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“Recycling Realities” Course from the Wagner Free Institute of Science

March 4, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm

- Free

Free, 6-week course offered by the Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia, held at the Falls of Schuylkill Branch of the Free Library.

Dates: 6 Mondays, March 4 – April 8, 2019
Time: Classes meet from 6:30 to 7:45 PM

No pre-registration required. Please register by completing a registration form at the class.

Access the course information flyer HERE.

Course Description

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 shortterm 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.

Course Schedule

  1. Monday, March 4, 2019 – General overview of recycling; introduction to plastic wastes
  2. Monday, March 11, 2019 – Technical, economic, and ecological aspects of plastic waste handling
  3. Monday, March 18, 2019 – Recycling and sustainable utilization of technology metals
  4. Monday, March 25, 2019 – Global metal sustainability
  5. Monday, April 1, 2019 – Diverting food wastes from landfills
  6. Monday, April 8, 2019 – Glass and paper products recycling: How well are we doing with our current technologies?

Suggested 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.


Falls of Schuylkill Branch of the Free Library
3501 Midvale Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19129 United States
+ Google Map

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