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Multimedia Environmental Assessment of Existing Materials Management Approaches for Communities
Tolaymat, T., P. Jain, D. Meyer, W. Ingwersen, AND B. Dyson. Multimedia Environmental Assessment of Existing Materials Management Approaches for Communities. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-14/375, 2014.
Community leaders and planners face the challenge of providing safe, responsible, and cost effective methods to manage materials produced by our society and the residues they generate. Desired objectives not only include minimizing impacts on the community and the environment, but also maximizing opportunities to recover resources and energy from a municipalities discarded materials. In this context, materials management refers to how we manage material resources as they flow through the economy, from extraction or harvest of materials and food (e.g., mining, forestry, and agriculture), production and transport of goods, provision of services, reuse of materials, and if necessary, disposal. Steps forward to support community decisions to effectively and equitably weigh and integrate health, social, economic and environmental considerations into sustainable community decision making, such as quantifying environmental and economic considerations in a comprehensive and uniform manner, and gathering new information to better quantify social trade-offs, need to be identified. The multi-media assessment materials management approach aims at capturing and organizing the available data and information corresponding to existing material management methods used by communities. This entails collecting and organizing the available life cycle inventory (LCI) data corresponding materials; and conducting a gap analysis by assessing those data against current approaches to evaluating life-cycle impacts of community relevant waste processes. These approaches to a more systemic community-focused analysis of materials management enable ORD to better provide sustainability-oriented tools to program offices, regions, and communities that request them. The data, information, and knowledge gained from this effort in conjunction with the other Task 22.214.171.124 products will assist the SHC program in better integrating community sector-based understanding into a systems model suitable for TRIO analysis.
The Sustainable and Healthy Communities Program has a mission to develop data and tools that enable community leaders to integrate environmental, societal, and economic factors into their decision-making processes and thus foster community sustainability. This report examines one key area of community sustainability interest, the management of materials from the construction and demolition of buildings, roads, and other structures at their end life (EOL). Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is an approach frequently used to examine the environmental implications of the EOL management of materials, and while much LCA research has focused on materials from household and commercial community activities (e.g., municipal solid waste), very little effort has focused on construction and demolition debris (CDD). Even though CDD constitutes a substantial volume of material, the role that these materials play with respect to human and ecological health has not been recognized in the same manner as other wastes, and thus they have been less studied.