Landfills all over the US and Europe are underground. Some countries in Europe even export their toxic waste to the US for burial.
There's a lot of "green-washing" in many industries. Biodegradable materials are lauded for breaking down quickly in landfills, but they don't break down quickly underground. Since most landfills are underground, what's the truth?
I don't agree that free enterprise is always better than the government but things may be a little different here in California.
Nadine, here in Michigan landfills are close to hermetically sealed. Typically with a plastic ground liner and a base of clay, and then another clay covering on top. The preservation is so good that a twenty year old hot dog has been identified. Landfills open to the elements, that have been in existance for many years seem to contain primarily old broken bottles and occasional chunks of rusted iron. So, really, the best choice would be to put the garbage in a methanne producing landfill, along with the domestic sewerage, and to recycle the rest. And rather than using high energy complex machinery for the recycling, let people scour the areas and pick out the materials to sell, such as glass, metals, and plastics.Free enterprise will always do this better than the typical poorly thought out government processes, and free enterprise would not waste our tax dollars.
Consistent exposure to sun, the wind and the elements breaks down everything faster. When companies tend to chart "breakdown in landfills" they're talking about open landfills, which hardly exist anymore. We bury our garbage. That slows down biodegradation--significantly.
It would be interesting to know how the material knows that it is in a landfill instead of someplace else, like my backpack or my pocket. Biodegradable materials that start to break down at the wrong time would be a big waste and a real problem. So what exactly does tell the plastic that it is in a landfill?
Possibly the real solution is to not put discards into landfills, but to recycle the materials. That might solve multiple problems.
Jim, check out the company's website. There's a handy diagram and brief discussion here http://www.sierraresins.com/sustainability.html We've also discussed what happens to plastics in open landfills without additives and in landfill-to-energy operations with additives, in several DN articles.
Greg, unfortunately many of the materials used for 3D printing are still toxic, at least to breathe, and that's one reason why I find it hard to believe consumers are going to adopt this in big numbers (I have lots of others, some of which are mentioned here http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9247857/Consumers_are_meh_about_3D_printers).
So does the stuff only begin to degrade when placed in a landfill-? How does its ability to "breakdown" relate to its strength for the printed product-? You certainly would not want a printed output model to have some sort of a half-life.
i agree with both you and Greg, Ann, it is really cool when these trends come together. 3D printing is so promising it's also good to see more environmentally friendly materials entering the mix. And of course you are on top of bringing us the latest!
Agreed Greg. It reminds me of Emerging Objects doing some similar sort of work. I love the feeling that we are moving away from wasteful resources and trying to utilize as much renewable components as possible and unite our ideas into environment friendly solutions.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
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