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Waste Management Information
Waste management is the process of waste control in which an organisation reduces, reuses, disposes of, and prevents the accumulation of waste in society. There are several ways in which waste is managed globally. Global waste can be managed in various ways, including recycling, compositing, incineration, and landfills.
Additionally, converting waste to energy and bioremediation (using microorganisms to break down solid and liquid wastes) is also a form of waste management. Generally, waste management involves a system of operation that manages the generation of wastes, their disposal, and their energy recovery. This article will deal with waste management facts to equip yourself with and their importance.
Waste Generation And Management
Waste mismanagement and garbage oversight have gradually become part of our everyday lives. In times past, humans were known to recycle waste and reuse it almost immediately, simply because they had to make do with the little resources they had back then—as things were grossly insufficient.
They had to devise a means to produce more from waste recycling because only a few industries could produce economically beneficial products. In addition, many societies didn't have access to modern infrastructures to move millions of goods from place to place.
But now, the story has changed. The world has moved from shadowing obscurity into the economic limelight and bloomed. Hence, many more industries are available, and many societies have plenty of infrastructures that produce waste daily.
Just as the world produces and generates billions of products and goods, it, in turn, generates as much solid waste and food waste as possible. All this industrial and societal output has led to an intense rise in the amount of waste generated by humans.
Sectors That Contribute To Waste Generation
Many countries worldwide find it difficult to manage waste and recycle plastics. In 2018, research carried out by the National Waste Report showed that more waste is produced in some parts of the world than in an average western economy.
Some countries generated an estimated amount of 67 million tonnes (Mt) of waste in 2016–17, which matches around 2.7 metric tonnes per capita. The sectors that contribute to the most waste generated in these countries are as follows:
• The manufacturing industry, which amounts to about 12.8 million metric tonnes
• The construction sector, which produces 12.7 million metric tonnes of waste on average
• The household sector, with about 12.4 million metric tonnes of waste
• The electricity, gas, and water sector constitute about 10.9 million metric tonnes of garbage
Types Of Waste Generated
There are several types of waste generated, and these include:
• Plastic waste
• Organic wastes
• Hazardous waste
• Municipal solid waste
• Biomedical waste
• Agricultural wastes
• Minimised wastes
• Clothing and textile waste
• Food waste
• Household wastes (solid and liquid wastes)
• Industrial waste
• Electricity, gas, and water (electronic waste)
How Much Waste Does The World Produce?
According to research done in 2020, approximately 2.2 billion metric tonnes of waste are produced per year globally. This means that the average amount of waste generated per person is around 0.79 kg per day. Now, that's high! Unfortunately, at least 33% of such waste was not handled in an eco-friendly way.
Usually, the manufacturing and construction sectors make up about 25 per cent of the total trash generated, while households contribute about 20 per cent of the waste.
How Much Is Spent On Waste Management?
Generally, the total amount of money spent on collecting, treating, and disposing of waste in a year is quite a lot. However, this differs from country to country. The most important sectors focused on are construction, manufacturing, households, and agriculture.
In Australia, the government reported an expenditure of $249.6 million, from 2020 to 2021, to support household waste management, alleviate environmental pressure, and generate economic opportunities for its citizens.
Who Is Responsible For Waste Management?
Every individual worldwide has a role to play in the management of waste. Private individuals, companies, property owners, large industries, municipal and local governments, and even kids are responsible for waste management.
They provide waste management services, such as removing waste materials and storing and disposing of waste. Some larger corporations also work with these industries and other stakeholders to expand recycling at the municipal level.
Waste Disposal Methods
• Sanitary landfills
• Plasma gasification
• Ploughing into a field
• Salvaging method
• Biological digestion or fermentation
Primarily, landfill as a form of waste management is the most sought after. Waste managed majorly by landfills is not recycled or reused. Non-recycled or reused rubbish is disposed of in the nation's landfills. Landfills affect the quality of air, water, and land.
Landfill gas (methane) is produced by breaking down organic rubbish (wastes), which adds to global warming when it is released into the air. The water from the landfill moves through it and produces leachate that could contaminate surrounding surfaces and groundwater.
Substances capable of causing hazards can also migrate through the surrounding land areas by leachate or landfill gas. The reason for the considerable rise in the amount of waste generated is due to the increase in population and per capita income produced over the period.
More waste is created because there are more people in the country; hence, accelerated economic growth leads to more industrial activities, and more waste is generated. Around 84% of this waste is disposed of in a landfill.
Waste Management Facts To Know
Fact One: Waste is generated every year
Every year, waste is generated, and this garbage is often two times the rate of the population living in a particular area. The average Australian discards around 600 times their body weight in the waste throughout their lifetime. For instance, a human weighing 80 kg will generate about 480,000 kilos of rubbish. The average family produces trash that can fill a three-bedroom apartment each year.
Fact Two: Ten million plastic bags are used every day
Each day, over 10 million plastic bags are used. This situation has led to increased waste thrown into the ocean and several hazards to aquatic life. If you recycle at least one tonne of paper, you end up saving approximately:
• 4,100 kWh of energy
• 17.000 litres of oil
• 54 million Btu of energy
• 60 pounds of emitted air pollutants
• 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
• 30,000 litres of water
• 17 trees
Fact Three: The amount of food waste produced yearly
The amount of food produced annually is about 64 million metric tonnes, and because these foods are made in excess, they, in turn, get passed down and waste food worth over $3.5k every year.
Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to adequately feed themselves daily. Many people struggle to feed daily, while others eat to their fill and produce over 3.3 million metric tonnes of waste yearly.
Fact Four: Plastic is the most significant contributor of waste
Plastic waste is the most prominent form of waste in many nations worldwide, and some countries have generated over 6.3 billion metric tonnes of plastics in the past years. Only about 12% of these plastic wastes get incinerated, while 9% are recycled, and the remaining wastes are thrown into the ocean, landfills, and waterways.
Human waste gets washed into water bodies or deliberately down into the ocean, which amounts to over 1.4 billion trash lbs (6.3 billion kgs). This means that, on average, around 8 million waste items are in the ocean.
If humans do not focus on plastic recycling instead of tossing it into water bodies, as they currently do, the sea will soon be filled with more plastics (by weight) than fish. A recycled plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a light bulb for four hours.
Fact Five: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between (CA) California and (HI) Hawaii, is a horrific mass of floating waste covering an area three times the size of France. Although the patch has received much attention over the years because of its great size and impact on the environment, it is not the only garbage patch floating in our oceans.
Ocean gyres have led trash to accumulate in at least two additional locations, one in the South Pacific Ocean and the other in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Fact Six: Humans produce 50 million metric tonnes of E-waste
The amount of waste humans generate concerning electronic waste from old phones, TVs, computers, etc., is over 50 million metric tonnes.
Fact Seven: Schools generate a large amount of waste
Many schools are accountable for generating a large amount of waste every year. A lot of trash comes from all the paperwork, canteen meals, and other school activities.
Fact Eight: Landfills contribute to soil pollution
Landfills contribute significantly to soil pollution because it is the most popular waste management method. However, it allows for waste recycling and management.
Fact Nine: Glass waste doesn't decompose easily
Glass waste does not decompose quickly and can take up to a million years in the landfill to decompose, making recycling a better waste management option. If you recycle one tonne of glass, you save approximately:
• 42 kWh of energy
• 714,286 Btu of energy
• 22 litres of oil
• Two cubic yards of landfill space, and
• Prevents the emission of around 3.5 kilograms of air pollutants
Fact Ten: Waste includes both solid and liquid wastes
Yes, water is a waste, too, and if you do not appropriately manage your leaking tap, it can amount to over 5000 litres of water waste by the end of the year.
Fact Eleven: Sea waste affects humans directly
When humans consume aquatic animals fed on ocean trash, they become exposed to severe health threats.
Fact Twelve: Burials are the primary source of land waste
Burials are the primary source of garbage. The coffins alone amount to around 2700 tonnes of copper, 30 million feet (9144000m) of hardwood, and over 90, 272 tons of steel in the soil yearly.
Fact Thirteen: Plastic waste travels
Plastic wastes travel far, circling an approximate distance of thousands of kilometres in just a few months.
Fact Fourteen: Holiday seasons generate more waste
During holidays the amount of waste generated is higher than that produced on other days. This results from more shopping activities and more consumption on these special days.
Fact Fifteen: Recycle aluminium cans
It is advisable and beneficial to everyone that you recycle your aluminium cans. An aluminium can in a landfill does not easily decompose. It takes over 100 years for decomposition to happen. Therefore, if you recycle one tonne of aluminium, you save approximately:
• 14,000 kWh of energy
• 7560 litres of oil
• Ten cubic yards of landfill space
• Energy savings of 237.6 million Btu
Fact Sixteen: Improper waste disposal leads to marine loss
Improper rubbish disposal leads to an exacerbated number of losses of aquatic life. Millions of birds, porpoises, and dolphins die because of marine trash. Moreover, waste products such as metals from industries, heavy acids, nuclear reactors, and sewage can alter the biochemistry, genetic makeup, composition, reproduction, behaviour, and growth of a marine animal.
Municipal Solid Waste Management
Municipal solid waste includes treated bio-medical wastes and commercial and household wastes produced in municipal areas in semi-solid or solid form. Industrial hazardous waste is not included, although treated bio-medical waste is. Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is the method whereby solid waste in a municipality is stored, treated, and disposed of.
The way waste management is done ensures that it becomes harmless to all lives on Earth, including humans, plants, animals, ecology, and our surroundings in general. Municipal solid waste management can be done by:
• Reducing the amount of waste produced
• Reusing wastes items as often as possible
• Recycling waste items so that their materials can be recovered and reused
• Composting organic waste residues
Importance Of Waste Management
• It reduces waste effects on the environment.
• It lowers health hazards.
• It saves enough energy.
• It increases recycling activities.
• It extends life on Earth.
• It prevents the death of oceanic organisms.
• It helps in the reuse of materials for other purposes.
• It controls toxicity in the environment.
• It reduces water contamination, food mismanagement, and erosion of soils.
• It leads to energy conservation.
• It saves the Earth from contamination.
• It creates an economic bloom.
• It provides employment opportunities.
• It reduces waste generated in schools by turning it into other valuable materials that aid in the learning process.
Practice Waste Management
To create a sustainable change and a globally acceptable shift, you must dramatically modify waste management systems one step at a time. There are tons of benefits attached for effective and proper waste management. Presently, credible corporations can oversee, manage and recycle all your generated waste materials produced in your home, business, or school.
If you employ skip bin services, produced waste is guaranteed to be sorted appropriately, and your total amount of waste produced will decrease drastically, so play your part in waste management and conserve the environment.