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New York Municipal Solid Waste By: Phuong Do, Lino Gutierrez, Asad Khan, Kimberly Ruffel, Marci Wyatt Capstone Design Project- University of Oklahoma - Spring 2003 “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” -Unknown I. Introduction Municipal solid waste (MSW) consists of many different products, such as product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, food, and newspapers. The most preferred method for taking care of the municipal solid waste is source reduction, people producing less trash. However, reduction cannot reach 100%. Therefore, cities resort to landfilling, incineration, and pyrolysis. a. New York City There are many different cities that have problem with too much trash, but New York City has the biggest problem. New York City has about 19 million people in only 47,200 square miles. In 2000, New York City produced 46,000 tons of waste each day, where the Department of Sanitation (DOS) only took care of 40% and private sectors took care of 60%. DOS used to take 34% of the trash to Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island; however, in March 2001, Fresh Kills landfill closed. Fresh Kills closing required complete exportation of the trash. Since all of the trash had to be exported, the cost of removing the trash ended up being $300 million a year, while it cost New York City about $100 million a year when Fresh Kills was open. Landfilling is no longer a feasible option for New York City, mainly because there is no land. But on top of the lack of land, landfills are environmentally hazardous. Landfill produces a gas through anaerobic decomposition which produces 54% methane and 46% carbon dioxide. This results in about 1.5 million tons of carbon released into the air every year. This contributes to about 2% of the total United States Green House gases. On top of the gas produce by landfills, landfills also produce a liquid called leachate. At the very best, leachate is similar to very strong sewage water, but at its worst, leachate carries hazardous material to the bottom of the landfill. While newer landfills have a synthetic liner to keep the leachate in, there is still the possibility that the leachate will get into the ground reason. For these three reasons, landfilling will not be used. Incineration, or direct combustion, is not longer a popular method for disposing of municipal solid waste. The main reason is due to the fat that the process is not environmentally friendly. For example, processing 3,000 tons/day of MSW, an incinerator with emission controls still releases about 2 million pounds of smog-forming
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nitrogen oxides into the air each day. Also, it costs about $925/MW for an incinerator to be built only to produce electricity, which electricity only sells for about $55/MW. Contrary to incineration, full conversion of CO
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