Making up for Lost Time (and Space): Quantifying Non-hazardous Industrial Waste Output and Beneficial Use Opportunities in the US

Investigators: Yale University

Start Date:
May 2016

Award Amount:
$150,000

Using non-hazardous industrial wastes (NHIW) as substitutes for virgin raw materials has the potential to provide environmental and economic benefits throughout the economy. Evaluating the nation-wide potential of this sustainable waste management strategy requires an assessment of the NHIW generation rate, the most recent of which dates to the mid-1980s. The proposed project will “make up for lost time (and space)” by filling this three-decade-old data gap. In so doing the project team will strengthen the path for the waste management industry to be a key facilitator of and participant in large-scale reuse and recycling of NHIW.

Key research objectives are:

  1. To yield robust, up-to-date estimates of quantities and physiochemical properties of NHIW based on a sector-by-sector analysis of 14 major manufacturing sectors in the US;
  2. To catalog demonstrated and newly identified material substitution and beneficial use pathways for high-tonnage NHIW categories within existing landfill footprints (as alternative cover and construction fill) and beyond; and
  3. To codify methods for regular revision and update of NHIW estimates based on indirect data (i.e. other than directly-reported data on NHIW generation).