameri- can tosses out more than ibs. of solid waste. Garbage is piling up so fast that cities like Philadelphia and San Francis- co may run out of landfill dumps by the end of this year. Tho obvious answer is to re- use all kinds of materials that are now being junked. But so far, the U.S. lacks enough In- centives to make "re-cycling" economically attractive. Amer- icans nave become so prosper- ous that old ideas like deposit bottles no longer work. Who be- sides tiny children wants to lug empties back to the store just to collect a few cents? Fortunately, a new technol- ogy at profitable recycling may soon emerge. In Delaware's New Castle County, for ex- ample, a company called Her- cules, Inc. has plans for a re- markable plant that would gob- ble up anything from beer cans to tires, shred the stuff into small chunks separate the dif- ferent materials, and disgorgo salable granules of glass, steel, aluminum ami shredded paper. Organic wastes would be turned into a rich compost. Useless re- fuse would be Incinerated, or "pyrolyzcd" burned in vir- tually airless furnaces. The state of Delaware has put up of the plan t's million building cost. If the federal Oovernmont agrees to share the rest, by next year the plant could handle 570 tons of refuse a day while turning out 262 tons of re-usable mater- ials. Edible Paper. In Manhattan this week, officials of the Alu- minum Association and The Rust Engineering Co. announc- ed plans for a million re- cycling plant near Washington. The plan has been submitted for consideration to the non- profit National Centre for Solid Waste Disposal, Inc., which evaluates and promotes waste- disposal techniques presented by various industries. If sucb industries are willing to share the cost, the plant will serve as a "national laboratory" where municipalities and private con- tractors can shop for ideas. The Aluminum Association is convinced that the Washington plant could turn tons of refuse a year into tons of raw materials worth on the open market. Among them: glass to help sxirface highways and pelletized paper to be used as a blond for fer- tilizer, insulation products and additives in pet foods. The plant's incinerators would also generate steam for sale to utili- ties. If a city of built such a plant, says the associa- tion, the net cost would be 000 a year, compared with 000 for handling the same amount of refuse by present disposal methods. Sulfur oxides can be beat Perhaps 20 companies are wrestling with collecting and converting to useful material the stubborn sulfur oxides that escape from utility and smelter smoke stacks. In Everett, 25 plants The market can be rough on the recycling Industry. Some 23 composting plants which con- vert organic wastes to fertilizer jtnd ioU conditioner, have open- ed since the end of World War II and nearly all have closed. And a slipping market for ma- nure fertilizer has aggravated the problem of disposing of ani- mal wastes. New chemical fer- tilizers have killed oft both markets. It can also be difficult to dis- pose of scrap metal. Arthur D. Little, Inc., found 13 municipal incinerators around the country equipped to trap such metal. Two are closed for lack of scrap metal markets. The price for heavy melting scrap, a study by Little found, lias generally declined from a post-war high of per gross ton, In 1956, to quotations last year of about 428 n ton. The explanation for the sag- ging market lies in Pittsburgh. For years, the steel industry used open hearth furnaces, which could take a heavy (45 per cent) scrap charge. In the 1960s, companies began switch- Ing to the basic oxygen fur- nace. Mass., Chemical Construction Corp. will install a sulfur dioxide removal system for a 150-megawatt Boston Edi- son Co. oil-fueled steam gener- ating plant. The sulfur will be scrubbed from the stack gasscs with water and then converted to a solid, magnesium sulfite, to fa- cilitate shipment to an E s s e x Chemical Corp. plant near Providence. There, the sulfur will be converted to sulfuric acid, releasing the magnesium oxide. That alone cut the price for scrap stool nearly m half. More recently, some small steel mills have started using the electric melting furance, which can take a 100 per cent s c a p charge. That, and a buildup in world steel demand, have jacked prices up again. Some scrap companies have plenty of business. Luria Bros, and Co., an Ogden Corp. sub- sidiary in Cleveland, collected in sales last year. Luria, heavily equipped with sophisticated salvaging and shredding machinery, sells auto scrap to Ford Motor Co., which melts it down at its River Rougo plant "There doesn't have to be an old car problem in this dis- says Carl S Ablxm, presi- dent of Luria and of O g d e Metals, Inc. "We will take all the cars there Returnable Cars. At least 100 rmmicipalities, universities and industries 'are working on the solid waste problem. Max Spcndlove, research director of the U.S. Bureau of Mines' Met- allurgy Research Center at Col- lege Park, MD., is reclaiming glass and metals from residue scooped from incinerators. At a cost of a ton, he says, his methods yield materials with a potential market value of a ton. Last week New York City's environmental protection ad- ministrator, Jerome Kretch- mer, suggested a way to re- cycle the cars that New Yorkers abandon on the streets each year. He urged the slate to enact a law making auto buyers give the state a de- posit for new cars, auto owners for their present car. Once the cars were junked "in an en- vironmentally acceptable man- the money would be re- funded the old returnable- bottle scheme, but this time with a deposit worth collecting. Magazine. Plastics troublesome Refusing solid waste has be- come mo-re difficult. Industry has developed, few secondary uses for plastics beyond burn- ing them to produce energy. But plastics are troublesome to Soil may be help with city sewage In the future many cities laced with a sewage disposal problem may turn to the soil, with its great capacity for ren- dering injurious materials harmless. Dr. D. C. McKay, head of the soils section of the Lothbridgc Research Station, said this idea was stressed at a recent meeting of the American Soil Science Society, at New Or- leans. He said the city of Chicago is already preparing to usa a system of dumping sewage sludge onto the land. It pro- vides a double benefit tak- ing care of the harmful sew- age and fertilizing the land. The sludge from the city's sewage system is enough to fertilize acres a year. Corn can be grown on the highly-fertile land. The sewage sludge is digest- ed through aeration before be- ing spread on the land. The soil's capacity to absorb the sludge is about one inch per year. The dry matter weight of the one-inch covering on an acre would be about 18 tons. Many large centres in North America are having to turn from the old avenues of sew- age disposal mainly lakes and rivers because of pollu- tion hazards. Reg Milne, of the soil science section, Lethbridge Research Station, is working on an ex- periment which considers the use of land to handle the uis- posal of sewer sludge and ef- fluent. Dr. McKay said soil pollu- tion is also a matter of con- cern as part of the over all pollution problem. He said a recent meeting of the western section, National Soil Fertility Committee, considered the matter of increasing concern in western Canada. First thoughts of soil pollution deal with over-use of fertilizers and weed and bug killers. There is no routine monitor- ing on soil pollution in Alberta no routine checks made. There is a pollution committee which has a soil pollution sub- committee. Dr. Theron Som- merfeldt of the Lethbridge Research Station is on the sub- committee. Fire pollution AKRON, Ohio Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. is now building a pilot plant for pollu- tion-free disposal of worn-out tires. If the project is success- ful, Firestone will set up 10 full- scale plants around the coun- try, each capable of converting tons of scrap tires per year into resuable chemicals and raw materials. burn, they do not disintegrate, and are tough to compact. Tex- tile wastes, now blended with synthetics, cannot be turned to paper pulp, Some bottles wear metallic nooses, left from twist- off tops, that are too costly to remove to permit reclamation of the glass. There are mar- kets for scrap steel and scrap aluminum, but they do not sup- port thte cost of prying alumi- num tops from steel cans. Industry and corporate ef- forts to encourage recycling get blocked at operational levels. Recycling affects the profit- ability of the plant and inter- feres with the manager's bonus, nus. Households and industry work together to obstruct re- cycling. The housewife does not return the bottle tx> the store. The store would not take it, anyway. And the bottler will not have it because be no long- er has the equipment to clean it. "For adds the Mid- west Research study, "the non- returnable beverage bottle is a last major growth Consumers favor "virgin" materials. "Virgin wool" on the label sells sweaters. "Repro- cessed wool" does not. "Most people see a virgin product as something esthetically clean." "But have you ever seen a Are you a litterbug?