Several are local celebrities. One is a retired Swiss orthopedic surgeon, one a Vietnam vet, one a registered nurse, one a global tour guide; and, yet another is a political blogger with his remaining hair on fire. All live off the grid trying to minimize the amount of waste generated by each household.
One book making the rounds is Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.
Food scraps go to chickens or are composted, paper not recycled is stored to start fires, but one material in the waste stream remains a challenge: glass. It takes enormous amounts of energy to melt and millions of yards of earth every year to mine the silica used in its manufacture.
Santa Fe County does a lousy job recycling or repurposing glass.
Officials are working to change the fact that Santa Fe only diverted roughly 8.4 percent of its waste stream to recycling in fiscal year 2013, a number revealed by a draft of an external audit. That number represents a steady worsening of recyling habits, down from 9 percent in 2011. For now, however, there’s a temporary use for some of the excess glass. Officials have been busy blasting away thousands of cubic yards of basalt rock at Caja Del Rio landfill. The construction of the new cell will help lengthen the life of the landfill to keep it up with the 300 million pounds of trash it collects annually—5.5 pounds of waste per resident per day. The agency estimates that it will spend over $5 million to construct the new cell. In a bid that’s due this month, companies are vying to be selected by the entity to use some of that glass as a lining for the landfill to help prevent contamination. [Justin Horwath, Santa Fe Reporter]Now open pit frac sand mines are competing to tear into yet another thousand acres.
Right now the ceramic alternatives are much more expensive, but companies are experimenting with different ways to bring the cost down. One idea is to manufacture it near where the fracking is taking place, using local clay. For now, sand remains king. It makes up about 90 percent of the proppant market overall, according to Brian Olmen of Kelrik, a Wisconsin-based consulting firm that analyzes the industrial minerals industry. [Minnesota Public Radio]The US has thousands of mountains of glass cullet from the municipal waste stream just waiting to be repurposed: Japan recycles nearly 100% of her glass.
We sell millions of tons of salvage material to India and Asia to be recycled while tearing up our own ground mining for virgin minerals while steel and plastics that could be petroleum are buried in landfills.