The current buzzword in almost all circles is the ‘green economy’. This is an economy where employment growth and income are driven by investments aimed at reducing pollution and carbon emissions, increasing energy efficiency and preventing ecosystem or biodiversity loss. Stakeholders focus on transport, waste management, forestry, agriculture, energy and freshwater supply sectors to actualize their objectives in the green economy.
You’re mistaken if you think you have no part to play in the green economy. You can play a significant role in it through your choices on waste management. Everyone generates waste, but few people think of disposing of it in the right way. In fact, the UN estimates that humans worldwide generate approximately 11.9 tons of solid waste. Indiscriminate waste disposal is one of the main contributors to pollution, energy inefficiency and increased carbon emissions.
Waste management encompasses the collection, transportation, processing and monitoring of waste materials. Observing eco-sustainability in all aspects of waste management is crucial to contribute to the green economy. Unfortunately, it might be challenging to point out what sustainable or green waste disposal entails, its benefits and the methods used. The article below will delve into these aspects to boost your awareness of this crucial topic.
What is sustainable waste management?
Green waste management entails the collection, transportation and disposal of different waste categories, including e-waste, household, radioactive, demolition and commercial waste, so that they do not harm future generations, the environment or human health. Basically, it encompasses all activities from waste production to its final treatment. Green waste disposal aims to reduce the number of natural resources used to treat waste, minimize waste and repurpose as much waste as possible.
The Steps of Creating an Efficient Green Waste Management Plan
Even the smallest organization or household can play a role in sustainable waste management by creating and following an efficient plan. Here are the steps to follow when making this plan.
- Consider the management of sustainable materials
Considering waste management as a last resort to proper waste management means looking at generated waste and the methods of reusing or recycling it. This might seem prudent, but managing the materials that create waste is the best choice. In so doing, deliberate and informed decisions on how materials will flow at different stages of production will be made to reduce the waste produced.
- Plan all stages
Waste management planning is not a one-off event but rather a process involving different stages that come together for a specific goal. Plan and follow the ideal waste management practices at each stage of production. With strategic planning, waste is reduced at all stages of production.
- Collaborate when possible
It is impossible to have all the solutions for waste management under one roof. This makes it vital to collaborate with organizations and individuals that share the sustainable waste management goal to handle some aspects. The public-private partnership seen in most places, for instance, promotes partnerships between local governments and businesses. The partnership stimulates improved collaboration between citizens and public and private stakeholders.
- Aim to avoid landfills
In a waste management plan, stray as far away as possible from landfills. This means recycling and reusing as much as possible. The management plan should also aim for a precise amount of material used for production to generate minimum waste.
Methods of Sustainable Waste Management
Green waste disposal starts at the point of waste generation. To reduce your waste, consider reusing the trash you can repurpose and donating the waste that can be useful to someone else. The following are the sustainable methods used currently to manage solid waste.
This is the main method most people think of when they hear of green waste disposal. Recycling converts waste into something reusable by singling out the trash and repurposing the rest. Thankfully the world has slowly caught up with recycling. In 1960, only about 6% of municipal waste was recycled, compared to 35% in 2017. These statistics might seem promising, but more needs to be done when you realize that about 75% of waste is recyclable.
At Junk King Marin, we successfully recycle about 60% of the waste we collect. As such, when working with us, you play an important role in eco-conservation. Our recycling process starts with sorting waste into commercial and household. Next, the waste is sent to a recycling unit for processing into reusable materials. The commonly recycled materials are plastics, paper, aluminium and glass.
A few companies and municipalities offer rebates for recycled items to encourage people to recycle. This means you can make some cash through recycling. Recycling is also one of the main ways of reducing the carbon footprint since it reduces the raw materials and the energy consumed when manufacturing new products. These steps translate into lower costs of consumer goods.
This technique uses fire to transform waste. Though it pollutes the air, incineration generates heat that can be used in other processes. In Singapore, for example, 8200 tons of trash are incinerated daily. This reduces the waste volume by 90% and produces over 2500 MWh daily to supply energy to 900 homes.
This does not mean you should light a bonfire in your home and dump everything that can be burnt to minimize waste. The noxious smoke produced will only choke the entire neighborhood and cause more harm than good. Localities have regulations on waste incineration to minimize its negative impact, so check these before burning anything. In most cases, the waste is burnt in a controlled central location.
This is a cheap and easy option for making nutrient-rich fertilizer for your lawn, kitchen garden or farm. It also helps you cheaply and eco-sustainably get rid of yard waste, leaves, kitchen waste and other biodegradable waste often produced by households. You can compost your biodegradable waste by tightly sealing it in a composting bag or bin that will minimize odors from it and reduce fruit flies. The bag is then dumped in a compost pile, where it slowly disintegrates to make fertilizer.
- Anaerobic digestion
This process resembles compositing but does not use any oxygen, unlike the latter. It allows the treatment of sludge and organic waste through fermentation. The waste is sealed off in a container, and the bacteria in it live off the organic matter, thus breaking it down slowly. Though slower in breaking down waste than compositing, anaerobic waste digestion generates farm fertilizer and methane. Methane is the main component of biogas that can be used to produce energy for different applications. Sweden is among the countries that have been generating power from its organic waste. The country even imports organic waste to maximize its energy production.
Now that you understand what green waste disposal entails, you can take steps to contribute to the same. One step should be hiring a sustainable waste management company to handle your waste. In this regard, your best choice is Junk King Marin. We handle almost all types of waste except hazardous waste that needs special handling and disposal. Moreover, our prices are among the most competitive, so you will not go broke working with us. Contact us today for sustainable waste management to protect our planet for future generations.