Preventing pollution

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Some companies try hard to reduce waste and prevent pollution. The American company 3M have a plan called '3P-Pollution Prevention Pays'. They pay extra money to their workers to encourage them to reduce waste and conserve energy and materials. Since they started 3P, the company has saved almost a billion dollars, and reduced its waste by fifty percent.

Some industries have reused and recycled materials for years. In many industries containers are used again and again. Oil drums are a good example. They are reused until they are too old to use, then the metal is recycled. The steel industry uses acid to clean the steel. The acid becomes polluted with metal. The metal in the acid is collected, and the acid is cleaned and reused.

Slag

Slag

The photographic industry does a lot of recycling too. Photographic paper is covered with real silver. The silver is collected and reused.

In many factories all over the world, waste is collected and reused. Industry can teach ordinary people a lot about recycling.

The 'waste exchange' is a useful idea. When video cassettes are made, toxic waste is produced. It is poisonous, but it is not useless. Another company needs it to make fertilizers - chemicals which make plants grow better. Both companies reduce pollution and save money.

Recycling tyres in Kenya r ? r*

Recycling tyres in Kenya

What Fieldwork Geography

One person's waste is another person's material. This is what the waste exchange is all about. Britain and the Netherlands have had a waste exchange since the 1970s. They exchange more than 150 different 'waste* materials.

Many industries use solvents -chemicals which dissolve other materials. Most solvents are very toxic. Waste solvents used to be a big problem. You could not reuse them and they were dangerous and difficult to dispose of. There is now a $200 million a year industry in the USA which cleans and recycles industrial solvents.

In the USA 240 million old car tyres are thrown away every year. But tyres can be recycled to make pipes and floor coverings.

When you produce steel, you also produce a slimy black stone called slag. Slag is useless to the steel industry. Many years ago, there were mountains of slag beside every steel factory. Now slag is recycled for the building industry.

Some waste gases from power stations and factory chimneys are highly toxic. They contain acids which pollute the air and produce acid rain. But it is possible to recycle those gases, collect the acids and sell them to the chemical industry. There is another way of recycling gases from factories and power stations. Before going up the factory chimney, the gases pass through a special kind of stone which collects them. Then the stone is broken up and sold to the building industry.

Recycling fact

• In the 1930s in Trinidad in the West Indies, someone discovered that it was possible to play music on an old steel oil drum. Now the music of West Indian steel bands is famous all over the world.

A steel band in Trinidad

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