• Mr. Steven J. Muehler

Steve Muehler's Plan for Federal Investments into Landfill Management

Updated: Apr 23

A decade ago, city dwellers generated 680 million tons of solid waste a year.

Today, this has grown to over 1.3 billion tons, and is forecasted to rise to 2.2 billion tons by 2025 - enough to fill a 3,107 mile long stretch of trash each day.

And the cost of disposing of all this detritus is projected to rise from $205 BILLION to $375 BILLION a year over the next decade.

Under my Administration, the Federal Government would make Debt / Equity Investments into American Technologies Company operating in the United States that have "proven technologies" that can deal with this situation. Some of these technologies include (but are not limited to):

Methane munching Programs / Technologies:

Much of the world's waste goes to landfill sites, which only add to the pollution problem because they produce methane - a greenhouse gas and significant contributor to climate change.

Mexico City's mammoth Bordo Poniente site generates 1.4 million tonnes of methane a year.

But technology is helping to extract the gas and turn it into electricity.

For example, US-based Ener-Core has built installations at landfill sites in California and the Netherlands that can produce between 250 kilowatts and 1 megawatt of electricity.

This is enough power to feed electricity into anywhere from 250 to 1,000 homes.

Methane breaks down in the atmosphere into water and carbon dioxide, a reaction that normally takes 10-20 years and slowly releases energy.

But by injecting landfill methane into a vessel kept at an ideal pressure and temperature, you can shorten that 20 years to 1-1.5 seconds.

This process yields heat to boil water and power a steam turbine for generating electricity.

A couple of years ago, BMW demonstrated how landfill methane could be cleaned and converted into hydrogen to power fuel cells.

BMW then used these fuel cells to power more than 300 forklift trucks at its factory in Greer, South Carolina.

Hydrogen fuel cells can be recharged more quickly and efficiently than traditional lead-acid batteries, adding to the environmental gains.

Binning it Programs / Technologies:

We can reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by recycling more.

"Smart" bins using RFID [Radio Frequency Identification] tags have been used to identify and track people's recycling habits in Spain and Portugal.

The refuse collector scans and weighs bins, the information goes in a database, and then you are charged for your un-recycled waste.

These "pay as you throw" systems are credited with a 7%-10% increase in recycling.

Sorting it Out Programs / Technologies:

The more we recycle, the more pressure there is on recycling centers to become more accurate and efficient.

In the UK, Axion Recycling operates a state-of-the-art plastics recycling plant that focuses on sorting materials from torn up vehicles.

Its director believes the latest version of the Shredder Waste Advance Process Plant is one of the most advanced plastics recycling facilities in Europe.

It uses near infrared sorting technology, which is fast enough to be applied at an industrial scale. A high-speed scanner above a moving conveyor belt can identify the infrared signature of an individual plastic particle within a hundredth of a second.

An air jet then nudges the plastic off the conveyor belt, to join other polymers of the same sort.

One to two tons of mixed plastics now can be sorted per hour with this system, and then be moved on (or sold on), to be melted and fashioned into new products.

Dissolvable circuit board Programs / Technologies:

But recycling is still in its infancy, relatively speaking, and struggling to cope with the mountains of trash we produce, a lot of it from electrical and electronic gadgets.

Less than 16% of this e-waste is currently recycled or reused, and the amount being produced is growing quickly, up a third over four years.

Much of it ends up in places like Guiyu in China, and Agbogbloshie, a suburb of Ghana's capital Accra, where workers can become ill from the toxins, such as lead, mercury, and arsenic, found in mobile phones and other gadgets.

So researchers are working on electronic circuit boards that can dissolve in water.

Circuit boards are generally 1mm thick, but only the surface is used to transport charge. So a circuit board of 100 nanometres - roughly a hair's breadth - can do the same job, but dissolve in a landfill site in three to six months.

This concept has attracted attention in medical and military circles, and a growing number of research groups around the world are now making "really substantial" efforts in the field.

Mobile phone batteries are also potentially poisonous and difficult to recycle, but new technologies are helping to alleviate the problem.

For example, Umicore has built a plant in Belgium that can smelt lithium-ion batteries at very high temperatures and extract the metals from the molten slag.

While in Germany, Accurec, has developed a way of extracting lithium using a vacuum.

Nature could even come to the rescue.

A few bacteria, not many, have naturally developed the ability to precipitate out metals, in the form of "nanoparticles,"

Finally, as the developing world grows more industrial and urban, and the amount of waste we produce continues to rise, and the Federal Government needs to investment in the technologies today that will be able to stem the tide, and that would happen under my Administration.

Steve Muehler is the Founder & Managing Member of the Private Placement Markets:

About Mr. Steve Muehler, Founder & Senior Managing Member:

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© 2017 by Mr. Steven J. Muehler