An Investigation of Wood and Wood Packaging Waste in the United States
Shiner, Zachary Philip
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Each year a large number of wooden pallets are manufactured, recycled, and disposed of during the transportation of goods throughout the United States. The production of these pallets consumes a significant amount of wood and a large number of pallets also end up in landfills at the end of their useful life cycle. However, these pallets can be recovered through repair, broken apart into components, ground into mulch, fuel, animal bedding, or used by landfills for day to day operations. The purpose of this research was to investigate the total number of pallets and crates reaching landfills in the United States as well as to gain a better understanding of the overall waste stream. This was done by surveying all licensed Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and Construction and Demolition (CandD) landfills in the continental United States. A questionnaire was sent to these landfills, and this entire study was intended to build upon previous Virginia Tech landfill surveys conducted in 1995 and 1998 with some changes made after careful review. Overall, it was found the average MSW facility in the United States received 185,077 tons of waste and the average CandD facility received 74,911 tons. This results in a total national estimate of 253 million tons of MSW and 76.9 million tons of CandD waste. Approximately 18.3 million pallets were landfilled and an additional 13.8 million were recovered, repurposed, or reused at MSW facilities. At CandD facilities, approximately 19.2 million pallets were landfilled while 38.3 million were recovered.
- Masters Theses