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RE: [GreenYes] MSW vs total wastes
This is in further reply to Heidi Swets, who asked if anyone can verify that
the total of municipal solid waste (MSW) is very small when compared to the
total of industrial solid waste generated, with MSW being only 2% of the
total waste.

As Roger Guttentag points out, much of the "waste" being referred to is not
solid waste as you or I know it.  Most of it is wastewater - not just the
solids in the waste water, but all of the industrial waste water.  As such,
it is a very misleading statistic to imply that industrial waste is so much
greater than municipal waste.  If someone wanted to make municipal waste
look huge, they could similarly include all of the waste water sent to
municipal sewage treatment plants plus all of the waste and water going into
residential and commercial septic systems.

I think a better comparison is to look at the solid waste generated that
actually ends up in landfills and other disposal units.  Oregon has data on
this, which are published in our report to the legislature from 2001, based
on 1999 data.  You can find these data in Table 2 of the following report:

http://www.deq.state.or.us/wmc/solwaste/2000updatesec2.html

Oregon is not a highly industrialized state, but we do have a very large
wood products industry that generates lots of waste, plus many large paper
mills that produce lots of sludges, some of which are landfilled.  In short
though, the tons of municipal waste disposed in all types of landfills and
other disposal facilities is larger than the tons of industrial waste
disposed.  Here are the totals for different waste types that are generated
in Oregon in 1999 and disposed in landfills, incinerators, or out-of-state
disposal facilities:

Municipal waste: 2,788,744 tons
Alternative daily cover: 181,499 tons (much if this is industrial waste)
Asbestos: 11,165 tons
Contaminated soils: 250,387 tons (excludes soils treated on-site)
Inerts: 47,250 tons (rock, concrete, brick, clean soil)
Septage sludge landfilled: 34,449 tons (does not include sewage sludge that
is land-applied)
Industrial and other waste: 507,076 tons

The total for all industrial and other wastes was only 1,031,826 tons in
1999, or only 27% of the total Oregon solid waste disposed that year.  MSW
made up the other 73% of the disposed waste.

Peter Spendelow
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
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