Billions of tons’ worth of waste is produced around the world every single year. There are various steps that we can take to reduce this waste and do our part for the environment.
Whether this is in relation to ourselves as individuals, businesses, governments, etc., waste management is critical. For there to be effective waste management, there can’t simply be an adherence to the practices we’ve been following. There needs to be an adaptation of the best practices across the world. So, here are the 10 best practices for waste management that you can adopt today.
1. Reducing Paper Use
The first thing you can do as an individual is reducing the amount of paper you use. Try to print on both sides of the page and provide paper only when needed. Try sending emails and texts as often as possible instead of printing when possible. Also reduce the amount of printer paper that you buy.
2. Going Digital
Going digital is great for the environment. Don’t print something out if you can help it. Just send an email or an attachment or a link to a cloud drive instead. Use e-tickets or digital payments instead of cash or paper tickets. Also, try to use things like biometric identification and digital authentication. Try to eliminate as much of physical paper or waste materials from your professional and personal life as much as you can.
3. Using Sustainable Resources
Make sure that as an individual you use as many sustainable resources as possible. If you need to print something, use ecofriendly paper. If you need to buy something, make sure that it’s ethically sourced or environmentally friendly. Basically, try as much as you can to live a waste free lifestyle.
4. Removing Single Use Plastic from Your Life
As an individual, you should eliminate single use plastic from your life. Instead, try carrying around paper or cloth bags which are reusable. Or better yet, try reusing any plastic bags that you do have lying around the house. You can also switch to biodegradable bags and reduce the use of plastic in your home.
5. Implementing Waste Stations
Local governments should make sure that plenty of waste bins are available in as many neighborhoods as possible. This will make it easier for people to throw trash in the proper places. Households should also be offered incentives for sorting their trash and composting their organic trash.
6. Considering Site Waste Facilities Properly
Siting waste facilities perfunctorily leads to a lot of damage. For example, improperly sited waste facilities can allow waste to leak into the water supply or can cause damage to the surrounding groundwater. Landfills also produce unpleasant smells and the toxic fumes can also reduce the livability of surrounding properties. They can also attract vermin and insects.
Hence, any landfills that are sited near residential areas or near hospitals are a bad idea. They must be sited outside city limits away from any living or commercial spaces.
7. Thinking of Waste as a Resource
Changing your point of view can be a great way to solve a problem. For trash, thinking of it as a potential resource is a great way to start. Take for example the town of Capannori in Italy. This town instituted a zero waste program in 1997, and the program is now financially self-sufficient. The city accomplished this by selling materials that had been recycled. The US has also been using waste to generate power and now produces 550 kWh in an average waste-to-energy facility. Responsible waste management is only half the story. Using waste to actually benefit your society is the other half.
8. Trying New Ideas
There are several cities around the world using advanced technology to better waste collection and waste management. Take for example, New York City. The administration there is using specialized sensors in trash compactors to measure the levels every day. If the levels remain below the normal collection rate for too long, they check if trash collection was neglected. This helps keep the city’s trash collection running like clockwork.
Other examples include the city of Songdo and Rotterdam. They use digital sensors to detect paper and cardboard bins when they’re almost full. Hence, they can be emptied at the best times.
9. Measuring Waste
This one’s for the waste collectors and the waste disposal businesses. When you measure the amount of waste that is being collected from different sites, it’s important to weigh everything. It’s common to weigh the skips and convey that to the organization via bills. However, the collection sacks or the smaller bins aren’t weighed or recorded. Carrying out a visual assessment is much more common.
Instead of that, check before the collection truck arrives and see how full they are. If they’re differently sized bins, note down their sizes and estimate how full they are. Also mark how often the waste is collected. Once you’ve provided that information, you’ll know how much waste your business produces.
10. Identifying Local Collectors
Another one for the business owners or for the local groups that want to dispose of waste the right way. The amount that your organization or company produces will let you know which local collectors are the right choice. The kind of materials that are in your waste can also matter greatly. Some are just not meant for landfills and can be damaging to the environment.
So check the list of private and local government recycling services that provide collection, transport, etc. You can also search for the kinds of material that they recycle and their practices.
To Sum it all Up
Taking care of these ten things while recycling or disposing of waste can really make a difference. It can actually make the problem of waste disposal less severe. However, remember that consistency and care are both the key to this.