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3 QUESTIONS
2
Exercise 1.
Disposable diapers have been shown to have an equivalent impact on the environment,
surprisingly, when the laundering and the energy needs to reuse a cloth diaper are taken into
account. Scientists have said that it will be “years” upon years before there is any meaningful
degradation in the reusable diaper, given that it takes over a decade for a head of turnip to
disintegrate, in conditions of very poor air circulation and sunlight (Onion, 2005).
Most disposable diapers are created in part from plastics, using a variation of poly-
ethanol compounds, with small amounts of metallic and cloth components as well. There may be
usage of rubber in some amounts as well. In total, in the United States alone, disposable diapers
generate around 3.4 million tons of waste. This translates to a mind-boggling 2.1 percent of all
garbage we stow in a landfill each year. Due to the components used, this could have tremendous
COD requirements.
When we compare that percentage with other items, such as milk cartons, cosmetic
products, amount of paper, organic waste etc. we quickly realize the magnanimity of the
proportion that merely – diapers – are using in a typical landfill. That percentage relates to more
than 1 out of fifty parts by volume!
Exercise 2
I thought I had come up with the perfect idea in 2005, when touch screen phones were
starting to gain in popularity. Because they utilized a stilus, there were high chances of the
screen being scratched and we decided to create screen protectors using cellophane. For this we
acquired the harder sheets of cellophanes from an industrial store. We also bought a minimal
3 QUESTIONS
thickness, sheer form of cellophane. Lastly, non-corrosive adhesive solution was also acquired.
In the steps to acquire these products, the waste was mainly in the form of the fuel usage (the
processing of these sheets and the production of the glue). The oxidized fuels of our vehicle
entered the atmosphere, mainly in form of oxides of Sulphur and Nitrogen. Amount of soot
particles too entered the atmosphere.
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Processing involved us using an industrial applier of glue to leave an infinitesimally thin
layer on top of the thick sheet. Adhesive application resulted in some waste – but this glue was
all organic, rubber based. The sheets were compacted. Thereafter, we took rectangular shapes
large enough to circumscribe any phone screen. Waste was produced in edging and cutting the
sheets – both the thick and the thin ones, up in sale-able sizes. Thereafter, the product was
packed in minimalist packing to be home-shipped. The waste of plastics was disposed off in a
recycling bin in our community and it was processed in a recycling plant.
Car manufacturers like Subaru and Honda have become entirely landfill-free, therefore
not sending any waste to a landfill. This does not mean that these companies do not produce
waste. Instead, everything is recycled.
Exercise 3
The new landfill under construction is different from the current landfill for many
reasons. Some differences include the fact that there is no open burning, odor is minimized, and
efforts are made to prevent groundwater pollution. All of these reasons are in favor of the
environment, and are greener than earlier practices. By not openly burning the trash, the landfill
is minimizing their air pollution. This is also seen through their efforts to minimize the odor that
comes from the new landfill. New landfill is also superior over the current landfill based on the
3 QUESTIONS
new efforts to protect the purity of groundwater. Earlier construction of the landfill failed to take
this into account and therefore led to polluted groundwater. This in turn led to individuals who
consumed the water in neighboring communities were adversely affected by the pollution that
came from the old construction. These efforts are also superior to the current landfill as the new
construction allows more waste to be processed at a lower cost (Nemerow, Agardy, and Salvato,
2009). Additionally, the new construction is designed in such a way that the land can be reused
once filled. Overall, the benefits of the new construction are superior over current conditions.
They not only work to protect the environment but also focus upon reusing the land and saving
money in the process (Zimmerman, 2008).
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