With the rise in population, the consumption of resources has also risen. This has also led to an increase in the amount of waste produced. Proper management of these wastes has to be improved, especially in densely populated urban areas. Improper management leads to countless environmental issues that can affect all life. Awareness about the common practices in waste management is key to changing this. For example, one can take advantage of skip bin for hire in Sydney for all waste disposal purposes-residential and commercial.
Hierarchy in Strategies
There are various ways to reduce the negative impacts of waste and properly dispose of or manage it. Among these options, there is a hierarchy based on which option is preferable. Prevention is the primary option, followed by minimisation, reuse, recycling, energy recovery, and disposal.
Prevention – As the proverb goes, prevention is better than cure. Hence the ideal way to manage wastes is to prevent waste generation in the first place. There have been various developments in technology allowing manufacturers to make the production process more efficient, reducing the amount of waste generated. These include reduced usage of harmful substances, better material storage, and water-saving techniques.
Minimisation – While prevention is the best way to approach waste management, it does not turn out to be practical very often. The production of wastes cannot be eliminated in certain processes. However, various strategies can be used to reduce the amount of waste being produced. This approach is also called source reduction. In the case of industrial waste, source reduction can be made by using less hazardous or substitute substances, changing design or production processes, and reusing materials. Using a mixture of these techniques and applying them to the product cycles that produce more waste can make a significant difference in total waste output.
Recycling and Reuse – Recycling is the process of obtaining useful materials from waste and using it in the making of new products. This has two benefits. It reduces the total amount of waste while also reducing the requirement of raw materials for production. Recycling also has additional benefits like a reduction in the amount of energy required for production and reduced emissions. Paper, plastics, aluminium, and wood are some of the most commonly recycled materials. Many materials like asphalt and concrete can be reused. Plant-based wastes are also reused as fertilisers or mulch. As in the earlier example of skip bins for hire in Sydney, such services can also collect recyclable materials. Recycling is being used more, with Australia’s recycling rate rising by 2% in the last two years.
Biological Treatment – Biological treatment is the biodegradation of wastes. It comes under the energy recovery approach. This is achieved through composting, anaerobic digestion, or mechanical treatment methods. Naturally degrading wastes have bacteria in them which can undergo aerobic composting. Piles of garbage are gathered in a treatment system for this process. Woodchips are often added to augment the composting. Compost has applications, like remediating soil.
In cases where aerobic composting isn’t feasible, anaerobic alternatives can be employed. Anaerobic processes involve the use of methane and carbon dioxide and other residuals. This process gives biogas which can be used for heating or electricity production. Such treatment is only recommended in the case of wet wastes.
Incineration – Incineration is the combustion of waste at high temperatures for the production of electricity. It can also be done to produce energy. This technique is often used in areas with less area available for landfills.