<![CDATA[KYLE PUKYLO - Blog]]>Fri, 15 Mar 2024 10:34:01 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[E-Waste and Battery Recycling in America: Challenges and Opportunities]]>Fri, 08 Mar 2024 05:00:00 GMThttp://kylepukylo.com/blog/e-waste-and-battery-recycling-in-america-challenges-and-opportunities
Lithium-Ion Battery Fires at Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs)
A serious challenge in the management of e-waste is the safe disposal of lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are increasingly causing catastrophic fires at Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) due to inappropriate disposal.
A report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that 64 waste facilities experienced 245 fires caused by, or likely caused by, lithium metal or lithium-ion batteries. Among these facilities, MRFs appear to have faced the brunt of the negative impact.
These fires occur when recycling equipment or machinery rubs against, crushes, or otherwise physically damages a lithium-ion battery. The increase in batteries entering MRFs is forcing workers in these facilities to become de facto experts at spotting the batteries and extinguishing the fires that they inevitably ignite.

Battery fires burn HOT and FAST! “Thermal runaway” is a term that’s become well-known among operators of Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs). This phenomenon occurs when a battery is damaged or disturbed to the extent that its internal separator fails, causing the energy inside to generate heat. This heat then fuels itself, creating even more heat, which can lead to a fire. This issue poses a significant challenge for recycling facilities and has led to advice from industry experts, serious alerts, and attention from regulatory bodies.

The Opportunity to Recycle BatteriesDespite these challenges, there is a significant opportunity to improve battery recycling in the U.S. The Biden-Harris Administration has announced more than $192 million in new funding for recycling batteries from consumer products. This investment supports the recycling and reuse segment of the domestic battery supply chain, helping to accelerate battery production in America, mitigate battery supply chain disruptions, and create good-paying jobs.
One organization leading the charge in battery recycling is Call2Recycle, Inc. Call2Recycle is the country’s leading consumer battery recycling and stewardship program. They have established a network of thousands of drop-off locations across the U.S., including retailers and government municipalities.
Call2Recycle’s program provides a simple and effective solution for consumers to recycle their used batteries. By using their locator tool, consumers can easily find nearby locations to recycle their batteries.

Organizations like The Home Depot, Ace Hardware Corporation, Lowe's Companies, Inc., and Staples have stepped up to make battery recycling more convenient for consumers and promote practical recycling efforts.
While the U.S. faces significant challenges in managing e-waste and preventing lithium-ion battery fires, there are also substantial opportunities to improve recycling practices. Through increased funding, education, and the efforts of organizations like Call2Recycle, the U.S. can make significant strides toward a more sustainable future.
#EWaste #BatteryRecycling #SustainableFuture #Call2Recycle #LithiumIonBatteries #RecyclingChallenges #RecyclingOpportunities #ThermalRunaway #MRFs #EcoFriendly #GreenInitiatives #WasteManagement
<![CDATA[Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): A Beginner’s Guide]]>Thu, 07 Mar 2024 05:00:00 GMThttp://kylepukylo.com/blog/life-cycle-assessment-lca-a-beginners-guide
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a powerful tool that measures the environmental impact of products and services throughout their entire life cycle. From production to disposal, LCA provides valuable insights into sustainability and informs decision-making. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll explore the fundamentals of LCA, its importance, and practical applications.
What Is LCA?LCA evaluates the environmental footprint of a product or service by considering various factors:

  1. Raw Materials: Where do they come from, and how are they sourced?
  2. Production Processes: What energy, water, and resources are used?
  3. Transportation: How are goods moved (by truck, rail, or air)?
  4. Use Phase: How do consumers use the product?
  5. End-of-Life: What happens after disposal (recycling, landfill, etc.)?

Who Benefits from LCA?
  1. Product Management / Research & Development (R&D):LCA informs product design and development. It helps create more sustainable products by identifying areas for improvement. Compliance with regulations often requires LCA data.
  2. Sustainability and CSR Teams: LCA provides the groundwork for sustainability strategies. It enables companies to set meaningful goals and track progress. Transparency about environmental impact enhances brand reputation.
  3. Investors and Stakeholders: Investors increasingly consider ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) factors. LCA data influences investment decisions. Stakeholders want to support responsible companies.

The Four Phases of LCA
  1. Goal Definition and Scope: Define the purpose of the assessment and set boundaries (system boundaries, functional unit, etc.).
  2. Inventory Analysis: Collect data on inputs (materials, energy, water) and outputs (emissions, waste).
  3. Impact Assessment: Evaluate environmental impacts (e.g., climate change, resource depletion) using impact categories.
  4. Interpretation: Draw conclusions, identify hotspots, and inform decision-makers.

Standards and Tools
  • Various standards guide LCA, including ISO 14040 and ISO 14044.
  • LCA software tools facilitate data collection, analysis, and reporting.

Challenges and Critique
  • LCA can be complex due to data availability and system boundaries.
  • Critics argue that it doesn’t capture all aspects (e.g., social impacts).

LCA empowers us to make informed choices. By understanding a product’s life cycle, we can work towards a more sustainable future. Whether you’re a curious beginner or a seasoned professional, LCA is a valuable tool for creating positive change.
Remember: Every decision counts!🌎
#LCA #Sustainability #EnvironmentalImpact #GreenBusiness #CircularEconomy #EcoFriendly #ClimateAction #SustainableLiving #CorporateSustainability #EcoConscious
<![CDATA[ESG Reporting: Why It Matters]]>Wed, 06 Mar 2024 05:00:00 GMThttp://kylepukylo.com/blog/esg-reporting-why-it-matters
ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) reporting has become a critical aspect of corporate transparency and accountability. In this article, we explore what ESG reporting entails, why it matters, and how it impacts companies, investors, and society.
What Is ESG Reporting?
ESG reporting involves the systematic disclosure of a company’s performance in three key areas:

  1. Environmental: This dimension focuses on a company’s impact on the environment. It includes factors such as carbon emissions, resource usage, waste management, and conservation efforts.
  2. Social: The social component assesses a company’s relationships with its employees, customers, communities, and other stakeholders. Topics covered include diversity, labor practices, human rights, and community engagement.
  3. Governance: Governance refers to the structure and processes that guide a company’s decision-making. It encompasses board composition, executive compensation, ethics, and risk management.

Why Does ESG Reporting Matter?
1. Access to Capital Markets
  • Companies that prioritize ESG reporting gain better access to capital markets. Investors increasingly consider ESG factors when making investment decisions. Strong ESG performance signals responsible management and reduces financial risk.

2. License to Operate
  • ESG reporting is essential for maintaining a company’s social license to operate. It demonstrates commitment to sustainability, ethical practices, and stakeholder well-being. Without this license, companies face reputational damage and potential regulatory challenges.

3. Investor Preference
  • Investors prefer companies with robust ESG practices. Such companies are seen as forward-thinking, resilient, and better positioned for long-term success. ESG performance influences investment inflows and stock prices.

4. Risk Management
  • ESG reporting helps companies identify and manage risks. By assessing environmental and social impacts, companies can proactively address issues before they escalate. Effective risk management enhances financial stability.

5. Innovation and Brand Loyalty
  • Companies that embrace ESG initiatives often drive innovation. Sustainable practices lead to new products, services, and business models. Additionally, consumers increasingly support brands aligned with their values, fostering brand loyalty.

Challenges and Future Trends
  • While ESG reporting has gained prominence, challenges remain. Critics argue that ESG represents an unstable combination of elements and that focus should solely be on environmental sustainability. However, the social dimension is also crucial.
  • The future of ESG reporting lies in integrating it seamlessly into business operations. Companies must embed ESG considerations into their core strategies, rather than treating them as an add-on.

ESG reporting is not a passing trend; it’s a fundamental shift in how businesses operate. Companies that embrace ESG principles enhance their resilience, attract investors, and contribute to a more sustainable world.

#ESGReporting #SustainabilityMatters #ClimateAction #CorporateResponsibility #GreenFinance #InvestingWithPurpose #ResponsibleBusiness #EnvironmentalStewardship #SocialImpact #GoodGovernance
<![CDATA[Understanding Plastics: Types, Uses, and Recycling Methods]]>Tue, 05 Mar 2024 05:00:00 GMThttp://kylepukylo.com/blog/understanding-plastics-types-uses-and-recycling-methods
Plastic, a material of immense versatility and widespread use, also poses significant environmental and health risks. Plastic pollution is a global issue impacting land, water, and air alike. A 2017 study revealed that only 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled, while a staggering 79% has found its way into landfills or the natural environment.
To mitigate the effects of plastic waste, it’s crucial to comprehend the various types of plastics, their manufacturing process, their uses, and the methods to recycle or repurpose them. This article delves into the seven primary categories of plastics as per the Resin Identification Code (RIC) system, a standard method for labeling plastic products for recycling.
1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)PET, a transparent, robust, and lightweight plastic, is extensively used in beverage bottles, food containers, and synthetic fibers. It’s manufactured from ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid, both derived from petroleum and natural gas. PET is among the most frequently recycled plastics due to its ability to be easily melted and reshaped into new products like carpets, clothing, or additional bottles. PET can also undergo chemical recycling, where it’s broken down into its original components to create new plastic or other materials.

2. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)HDPE is a resilient, flexible, and opaque plastic known for its resistance to moisture, chemicals, and impact. It’s produced from ethylene, also sourced from petroleum and natural gas. HDPE finds use in milk jugs, detergent bottles, cereal box liners, toys, buckets, and pipes. HDPE is widely recycled as it can be effortlessly melted and remolded into new products like park benches, playground equipment, or plastic lumber. While HDPE can be chemically recycled, this process is more costly and less prevalent.

3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl)PVC, a rigid or flexible plastic, is resistant to chemicals, weathering, and electricity. It’s produced from vinyl chloride, a carcinogenic compound derived from ethylene and chlorine. PVC is utilized for pipes, window frames, wires, cables, medical bags, and tubing. PVC is one of the least recyclable plastics due to the difficulty in separating it from other materials and the potential release of harmful substances when heated or burned. While PVC can be mechanically recycled into lower-quality products like flooring, hoses, or mats, its chemical recycling process is complex and expensive.

4. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)LDPE, a soft, flexible, and transparent plastic, is easy to process and mold. Like HDPE, LDPE is produced from ethylene, but its different polymer structure makes it less dense and more pliable. LDPE is used for plastic bags, cling wrap, squeeze bottles, and coatings for paper cups and cartons. LDPE is not widely recycled due to frequent contamination with food or other materials and its tendency to clog recycling machines. While LDPE can be mechanically recycled into lower-quality products like garbage bags, lumber, or furniture, its chemical recycling process is not widely available.

5. Polypropylene (PP)PP, a tough, heat-resistant, and semi-rigid plastic, boasts a high melting point and good chemical resistance. It’s produced from propylene, a by-product of petroleum refining. PP is used for yogurt cups, margarine tubs, bottle caps, straws, and automotive parts. PP is moderately recycled as it can be easily sorted and cleaned, but it has a lower market value than PET or HDPE. While PP can be mechanically recycled into lower-quality products like battery cases, flower pots, or trays, its chemical recycling process is not widely available.

6. Polystyrene (PS)PS is a hard, brittle, and transparent plastic that can be expanded into a lightweight, insulating material. It’s produced from styrene, a liquid hydrocarbon derived from petroleum or natural gas. PS is commonly used for disposable items like cups, plates, cutlery, egg cartons, and packaging peanuts. PS is one of the least recyclable plastics due to frequent contamination with food or other materials and the potential release of harmful substances when heated or burned. While PS can be mechanically recycled into lower-quality products like coat hangers, picture frames, or rulers, its chemical recycling process is complex and expensive.

7. Miscellaneous PlasticsThis category encompasses all plastics that don’t fit into the previous six categories, either because they’re composed of different or mixed resins, or because they’re new or uncommon. Examples include polycarbonate (PC), polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and bioplastics. These plastics have varying properties and uses, depending on their composition and structure. They’re rarely recycled due to difficulties in identification, separation, and processing. Some of these plastics can be mechanically or chemically recycled, but these processes are not widely available or economical.

Effective and Responsible Plastic RecyclingRecycling plastics is beneficial not only for the environment but also for the economy and society. It can save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve natural resources, create jobs, and foster innovation. However, recycling plastics is not a straightforward process and requires the collaboration of various stakeholders, including consumers, manufacturers, recyclers, and policymakers. Here are some tips for effective and responsible plastic recycling:

  • Check the RIC number on the plastic product to determine its type and whether it’s accepted by your local recycling program. If unsure, contact your recycling provider or search for online resources.
  • Clean the plastic product before recycling to prevent food or other residues from contaminating the recycling process and degrading the quality and value of the recycled plastic.
  • Remove any labels, caps, or other attachments from the plastic product, as they may be made of different materials that need separate recycling or proper disposal.
  • Flatten or crush the plastic product to save space and facilitate transportation and processing.
  • Avoid discarding reusable or repurposable plastic products like bags, bottles, or containers. They can be used for storage, gardening, crafts, or other creative purposes. Consider donating them to charities, schools, or community groups for their projects or activities.
  • Support businesses and brands that use recycled or recyclable plastics in their products or packaging, or that offer take-back or refill programs for their plastic products. Look for products with the rePurpose Global certification, indicating their commitment to removing plastic waste from the environment and empowering waste workers.
  • Educate yourself and others about the different types of plastics, their environmental and health impacts, and their recycling or repurposing potential. Consider joining or supporting campaigns, movements, or organizations advocating for plastic waste reduction, recycling, or repurposing.

Plastic is a valuable and versatile material, but it also poses a serious challenge for the environment and human health. To address this challenge, we need to understand the different types of plastics, how they are made, what they are used for, and how they can be recycled or repurposed. By recycling or repurposing plastics, we can reduce plastic waste, conserve natural resources, protect the environment, and create a circular economy. However, recycling or repurposing plastics is not enough to solve the plastic crisis. We also need to reduce our plastic consumption, choose more sustainable alternatives, and demand more responsible actions from the plastic industry and the government.

#PlasticRecycling #Sustainability #ZeroWaste #ReduceReuseRecycle #PlasticPollution #Environment #WasteManagement #Recycle
<![CDATA[Landfill Mining: Unearthing Hidden Treasures]]>Mon, 04 Mar 2024 05:00:00 GMThttp://kylepukylo.com/blog/landfill-mining-unearthing-hidden-treasures
What Is Landfill Mining?​

Landfill mining is a process that involves excavating and processing solid waste materials from existing landfills. These materials have been previously discarded, but they still hold value. By reclaiming them, we can reduce waste, create secondary markets, and contribute to a more sustainable economy.
How Does It Work?
  1. Excavation: The process begins by uncapping a landfill—literally removing the top layer—and sifting through its cells of garbage. This allows us to access buried materials that have accumulated over time.
  2. Resource Recovery: During landfill mining, valuable resources are extracted. These can include: Metals: E-waste, scrap metal, and other recoverable metals. Plastics: Certain plastics can be recycled or repurposed. Organic Matter: Biodegradable waste that can be composted or used for energy generation. Construction Materials: Wood, concrete, and masonry.
  3. Environmental Benefits: Reducing Waste: Landfill mining reduces the amount of waste lying dormant in landfills. Aeration: By excavating the soil, we improve its aeration, benefiting future land use. Hazardous Material Removal: Temporarily removing hazardous materials allows for protective measures before replacing the landfill mass.

Practical Applications
  1. Construction Landfills: In the United States, construction landfills contain wood, scrap metal, and gypsum. These materials can be repurposed or used as fuel. European landfills often have masonry materials from demolished bricks and concrete.
  2. Municipal Landfills: Older landfills (pre-1994) were often capped and closed, preserving waste. Mining these can recover valuable materials. Bioreactor landfills and modern sanitary landfills provide benefits due to easier sieving of biodegradable waste.
  3. Hazardous Landfills: Landfill mining is especially useful for remediating hazardous landfills. Properly stabilized landfills allow for better resource recovery.

Challenges and Opportunities
  • Recycling Quality: Materials recovered from landfill mining may not match the quality of initially recycled materials.
  • Toxic Risks: Uncapped landfills pose risks of toxic waste and leachate exposure.
  • Environmental Balance: Balancing resource recovery with environmental impact is crucial.

Landfill mining is like unearthing hidden treasures—turning waste into valuable resources. As we strive for a greener future, let’s explore this gold rush beneath our feet and transform our approach to 'waste' management! 🌎💡

For more information, check out ISB Global’s article on landfill mining and Springer’s research on the topic.

#Landfill #LandfillMining #Sustainability #CircularEconomy #WasteRecovery #ResourceReuse
<![CDATA[Five Things You Should Know About Plastic Credits]]>Fri, 01 Mar 2024 05:00:00 GMThttp://kylepukylo.com/blog/five-things-you-should-know-about-plastic-credits
1. The Plastic Crisis

We find ourselves in the midst of a plastic crisis. Approximately 390 million tons of plastic waste are generated annually globally, but only a fraction of it is collected and recycled. Despite corporate pledges and regulatory pressure, single-use plastic waste continues to accumulate. By 2040, there will be a $40 billion funding gap to manage municipal plastic waste effectively. Without capital mobilization, plastic will persistently leak into nature or be managed inadequately.
2. Verra’s Plastic Standard

To address this crisis and drive a paradigm shift, Verra introduced the Plastic Waste Reduction Standard (Plastic Standard). This standard issues Plastic Credits, which play a crucial role in tackling plastic pollution. Here’s why:

  • Keeping Plastics Out of the Environment: Plastic Credits support the creation of robust plastic waste collection and recycling infrastructure worldwide, preventing plastics from entering our ecosystems.
  • Mitigating Health Risks: These credits benefit the informal waste sector by reducing associated environmental and health risks.
  • Corporate Stewardship Goals: When combined with a company’s plastic reduction strategies, Plastic Credits contribute to meeting plastic stewardship goals.
  • Global Impact: They align with regional mechanisms and global policy instruments, advancing waste management priorities.

3. What Are Plastic Credits?

A Plastic Credit represents the collection of a specified weight of plastic waste that has been recovered or recycled, preventing it from ending up in the natural environment. These credits are measurable, traceable, and verifiable, ensuring genuine reductions in plastic waste1.
4. How They Work

Plastic Credits are transferable economic units that companies can purchase to offset their plastic waste. Each credit corresponds to 1 ton of plastic that is either recycled or collected, preventing it from becoming environmental pollution2.
5. Quality Assurance and Impact

Plastic Credits issued by Verra’s Plastic Waste Reduction Program adhere to quality assurance principles. These ensure their integrity and real-world impact. By supporting Plastic Credits, we contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Read the full article on Verra’s website: Five Things You Should Know About Plastic Credits

Remember, every small step counts in our fight against plastic pollution! 🌍🌱🌊

#Plastic #PlasticWaste #PlasticCredits #WasteManagement #Sustainability