ECON 330 PROJECT 2

ECON 330 PROJECT 2

ECON 330 PROJECT 2

Introduction

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) provides valuable insights into the world of hazardous chemicals and waste management activities. This comprehensive database contains information that is regularly reported by U.S. industries and federal facilities, allowing members of the public to access real-time data on the release of toxic chemicals into the environment (Collins et al., 2020). Since its creation in 1986, it has become an invaluable tool for researchers, activists, and policymakers seeking to understand potential risks posed by these substances, as well as potential solutions. By offering such a rich data source and propelling discourse on the issue, TRI is helping to ensure a safe and healthy M environment for all citizens now and in the future. California Environmental Protection Agency’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) ensures that a comprehensive understanding of those toxic chemicals released and handled by facilities is held at all times through its event reporting requirements (Lee & Bi, 2020). The accessibility of this data allows members of the public to monitor potentially hazardous activities occurring within their communities, providing another layer to their safety and peace of mind. Through this program, California has created a higher standard for environmental transparency and accountability.

TRI Facilities in The State of California

The Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) documents toxic chemicals released into the environment, providing individuals with important information. In California alone, there are 1,191 TRI facilities where hazardous substances may be present. Comparatively, on a national scale there are 21,340 TRI facilities in operation across the United States. This vast presence of facilities highlights how big of an issue toxic releases are and that it should be taken seriously. It is essential for Californians to stay informed about environmental issues and keep watchful of any potential toxins that may arise from these facilities in order to protect their health and well-being. California has recently been ranked 49 out of 56 states in regards to the highest production of solid waste per capita. This is an alarming statistic given that California is one of the most populous states and consequently produces a significant amount of waste which may contribute to environmental harm if not managed properly. This calls for more stringent efforts from key stakeholders within the state to reduce the generation of solid waste and promote recycling, composting, and other forms of reuse while also fortifying existing infrastructure related to managing waste appropriately. In addition, attention should be focused on changing consumer behaviors in order to ensure an adequate reduction in how much trash is disposed off each year. There are several solutions available and it is important that California takes action now before its environmental situation gets out of hand.

Pounds of Tri-listed Chemicals and Percent of Total Production-related Waste In 2019

California is leading the nation when it comes to production-related waste management by facilities within the state, with 288.365 million pounds of TRI-listed chemicals being managed compared to 30.7 billion pound nationally (Singh et al., 2020). This impressive outcome is owed in large part to policies and regulations set forth by the California state government that aim to reduce hazardous waste whereas other states have yet to implement such benchmarks. Further strides towards improved sustainability and comprehensive waste management systems can be achieved through instituting similar standards in other states, thus reducing toxic waste across the country as a whole. California’s waste management efforts in 2019 were stellar and should be commended. 32% of total production-related waste was kept out of landfills, with 19% being transformed into a usable form such as electricity or heat generation (Lee & Bi, 2020). 35% of the remaining waste underwent treatment prior to disposal, with 13% released in an undisclosed manner (but monitored carefully for safety). The collective efforts shown by California’s governments and industries represent a commendable commitment to environmental consciousness and responsibility, setting an example that all states should strive to emulate.

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Percentage of The Total Disposed Chemical Wastes in 2019

California is successfully leading the way towards a more sustainable future. In 2019, 38.7% were disposed of on

ECON 330 PROJECT 2
ECON 330 PROJECT 2

land, 18.5% in air, and 35.6% were other releases or off-site disposals, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual survey of Toxic Chemical Releases (TRI) (Kamra et al., 2019). The lowest category was water with just 7.2% chemical wastes being disposed of– a feat that was drastically lower than the national average which had 73% on land, 20 % in air and 7% in water or 3 billion lbs equivalent. It is clear that California is taking advantage of active emission management and is making conscious efforts to improve their environment. This could serve as an example for countries around the world to learn from and follow as they enact effective measures to maximize sustainability efforts. California is the leader in the handling of TRI-listed chemical waste. Compared to the national total of 30,7 billion pounds of production-related trash handled, California establishments manage 288.365 million pounds.

Top Five Chemical Wastes Released to the Water and Air in California

California has seen an alarming rise in air pollution in recent years, with styrene and ammonia topping the list of chemicals released into the atmosphere. The other top contributors include hydrogen cyanide, certain glycol ethers, and sulfuric acid (Rath et al., 2021). Although policymakers have implemented a number of initiatives in order to reduce emission levels, with varying amounts of success, statistics suggest that more needs to be done in order to truly combat this issue. It is important that decision makers take much-needed action in order to reverse the current status of California’s air pollution levels and guarantee safe breathing for its citizens now, and for future generations. Signing state-wide agreements on emissions standards is a smart first step for California to take in order to begin reducing emissions and comply with federal rules. There are several pristine bodies of water throughout California, as well as numerous sources of industrial and agricultural contaminants that threaten these places. A recent analysis identified the top five pollutants discharged into the seas of California: Nitrate compounds, Ammonia, Zinc compounds, Nickel compounds, Cresol, and other more. Despite the fact that the presence of each molecule differs across locations, the quantity of Nitrate compounds released was 99 percent more than that of other chemicals. Despite the fact that there are still a significant number of problems afflicting our state’s waterways, it is gratifying to observe how dramatically these numbers have fallen over the years due to increased awareness and stricter pollution restrictions.

Source Reduction (Pollution Prevention)

Source reduction is an important part of environmental sustainability practices. It is a preventive approach to pollution risk management and is preferable for controlling negative environmental effects, instead of the more conventional practices of remediation or cleanup after a pollutant has been discharged into the environment. Source reduction seeks to reduce or eliminate hazardous materials that are created during industrial operations. This can be done through process modifications, improved product design, efficient industrial operations, and increased use of renewable resources. Source reduction methods can also benefit society by decreasing operational costs associated with production, reducing waste disposal costs, increasing energy savings and enhancing profitability and productivity. Practicing source reduction is a key component of taking responsibility for the impacts of our actions on the environment and society. The main source reduction activities in California include Spill and leak prevention , Good operating practices, and Process modifications.

Top Five Establishments by Total Disposal or Other Releases in California

As responsible citizens of California, it is essential for us to be aware of the top establishments for hazardous waste disposal in our state. These five facilities — Chemical Waste Management INT, Clean Harbors Buttonwillow LLC, Quemetco INC, Tesoro Los Angeles Refinery-Carson Operations and Martinez Refining Co. LLC — provide cost-effective disposal services while ensuring compliance with regulatory laws. With their expertise and practical solutions they can help reduce or eliminate the amount of hazardous materials that might otherwise enter our environment and cause harm. By being knowledgeable about these establishments, we as residents can contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future for California. Whether individuals or businesses are seeking responsible venues for hazardous waste disposal, these five establishments provide the necessary services to help make our state a healthier place to live. With their expertise and practical solutions they can help reduce or eliminate the amount of hazardous materials that might otherwise enter our environment and cause harm. By being knowledgeable about these establishments, we as residents can contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future for California.

Source reduction is an effective and widespread practice in many industries to save both money and resources while still sustaining quality operations. It can include operating practices and training, inventory and material management, material substitutions, modifications to products and processes, as well as equipment modifications. These strategies allow businesses to reduce costs with minimal disruption to their workflow by analyzing their current processes for more innovative methods of sourcing reduction. Highlighting sources of waste that are having the most impact on production also allows companies to identify cost-reduction efficiencies from source reduction initiatives that are attainable under organized, practical plans. Applying source reduction procedures can be a great win for both businesses and for the environment. As responsible citizens of California, it is essential for us to be aware of the top establishments for hazardous waste disposal in our state. These five facilities — Chemical Waste Management INT, Clean Harbors Buttonwillow LLC, Quemetco INC, Tesoro Los Angeles Refinery-Carson Operations and Martinez Refining Co. LLC — provide cost-effective disposal services while ensuring compliance with regulatory laws.

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Green Chemistry Activities

Green chemistry activities reduce the environmental impact of chemical production processes by cutting down on the use of hazardous and toxic materials. By developing and implementing more efficient processes, green chemistry can conserve resources while creating less waste. Moreover, green chemistry encourages the synthesis of safer alternatives to existing chemicals and products that may have been harmful to human health, flora and fauna, or the environment. Green chemistry principles such as atom economy, biorenewable feedstocks, less hazardous chemical syntheses and safer products demand proactive approaches from chemists in order to design more sustainable processes in all facets of commerce. As green chemistry continues to become integral to successful chemical operations, more opportunities for innovation arise that further protect our environment going forward.

Green chemistry is rapidly becoming a core part of our society, driving innovation to replace more destructive products and processes with biodegradable plastics and renewable energy usage for production. Updating the standards for industry, green chemists are committed to creating environmental sustainability and reducing waste. Ammonia, Styrene, and Hydrogen Cyanid are some of the reported chemicals most often associated with green chemistry initiatives. This noble mission encourages significant progress in many areas and will benefit generations to come. By implementing these ethical practices, it is clear that green chemistry is essential to preserving our world.

Frequently Reported Barriers to Source Reduction For Both Metals and Non-metals Chemicals

Source reduction of both non-metals and metals chemicals can significantly reduce the impact on the environment (Forsyth et al., 2020). For companies looking to reduce their environmental footprint, source reduction is a practical and attractive option. Unfortunately, there are various barriers that prevent effective source reduction from being implemented, such as lack of incentives for employees or management, limited knowledge of how to effectively reduce sources, budget constraints, and hesitant employees and management who are reluctant to make significant changes in processes or materials. Despite these challenges, many companies have successfully reduced sources through granting financial support and incentives to employees, regularly updating regulations and standards, investing in research and development to uncover new methods as well as cost-effective solutions for current methods. Therefore, with careful thought, dedication and commitment many organizations can adopt successful source reduction strategies. Companies in the above industries can save money and resources with careful sourced reductions. Operating practices and training, inventory and material management, material substitutions, modifications to products and processes, as well as equipment modifications are all ways to cut costs while still sustaining quality operations.

Waste Management Trends

California has made remarkable progress in reducing production-related waste over the past few decades. From 2003 to 2019, the number of on-site production releases within the state drastically decreased while production-related waste management trended downwards as well. This decline indicates an environmental priority that is embedded within California policy and foundation for future endeavors towards minimizing industrial waste and protecting natural habitats. Despite its rapid rate of expansion, California has demonstrated that it is possible for the state to increase their productivity but simultaneously reduce the amount of production related waste released during this process. California has made impressive strides in decreasing production-related waste management and on-site production releases over the last 16 years (Ghormley et al., 2020). According to multiple studies, the decrease of toxic industrial pollution released into the atmosphere has led to improvements in air quality across California’s largest cities. Through continued regulation, public advocacy, and research over the past decade, California policymakers have been able to significantly reduce and manage the amount of hazardous materials that are produced from companies in the state. This is a remarkable achievement within the global manufacturing community and sets an example for other countries and states looking to employ better environmental protection regulations.

Additional Important National Waste Management Trends From 2007 To 2019

The recycling rate in the United States has been steadily increasing in recent years, with a national recycling rate of 34.5% and the amount of food waste being composted also on the rise. This growth can be attributed to increased use of single-stream recycling, where all recyclable materials are placed in one container for collection, making it easier for residents to recycle. Despite each advances in recycling and composting, however, there has also been an increase in waste sent to landfills with a national landfill rate of 54.5%. Going forward, taking into account this trend alongside technological innovation, continued efforts should be made to reduce reliance on landfills while further encouraging the growth of single-stream recycling systems (Miller et al., 2020). The rise of “zero waste” initiatives is indicative of the growing public awareness of environmental issues and the need to reduce our collective footprint. Reducing plastic waste has become a major focus over the past few years, as plastic production has skyrocketed and its insidious effects are becoming starkly more apparent. Steps such as subsidizing reusable bags, providing more recycling bins in our public spaces and educating the public on how to properly separate their trash can help us move towards a society where resources are reused or recycled instead of discarded into our landfills. This shift towards using less and using better doesn’t just benefit our environment – it often benefits one’s personal budget too! Together we can make the world a greener place for future generations.

Conclusion

California takes the issue of hazardous chemicals very seriously and has committed to using TRI to track the use of the materials and its impact on the environment. This is a large undertaking and requires many resources from DTSC in order to maintain accurate records. By doing so, DTSC is able to recognize potential risks associated with these chemicals, taking corrective actions as needed to protect California’s citizens. It also helps inform citizens about environmental issues, enabling them to make intelligent decisions concerning their health and safety. As a result, California residents can feel secure, knowing their state proactively endeavors to ensure hazardous chemicals are managed safely. The rise of “zero waste” initiatives is indicative of the growing public awareness of environmental issues and the need to reduce our collective footprint. Reducing plastic waste has become a major focus over the past few years, as plastic production has skyrocketed and its insidious effects are becoming starkly more apparent. Steps such as subsidizing reusable bags, providing more recycling bins in our public spaces and educating the public on how to properly separate their trash can help us move towards a society where resources are reused or recycled instead of discarded into our landfills. This shift towards using less and using better doesn’t just benefit our environment – it often benefits one’s personal budget too! Together we can make the world a greener place for future generations.

References

´Collins, M., Pulver, S., Hill, D., & Manski, B. (2020). Characterizing disproportionality in facility-level toxic releases in US manufacturing, 1998–2012. Environmental Research Letters15(6), 064002. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab7393/meta

´Lee, S., & Bi, X. (2020). Can embedded knowledge in pollution prevention techniques reduce greenhouse gas emissions? A case of the power generating industry in the United States. Environmental Research Letters15(12), 124033. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/abc589/meta

´Singh, A., Quinn, N. W., Benes, S. E., & Cassel, F. (2020). Policy-driven sustainable saline drainage disposal and forage production in the western San Joaquin Valley of California. Sustainability12(16), 6362. https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/16/6362

´Kamra, S. K., Kumar, S., Kumar, N., & Dagar, J. C. (2019). Engineering and biological approaches for drainage of irrigated lands. Research Developments in Saline Agriculture, 537-577. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-13-5832-6_18

´Rath, P., Jindal, M., & Jindal, T. (2021). A review on economically-feasible and environmental-friendly technologies promising a sustainable environment. Cleaner Engineering and Technology5, 100318. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666790821002780

´Forsyth, J. E., Mutuku, F. M., Kibe, L., Mwashee, L., Bongo, J., Egemba, C., … & LaBeaud, A. D. (2020). Source reduction with a purpose: Mosquito ecology and community perspectives offer insights for improving household mosquito management in coastal Kenya. PLoS neglected tropical diseases14(5), e0008239. https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0008239

´Miller, M. P., de Souza, M. L., Alexander, R. B., Sanisaca, L. G., Teixeira, A. D. A., & Appling, A. P. (2020). Application of the RSPARROW modeling tool to estimate total nitrogen sources to streams and evaluate source reduction management scenarios in the Grande River Basin, Brazil. Water12(10), 2911. https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/12/10/2911

´Ghormley, S., Williams, R., & Dvorak, B. (2020). Foundry sand source reduction options: Life cycle assessment evaluation. Environments7(9), 66. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3298/7/9/66