Table Of Contents
From littering cigarette butts and single-use plastics to abandoned food and garden organics, unlawful dumping of unwanted household items, construction and demolition garbage, and hazardous waste materials, including asbestos and chemical pollutants, waste varies in size and type.
Waste and littering can have a significant negative impact on the environment and human health. If waste streams aren't harmful, recycling and reusing them is an efficient approach to manage some of this trash and promotes a circular economy.
The total amount of garbage that needs to be efficiently managed rises along with consumption. More waste has been successfully diverted from landfills over the last few years, and this is thanks to community knowledge of reusable waste and recycling choices growing significantly.
Waste Flows And Transfer Systems
Municipal waste flows
To completely understand their fate, you must look at waste flows and transfer networks. Councils in Sydney are in charge of rubbish collection and transportation. They pick up rubbish using either government trucks or those of contractors and then arrange for drop-offs or earmark those that will go to a landfill.
Recovered wastes are processed at materials recovery facilities (MRFs), where sorting and processing occur. The MRFs sort commingled recyclables and other materials into sorted "marketable commodities." Over 40 multipurpose facilities and three MRFs in Sydney accept commingled recyclables.
Metals, paper, cardboard, and plastics are resource recovery products traded domestically and sold on global commodity markets. Australia sells recyclables to more than 100 nations. It shipped more than 4.23 mega tonnes between 2016 and 2017 to China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Bangladesh. Metals, plastic, paper, and cardboard are the three principal exports.
An increasing number of community waste and recycling centres are emerging, along with large companies. For the years 2017 to 2018, there were 87 CRCs in NSW, 27 more than the previous year.
Economic activity, population size, and consumption all affect waste generation. Our waste streams, particularly organic ones, are expanding along with the increasing population. In addition to municipal food waste and garden organics, there is also food waste from farms and food production activities. In states like Torres strait, provision of waste management is more challenging due to the high tourism rate.
About 4.1 million tonnes of food from the commercial food sector are wasted in Australia each year. On average, each home wastes 3,800 AUD worth of food annually. According to NSW EPA, the amount of collected organic waste increased by 12.3 per cent between 2016 and 2017.
How To Recycle, Reuse, And Reduce Waste
• Use disposable and single-use items sparingly and opt for reusable alternatives instead.
• Choose products with little or no packaging when feasible.
• If you don't need plastic bags, refuse them. Remember to bring your bags to the store by keeping them close at hand. Boxes, your shopping cart bag, backpack, or both are other options.
• Instead of placing fruits and veggies in plastic bags when you shop, place them in your trolley.
• Put a notice on your letterbox if you don't read promotional letters.
• Build only what you need and consider your design thoroughly when remodelling or building. Select strong building materials and finishes so they will last a long time.
• Reduce waste and spend less money by having household things repaired rather than replaced.
Ways To Recycle Everyday Waste
You can recycle plastic bags or soft plastics like bubble wrap, shopping bags, nett bags, pasta and rice bags, and shopping bags at most supermarkets.
• Donate old clothing, furniture, appliances, or other stuff to a good cause or give them to family or friends. Online forums like Freecycle and others make it easy for people to donate unwanted stuff.
• Find used or purchase something made of recycled materials if you need a household item.
• Use clean takeout containers to store frozen meals in stackable vessels.
• You can use glass jars to keep food or other items or give them to friends or organisations that manufacture jam.
• Use little plastic bags to pick up pet waste or to wrap wet, stinky trash.
• When remodelling or building, think about using recycled materials.
Placing the incorrect materials in your recycling bin may result in a significant percentage of recyclable material being sent to a landfill. Batteries, motor oil, chemicals, paints, and discarded mercury-containing lighting items, including compact fluorescent lights, shouldn't be recycled kerbside.
Since you cannot dispose of hazardous home waste in your regular garbage, check with your local municipality for safe disposal options. Roll aluminium foil into a tight ball and put it in a recycling bin even if it has food on it. Put your organic waste into compost.
Types Of Household Garbage
Roughly 6.7 million tonnes of organic waste, including food waste, biosolids, green trash, and wood, were dumped in landfills between 2016 and 2017. The organic waste decomposes to produce landfill gas, which is about 55 per cent methane.
Methane poses far more danger as a greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide (CO2). Additionally, it has a bad odour and is very combustible. It would be preferable to compost organic waste at home or deliver it to a nearby green waste recycler instead of placing it in the trash.
Keep an eye out for items from sustainably waste-managed sources, such as plantations or sustainably managed native forests, or those with a high percentage of Australian recycled fibre. This is particularly important when purchasing paper or cardboard products.
Paper makers in Australia must adhere to environmental production regulations that may not be required in other countries. You can leave paper and cardboard for curbside recycling.
Roughly more than 3.5 million tonnes of plastic were used in Australia between 2016 and 2017. Less than ten per cent (293,000 tonnes) was recycled in the same period. Plastics are manufactured goods made from priceless non-renewable resources like coal, oil, and gas. For 20 years, the most common material collected on Clean Up Australia Day has been plastic.
You may typically recycle hard plastics through kerbside programmes. After stretching, chopping, and moulding into a recycled product, they are melted. Some shops now recycle soft plastics like shopping bags, cling, bubble wrap, rice bags, and biscuit packets.
Steel and aluminium
Aluminium is used extensively to make cans, especially aerosol containers, and containers for storing food products. Aluminium is sometimes referred to as "frozen electricity" because the metal requires so much energy to produce. Aluminium, however, is repeatedly recyclable.
Recycling this material even when it has food crumbs on it is possible. It is recommended to insert the lid into the steel can before squashing the material and placing it in your bin when recycling steel cans.
Electronic garbage (E-Waste)
Products such as computers, televisions, home entertainment systems, printers, fax machines, and mobile phones are considered electronic garbage or e-waste. Compared to 52 per cent of regular waste, approximately just 10 per cent of e-waste is recycled.
E-waste has a lot of recyclable components that you should recycle to preserve natural resources. E-waste also includes many dangerous substances that, if not correctly disposed of, can leach into the environment, including lead and mercury.
E-waste can be recycled or safely disposed of through other services, but you cannot recycle it in your curbside bin. The Australian government has also established a National Television and Computer Recycling Program supported by industry. They accept discarded computer accessories.
Recyclable e-waste includes:
• Mobile phone components and telephone systems
• Stereo components, DVD and video players
• Computers and accessories
• Printers, faxes, and scanners
Toilet, bathroom, and laundry waste
The laundry room, restroom, and bathroom typically see heavy chemical use. Limit the amount of waste and chemicals you flush down the toilet and sink. You can do the cleaning successfully without the use of chemicals. You can use white vinegar or bicarbonate of soda mixed with water and a soft cloth. Do the following as well to help conserve the environment:
• Reuse old containers and purchase replacements
• Purchase replaceable-head toothbrushes and shavers
• Refill the liquid soap bottles you have
• Purchase toilet paper made from plantation wood or recycled paper
• Recycle cardboard and paper products
Food and kitchen waste
Australians throw away more than 30 per cent of the food they buy. This translates to almost 3.1 million tonnes of food annually. Homes produced 2.54 million tonnes of the total amount of food waste. Food that has gone bad creates methane in landfills, a greenhouse gas that is particularly harmful to the environment.
Due to food waste, Australian homes lose between $2200 and $3800 per year. Our kitchens lose a lot of food because we don't plan well or buy too much stuff. Here are some additional ideas to aid you in conserving energy and cutting wastage in the kitchen:
• Set your refrigerator to the proper temperature—between three and four degrees Celsius for the fridge and between minus fifteen and minus eighteen degrees Celsius for the freezer—to avoid wasting energy.
• The bulk of food packaging can be discarded or repurposed. Put fresh food in reusable bags. Recycle everything in your home, including rigid (hard) plastics, tins, paper, foil, pie plates, cardboard, and drink containers.
• Keep leftovers in the freezer for later use and avoid repeated reheating.
About 7 million tonnes of construction waste are disposed of in landfills annually in Australia. As such, reducing and recycling building waste like concrete can have a significant impact. When you need to design a project, there are many things to consider, for example, the amount of time and effort for completion, the tools you need for development, etc.
Smaller spaces can be built for less money and cost even less over time to run because they require less heating, lighting, and maintenance. Look for ways to reduce waste during your project and recycle any leftover building materials with the help of your designer and contractor. It's necessary to discuss trash at the outset because up to 90 per cent of crucial decisions, including waste minimisation, are made during the design stage.
Hazardous materials and waste
Australia produced roughly 6.3 million tonnes of hazardous waste in 2016–17, and this number is growing at about 9 per cent per year. Products such as motor oil, braking fluid, kerosene, mineral turpentine, pesticides, herbicides, batteries, CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), oven cleaners, and pool chemicals are examples of hazardous waste.
Some of these products can potentially catch fire at relatively low temperatures, or they may react explosively with air, water, or other materials, releasing hazardous vapours. These items cannot be disposed of with your regular rubbish, and it may even be unlawful to do so for many dangerous wastes because they pose significant health concerns. Sometimes they leak into the environment and waterways.
The most typical type of hazardous trash that homeowners dispose of is household batteries. Most batteries contain heavy metals, which can leak into the earth if improperly disposed of, so these cannot be placed in curbside recycling bins. You shouldn't throw them into ordinary trash either.
Consider using rechargeable batteries if you need stored energy. They are a little more expensive now but will pay for themselves in the long run. Batteries for cars, cell phones, rechargeable devices, smoke alarms, and buttons can be recycled or disposed of in hazardous trash bins.
Waste Management Economics - Why Invest?
The value of NSW's waste management industry was estimated to be about $4 billion in 2017 (Source: NSW Circular Economy Policy). Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) estimates the industry supports 35,000 jobs and earns the Australian economy $50 billion annually.
• Recycling in Australia has the potential to bring in $324 million yearly, according to a recent Ernst & Young research. How can we make use of this economic potential and increase the financial return from waste management investments?
• To guarantee that the necessary infrastructure is constructed across Australia, the industry has urged the Federal government to take the initiative and oversee a national coordinating and planning effort.
• All levels of government will need to come together on this and prioritise harmonising regulatory frameworks, especially concerning trash levies.
• There are also requests for the government to implement "green procurement" laws to reduce national waste and to jump-start the growth of a sustainable long-term market for recycled goods.
• To encourage investment in new waste processing technology, the NSW government is allocating $168 million. This is a component of the nine-year, $802.7 million initiative Waste Less, Recycle More. Additionally, the NSW government just introduced NSW Circular, an innovation network created to aid in the shift to a circular economy.
This is positive and excellent news for NSW. To collaborate, share ideas, and pool resources to address trash issues, businesses of all sizes join forces with local communities and other key stakeholders.
Don't Let Your Garbage Pile Up
Initiatives to boost interest in recyclable materials are ongoing. This includes introducing green procurement programmes and accrediting systems, like the Global Green Tag, that include recyclable materials like crushed glass and rubber in products to assist consumers in identifying sustainable and recyclable goods.
Also, it is essential to recognise businesses and local communities that are funding joint projects, programmes, and innovative approaches to solving garbage problems. Should you have an immediate need for rubbish removal and disposal that is in line with the Australian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), speak to your local council or garbage disposal companies.