Dr. Ketan Shah’s paper entitled “Single-use plastic bottle emissions using life cycle assessment for the US States, challenges, impact, and recommendations” is publishing in June, but those attending the Air and Waste Management Association conference in Orlando, Florida, have the chance to hear Dr. Shah discuss his methods used to develop methane emission estimates and recommendations to reduce them.
Plastics in solid waste management (SWM) are an exigent and pressing problem for many cities. Globally landfills/open dumpsites are used to dispose of over 80% solid wastes, currently serving around 3.5-4 billion people. This number is expected to grow with increased urbanization and population growth (ISWA, 2015).
Methane generation, recovery, and emissions projections for single-use plastic bottles play a vital role in the recycling industry. The scope of work described in this research project includes providing the basis for the methane estimates that discuss the data, assumptions, and calculation methods used to develop the estimates.
Methane emissions estimates to help assess the potential of single-use plastic bottles will have on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As some U.S. states move towards requiring extended producer responsibility (EPR) for the packaging industry to address its waste management impacts, the analysis for the project commends firms for taking steps to pro-actively find a waste management solution for single-use plastic bottles, which may be the next target for EPR legislation.
Objective 1 – Develop Estimates of emissions from single-use plastic bottles using OpenLCA software based on Life Cycle assessment analysis.
Objective 2 – Prepare Comparative analysis for alternative recyclability scenarios.
Objective 3 – Recommendations and solutions to the single use plastic bottles challenge.
The case study results are based on the assumptions for the emissions from the single-use plastic bottles supply chain from cradle to grave. Finally, recommendations for these impacts and challenges will be discussed in detail. Diverting single-use plastic bottles going to landfills helps in reducing the overall environmental impact.
A&WMA ACE 2023 (awma.org). The Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA) brings leading environmental scientists, practitioners, regulators, and leading environmental firms such as SCS Engineers together to share the latest initiatives addressing environmental issues facing communities such as climate change, exposure reduction through innovative technology and regulatory approaches, sustainability, community monitoring, and environmental justice.