Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 4, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
THE IETHBMDGE HERALD - THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 1971. Lefs clear the air Put the lid on pollution A better kept environment There's gold in that garbage Each day the average American tosses out more than Vk lbs. of solid waste. Garbage is piling up so fast that cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco may run out of landfill dumps by the end of this year. The obvious answer is to reuse all kinds of materials that are now being junked. But so far, the U.S. lacks enough incentives' to make "re-cycling" economically attractive. Americans have become so prosperous that old ideas like deposit bottles no longer work. Who besides tiny children wants to lug empties back to the store just to collect a few cents? Fortunately, a new technology of profitable recycling may soon emerge. In Delaware's New Castle County, for example, a company called Hercules, Inc. has plans for a remarkable plant that would gobble up anything from beer cans to tires, shred the stuff into small chunks, separate the different materials, and disgorge salable granules of glass, steel, aluminum and shredded paper. Organic wastes would be turned into a rich compost Useless re- fuse would be incinerated, or "pyrolyzed" - burned in virtually airless furnaces. The state of Delaware has put up $1,000,000 of the plant's $10 million building cost. If the Federal Government 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 materials. Edible Paper. In Manhattan mis week, officials of the Aluminum Association and The Rust Engineering Co. announced plans for a $15.8 million recycling plant near Washington. The plan has been submitted for consideration to the nonprofit National Centre for Solid Waste Disposal, Inc., which evaluates and promotes waste-disposal techniques presented by.various industries. If such industries are willing to share the cost, the plant will serve as a "national laboratory" where municipalities and private contractors can shop for ideas. The Aluminum Association is convinced that the Washington plant could turn 130,000 tons of refuse a year into 52,000 tons of raw materials worth $833,000 on the open market. Among them: glass to help surface highways and pellet ized paper to be used as a blend for fertilizer, insulation products and additives in pet foods. The plant's incinerators would also generate steam for sale to utilities. If a city of 200,000 built such a plant, says the association, the net cost would be $286,-000 a year, compared with $910,-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 25 composting plants which convert organic wastes to fertilizer and soil conditioner, have opened since the end of World War II - and nearly all have closed. And a supping market for manure fertilizer has aggravated the problem of disposing of animal wastes. New chemical fertilizers have killed off both markets. . It can also be difficult to dispose of scrap metal. Arthur D. little, be., 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, has generally declined from a post-war high of $54 per gross ton, in 1956, to quotations last year of about $28 a ton. The explanation for the sagging 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 switching to the basic oxygen fur- Mass., Chemical Construction Corp. will install a $5-million sulfur dioxide removal system for a 150-megawatt Boston Edison Co. oil-fueled steam generating plant. The sulfur will be scrubbed from the stack gasses with water and then converted to a solid, magnesium sulfite, to facilitate shipment to an E s s e x Chemical Corp. plant near Providence. There, the sulfur win be converted to sulfuric add, releasing the magnesium That alone cut the price for scrap steel nearly in half. More recently, some small steel mills have started using the electric melting furance, which can take a 100 per cent scap 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. subsidiary in Cleveland, collected $140-million 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 Rouge plant "There doesn't have to be an old car problem in this district," says Carl S. Abkm, president of Luria and of Ogde" Metals, Inc. "We will take all the cars there are." Returnable Cars. At least 100 municipalities, universities and industries are working on the solid - waste problem. Max Spendlove, research director of the U.S. Bureau of Mines' Metallurgy Research Center at College Park, MD., is reclaiming glass and metals from residue scooped from incinerators. At a cost of $3.52 a ton, he says, his methods yield materials with a potential market value of $12 a ton. Last week New York City's environmental protection ad- ministrator, Jerome Kretch-mer, suggested a way to recycle the 73,000 cars that New Yorkers abandon on the streets each year. He urged the state to enact a law making auto buyers give the state a $100 deposit for new cars, auto owners $50 for their present car. Once the cars were junked "in an environmentally acceptable manner," the money would be refunded - the old returnable-bottle scheme, but this time with a deposit worth collecting. -Time Magazine. Plastics troublesome Refusing solid waste has become more difficult. Industry has developed few secondary uses for plastics beyond burning them to produce energy. But plastics are troublesome to Soil may he help with city sewage In the future many cities faced with a sewage disposal problem may turn to the soil, with its great capacity for rendering injurious materials harmless. Dr. D. C. McKay, head of the soils section of the Lethbridge Research Station, said this idea was stressed at a recent meeting of the American Soil Science Society, at New Or- He said the city of Chicago is already preparing to use a system of dumping sewage sludge onto the land. It provides a double benefit - taking care of the harmful sewage and fertilizing the land. The sludge from the city's sewage system is enough to fertilize 20,000 acres a year. Corn can be grown on the highly-fertile land. The sewage sludge is digested through aeration before being 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 sewage disposal - mainly lakes and rivers - because of pollution hazards. Reg Milne, of the soil science section, Lethbridge Research Station, is working on an experiment which considers the use of land to handle the disposal of sewer sludge and effluent. Dr. McKay said soil pollution is also a matter of concern 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 monitoring on soil pollution in Alberta - no routine checks made. There is a pollution committee which has a soil pollution subcommittee. Dr. Theron Som-merfeldt of the Lethbridge Research Station is on the subcommittee. Fire pollution AKRON, Ohio - Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. is now building a pilot plant for pollution-free disposal of worn-out tires. If the project is successful, Firestone will set up 10 full-scale plants around the country, each capable of converting 100,000 tons of scrap tires per year into resuable chemicals and raw materials. burn, they do not disintegrate, and are tough to compact. Textile 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 markets for scrap steel and scrap aluminum, but they do not support the cost of prying aluminum tops from steel cans. Industry and corporate efforts to encourage recycling get blocked at operational levels. Recycling affects the profitability of the plant and interferes with the manager's bonus, nus. Households and industry work together to obstruct recycling. The housewife does not return the bottle to the stare. The store would not take it, anyway. And the bottler will not have it because he no longer has the equipment to clean it. "For glass," adds the Midwest Research study, "the non-returnable beverage bottle is a last major growth frontier." Consumers favor "virgin" materials. "Virgin wool" on the label sells sweaters. "Reprocessed wool" does not. "Most people see a virgin product as something esthetically clean." "But have you ever seen a Are you a litterbug?