Recycling Realities (Spring 2020 Course)

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Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

100 North 20th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Recycling Realities
Professor Kevin Cannon

Dates: 6 Tuesdays, March 24 – April 28, 2020

Time: 6:30 to 7:30 PM

In 1960, 94 % of the municipal solid waste generated in the United States was disposed of in landfills or open burn pits. In 2013, the majority of waste was still landfilled (53%), but 34 % was recycled and 13 % was burned with energy recovery. Changing technologies, waste compositions, regulations, and increasing environmental awareness drives how we and the rest of the world treat solid municipal waste. Despite what looks like a promising trend, total municipal waste generation in the United States tripled. Thus, as increasing amounts of wastes are placed in landfills, such disposal comes with significant short-term costs (financial and environmental) as well as potential long-term costs (resource depletion).

This course will survey current recycling technologies and policies, with emphasis on the recovery of value from municipal solid wastes. In addition to addressing the recycling of glass, paper products, food wastes, and traditional common metals (iron, aluminum, copper, etc.), special attention will be paid to plastics and technology metals recycling.

This course requires pre-registration. Registration opens on December 9th, 2020. Register on Eventbrite or call 215-763-6529 x23.

Course Schedule

1. March 24 – General overview of recycling; introduction to plastic wastes

2. March 31 – Technical, economic, and ecological aspects of plastic waste handling

3. April 7 – Recycling and sustainable utilization of technology metals

4. April 14 – Global metal sustainability

5. April 21 – Diverting food wastes from landfills

6. April 28 – Glass and paper products recycling: How well are we doing with our current technologies?

Make-up class: Tuesday, May 5 (if needed)

Recommended Readings

“Understanding Plastics Recycling: Economic, Ecological, and Technical Aspects of Plastic Waste Handling” Natalie Rudolph, Raphael Kiesel, & Chuanchom Aumnate, 2017, Hanser Publications, Cincinnati. ISBN: 978-1-56990-676-7, E-Book ISBN: 978-1-56990-677-4

“Metal Sustainability: Global Challenges, Consequences, and Prospects” Edited by Reed M. Izatt, 2016, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN-13:978-1119009108, ISBN-10: 9781119009108

About the Professor

Dr. Kevin Cannon is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Penn State Abington College and a Research Associate at Temple University. He has done chemical work in bomb-detection, car paint, oil spill remediation and natural product synthesis. He has an ongoing interest in the history of science, particularly 18th and 19th century science which includes the development of the periodic table. He has been teaching for the Wagner since 2015.

For more information about all of the Wagner's course offerings this season, visit our website.


Are there minimum age requirements to enter the event?

The adult lecture courses are offered on an introductory college level. They are open to anyone seeking an introduction to various areas of the sciences as well as those familiar with the subjects who wish to broaden and update their knowledge. The courses also provide an excellent opportunity for motivated junior high and high school students to supplement their current science courses and to help prepare them for further study in these fields at a college level. The courses are appropriate as well for teachers seeking to expand their knowledge.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is close to multiple public transportation lines and has street parking nearby.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Click the "Contact the Organizer" link, email, or call (215) 763-6529 x24. (Extension 23 is the registration extension.)

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Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

100 North 20th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103

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