Info On Recycling
THESE ARE THE ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF RECYCLING?
In South Africa there has been a very important change in the way that we manage our waste. If waste cannot be made useful, only then should it be collected, treated and disposed of.
Recycling waste materials creates a variety of economic and environmental benefits both locally and globally. For every one job waste disposal creates, recycling creates 5-10 jobs.
REGULATIONS SUCH AS:
- Targets set by government and enforced by law to promote recycling and reuse. Such targets should set realistic levels of recycling within timeframes and be agreed in consultation with the key role players in the recycling chain. A phased approach should be adopted to achieve such targets:
- Inclusion in Intergrated Waste Management Plans which are an element of a municipality’s Intergrated Development Plan
- Requiring business and industry to produce recycling plans as part of their broader environmental strategy
- Municipality and other government departments adopting a procurement policy that requires a certain propotion of the products they purchase to contain recycled material e.g paper, lubricating oil, traffic cones, cartridges
- Registration of recyclers with the municipality
- Municipal support for recycling initiatives in the form of bylaws that facilitate the location, operation and use of such facilities.
WHAT IS RECYCLING AND WHERE DOES IT FIT IN TERMS OF INTREGRATED WASTE MANAGEMENT?
Recycling is the process whereby discarded products and materials are reclaimed or recovered, refined or processed, and converted into new or different products. This term is often used in a wider sense to describe the complete cycle, from collection to production, of new objects, or secondary raw materials, from reclaimed material.
Driving and the Environment
Save money by reducing CO²
Whether you drive for business or pleasure, there are increasing numbers of vehicles on our roads today. This has a major impact on the environment and as drivers we need to be aware that making a few minor adjustments to regular car journeys can not only save you and the company money, but also contribute to the conservation of our planet (see tips for energy-efficient driving throughout the brochure).
There are two main environmental issues caused by driving:
Fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, are a limited resource.
An increase in man-made (anthropogenic) activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, leads to high CO² concentrations and enhances the green house effect (how the atmosphere warms the Earth). This combined natural and anthropogenic effect is believed to be contributing to an increase, over time, of the Earth’s average temperature, otherwise known as Global Warming.
Environmental impact of vehicles.
What happens during fuel combustion?
To make the engine work, heat has to be produced and this is provided by the combustion of fuel (petrol, diesel or liquefied petroleum gas). During this process various chemical substances are produced and emitted into the atmosphere.
CO²: Carbon Dioxide
Carbon Dioxide is a gas that is naturally available as 0.03% of the air. In small amounts it is non-poisonous, but in high concentrations it can have a narcotic or asphyxiating effect.
CO² has increased by 14% in the last 100 years. This is due to the rise in coal, natural gas and heating oil as well as increasing deforestation. Any further increase can cause global warming and this will have a worldwide effect on the climate.
CO: Carbon Monoxide
For a long time now, CO concentration has been monitored during vehicle inspection tests.
In low concentration it can cause headaches, nausea and dizziness, but in high concentrations CO can have a fatal impact.
NOx: Nitrogen Oxides
Driving at high revs and high speeds will produce large amounts of Nitrogen Oxide emissions. These are highly poisonous and even low concentrations cause irritation of the mucous membrane, lungs and eyes.
NOx is also responsible for acid rain and the rapid weathering of buildings.
The best exhaust gas purification is the ‘three-way-catalytic converter’. It transforms CO, HC and NOx into the less toxic substances carbon dioxide, water vapour and nitrogen.
How does a catalytic converter function?
A substance is known as a catalyst if its presence encourages or facilitates a chemical process, but does not alter its own structure in the process.
This is how a car’s catalytic converter works. The interior contains the ‘actual’ catalyst: the precious metals platinum, rhodium and palladium. The thin layers ensure that the carriers are as large as possible and run along numerous channels within a ceramic filter (comparable with a perforated brick). This increases the effective surface to the size of a football field.
To sum up:
- The closed-loop catalytic converter converts a great amount of pollutions into less harmful substances.
- However, the catalytic converter doesn’t have any effect on some pollutants.
- Pollutants caused by fuel combustion are one thing, but other burdens on the environment remain (e.g. noise, abrasion, wear).
- Progress in technology and legislation are to some extend negated again by increasing traffic density.
Exhaust Emission Test
Poorly maintained motor vehicles can emit up to 10 times more pollutants than regularly serviced vehicles.
Many countries now require exhaust emission tests at regular intervals. This ensures that vehicles are properly maintained and the test also reveals the effectiveness of the emission system.
The main emissions are: nitrogen gas (N2),carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour (H2O).
These emissions are mostly harmless although it is considered that carbon dioxide contributes to global warming.