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Environmental Protection Agency: "Reduce", "Reuse", and "Recycle"

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Go to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website: http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/rrr/

Click on the links addressing "Reduce", "Reuse", and "Recycle". Assess the information on those pages and evaluate their practicality and usefulness. Of the three concepts, which one do you feel is the most feasible to apply to your daily lives in an effort to reduce waste? List at least two advantages and disadvantages of your chosen concept and defend your choice.

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Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist with your answer. Since some of the question is about subjective items (such as what can YOU do in your own household and community), I have led you with some ideas but you will have to select what is actually accurate in your own situation.

First to the EPA RRR: I developed the one you chose, recycle, most completely. I hope this sends you thinking in a new way about the advantages and disadvantages associated with each choice. The question does ask to address all three, so a statement about the advantages and disadvantages of each would be a good preamble to the explanation of why you chose the one you did and how it can be effected in your own daily life. Thanks! - Dr. Wilson

Each one has benefits and disadvantages.
Reduce -
Advantages: saves natural resources; reduces toxic waste leads of both hazardous and nonhazardous materials; economic savings for less waste at the community, business and consumer level. Fewer products have to be manufactured
Disadvantages: Economic ramifications of less consumption may mean that production and distribution facilities suffer from a drop in sales, affecting local, regional or national economies.

Reuse -
Advantages: lessens costs (monetary) of manufacturing a new product; lessens environmental costs of manufacturing a new product from product extraction, to pollution, waste and energy use from the manufacture of the product, energy and pollution from the transportation/distribution of the product, packaging costs and additional waste generated from a product that could be reused. Can also benefit charities that reuse, such as Goodwill or other groups.
(many of the same as recycle - false sense of security etc. In some cases, reuse can be dangerous as in the case of something that contained a toxic material.
Reuse differs from recycling:
"Reuse, loosely defined, is the "recovery and distribution of discarded, yet perfectly usable materials" that provides an excellent environmental and economical alternative to exportation and landfilling. Recycling utilizes additional time, money, energy, resources, and an extensive organizational effort to extract, sort, and re-distribute a discarded item's raw materials. Reuse preserves these resources, including the value of the materials, labor, technology, and energy incorporated into the manufacturing process.
Source: Green Living Ideas (http://s.tt/12HHs)"
Cost savings. Businesses and consumers save on energy and raw materials ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines the environmental protection agencies message of "reduce", "reuse", "recycle".

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Oxidation and Reduction

1. Define the following concepts:
a) oxidizing agent
b) oxidized substance
c) reducing agent
d) reduced substance

2. Determine the oxidation numbers of the underlined elements in the following formulas:
a) KClO3
b) NH4+
c) Cr2O72-
d) MnO42-

3. Balance the following equations by the half-cell method. Show both half-cell reactions and identify them as oxidation or reduction.
a) SO32- + MnO4- + H+ ←→ Mn2+ + SO42- + H2O(l)
b) Cl2(g) + OH- ←→ Cl- + ClO3- + H2O(l)
c) SO42- + I- + H+ ←→ S2- + I2(s) + H2O(l)

4. Observations
i) A reacts spontaneously with 1 mol/L BNO3, 1 mol/L D(NO3)2 and dilute sulfuric acid. A does not react with 1 mol/L C(NO3)2.
ii) B does not react spontaneously with any of the 1 mol/L solutions above or with dilute sulfuric acid.
iii) C reacts spontaneously with dilute sulfuric acid and with 1 mol/L solutions of all the other metallic salts.
iv) D reacts spontaneously with 1 mol/L BNO3. It does not react with dilute sulfuric acid.

a) Use the observations and arrange the following five reduction half-cell reactions in order, the one with the largest positive reduction potential listed first.
A2+ + 2e- → A(s)
B+ + e- → B(s)
C2+ + 2e- → C(s)
D2+ + 2e- → D(s)
2H+ + 2e- → H2(g)
b) Which metal is the best reducing agent?
c) Which ion is the best oxidizing agent?

5. Calculate the voltage of a standard cell with the following half-cell reactions:
Ni(s) → Ni2+ + 2e-
2e- + Cl2(g) → 2Cl-

6. a) What metal might you fasten to the hull of an aluminum boat to give it cathodic protection in sea water?
b) Name two metals you would not use. Explain the choices.

7. By the electrolysis of water, 11.2 L of oxygen at STP was prepared.
a) What charge was required?
b) If a current of 0.5 A was used, how long did it take?

8. Aluminum is one of the most widely used metals. Aluminum is made by electrolyzing aluminum oxide in a solvent called cryolite.
a)Identify the products of the anode and cathode half-reactions that occur during the electrolysis of aluminum oxide.
b) Why is it important to recycle as much aluminum as possible?
c) Identify one environmental concern and one health concern associated with the product of aluminum.

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