Hazardous household wastes: Do you know what you can’t throw out?

Imagine you teach an introduction to chemistry. One of your students proposes an experiment: mix together all the used oil, unneeded paint, expired prescription medicines, pesticides, and all the various products that accumulate under the sinks in a typical house … Continue reading

Waste management from dumps to landfills

Humans have always produced a lot of waste. From prehistoric times until fairly recently, people who lived in towns just dumped the waste somewhere. Now we have the sanitary landfill. What’s the difference? Have we found an adequate solution? Dumping … Continue reading

Plastic is forever

It wasn’t until the middle of the nineteenth century that anything like plastic even existed. The manufacture of true plastics began in the early twentieth century and soon became a flood, as industry developed more and more different kinds of … Continue reading

The down side of recycling, or, what could be better?

Google “recycling bad” and you turn up numerous articles. I remember years ago, when recycling was first becoming mainstream, that some environmentalists were outraged to learn that companies that made new objects from post-consumer waste contributed to air and water … Continue reading