Solid waste management is a comprehensive discipline including the control of waste generation, storage, transfer, and disposal in the best way for public health. While the benefits of solid waste management have been realized all over the world, now it’s time for eco-friendly methods to swell. By using these techniques, we can save our precious environment in many ways.
Recycling refers to an eco-friendly waste management system that protects the environment and secures the wellbeing of the community. Materials such as plastics, paper, glass, and aluminum can be recycled and reused over and over again. The recycling process begins with the sorting of household and commercial waste into various categories. Next, all of these materials are sent to the recycling unit to be processed into new materials.
Recycling is crucial to lessen the carbon footprint and contribute towards a healthy environment. As recycled products are used in the production of new products, the need for raw materials is eliminated. Furthermore, recycling helps to reduce energy consumption by approximately 20% and sustain an equilibrium. Here, the production of paper would be an easy and effective example. Through recycling paper, fewer trees are cut down which helps in diminishing deforestation and promotes a balance in the environment.
Recycling has a monumental impact on reducing the use of landfills. Although the disposal in landfills is favorable, it is an undeniable fact that landfills pollute the environment by emitting toxic gases such as methane. Hence, recycling decreasing the use of landfills mitigates the generation of methane gas and the greenhouse effect.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 42% of the US’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arise due to transport, production, processing, and garbage disposal. In the US, paper and paperboard recycling, at about 44.2 million tons, brought the biggest portion of the total municipal solid waste reduction of 148 MMTCO2E in 2017 (The US Environmental Protection Agency). That is equivalent to removing over 31 million cars from the road for a year. Recycling discards eco-destructive methods and makes the earth a better place to live in.
The fact is that some recycling actions are more effective than others. Here are some tips to help you the next time you recycle:
Waste reduction is the practice of lessening or eliminating the number of materials initially used. Reusable serving utensils and trays instead of disposable items are perfect examples of waste reduction. Alternatively, the reduction of the amount you buy is the most essential of all the options to manage waste wisely. In fact, if each household mitigates its waste, the problem will be reduced as well.
Reuse is also preferred as an eco-friendly solid waste management option after waste reduction. Reuse refers to using a material again in its current form. Some common examples are used in household items such as books, clothing, kitchen wares, etc. When we look at the things thrown away, it can be clearly seen that those materials can be reused to solve everyday problems and meet the needs.
The use of proper waste disposal units is viable to be classified as eco-friendly waste management. Garbage disposers are suited for common kitchen waste and capable of shredding large wastes into smaller chunks that can decompose at a faster rate. Waste disposal units facilitate the reduction of waste. Food scraps correspond to 20% of waste in the environment; thus, it would be a critical step to dispose of them in a garbage disposer instead of trash to be turned into renewable energy or fertilizer rather than ending up in a landfill.
As known, plastic bags are commonly used to dispose of food wastes. However, the use of disposal units lessens the amount of using plastic bags. So, fewer plastics go into landfills.
Composting is a process indicating organic wastes broken down by microorganisms into simpler forms. The microorganisms utilize the carbon in the waste as an energy source. Besides, the heat generated eliminates unwanted organisms such as weed seeds and pathogens. Composting is one of the oldest and efficient eco-friendly waste management techniques that limits the negative impacts of waste processes on our environment.
Composting is easy to be implemented by individual householders and community groups or on a commercial scale. Overall, this method provides an advantage for the reduction of waste volume and generation of organic matter content that contains carbon and nitrogen in different ratios.
The type of waste is important to be considered during the composting process. Hazardous and inorganic wastes are not suitable for composting. Indeed, a small amount of an unsuitable product may destroy the entire compost.
Advantages of composting involve the reduction of waste volume, elimination of heat-killed pests, and the generation of beneficial and marketable material. The US Environmental Protection Agency states about 27 million tons of municipal solid waste were composted in 2017.
Hazardous waste is mostly generated by a variety of industrial and commercial activities. The characteristics that define the hazardous waste category is as follows: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity.
Hazardous waste sites contain substances that are harmful to human health and the environment. Thus, a serious threat occurs when it is thrown away with other waste categories and becomes mixed with non-hazardous waste into a landfill. That may cause air, water, and soil pollution. At this point, it can be argued that well-planned and properly formed hazardous waste sites are another method of environmentally responsible waste management.
Since “eco-friendly” represents a sustainable and developed approach to managing processes, each eco-friendly method mentioned above is actually a part of the recommendations to improve solid waste management.
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