Waste is a global problem. From electronic devices to unused food to plastic, much of what is thrown away ends up in landfills or even in the environment around us.
As much as efforts are being made to find initiatives for proper waste collection and recycling, trash to date is not handled with proper care and attention.
The article explains how much we pollute, where the waste ends up, and how recycling and other solutions can help solve the problem. It will also explain how companies can manage waste.
How Much Do We Throw Away?
Annually, 2.12 billion tons of waste is produced worldwide, and at least 33% of the planet’s waste is not managed in an environmentally safe way. That’s only a conservative figure, which means the percentage could be even more frightening. It is estimated that the world’s oceans are annualy polluted by 10 million metric tons of plastic, and by 2050, it is expected that global waste will grow to 3.40 billion. This growth is more than twice the population growth during the same period.
Where Does Our Waste Go?
Generally, there are two places where our waste ends: landfill and recycling. The latter is the aim. However, recycling is not always an option; in some situations, waste goes to landfill.
For example, every year, 500 coffee cups are used by the average office worker. These are single-use cups, meaning they are all sent to landfills.
In 2018, approximately 146.1 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) were landfilled in the U.S.
How it works
By separating waste via a system of layers, sanitary landfills are designed with the intention for waste to decompose safely. When the trash is delivered to a landfill, it is compacted, so it takes up less room.
The majority of waste can be recycled. Infact, according to research conducted by the EPA, it is estimated that 75% of the U.S. waste stream is recyclable. Sadly, only about 30% of this waste is recycled. On a global scale, it is said that 91% of plastic still isn’t recycled, while the recycling rate for PET bottles in America sits at a low 30%.
The good news is that attitudes are slowly changing. Recycling is becoming more and more prevalent. In 2019, the U.S. took 25 million tons of combustible MSW and converted it into approximately 13 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. When you consider how recyclable certain materials are – 95% of textiles can be potentially recycled or reused, for instance – much waste can be diverted from going to landfills and instead be repurposed in ways that are more advantageous to the environment.
How it works
The process first begins by collecting recyclable materials. When the materials are at a recycling center, they are sorted by type. Specialist machinery will separate paper from plastic, metals from cardboard, etc. Workers at the center will also separate soiled recyclables from clean ones. If a recyclable is soiled, it will either be cleaned or thrown away if deemed unusable. Once a recycling center has processed and broken down the recyclables into raw materials, they can use them again to create new products.
New waste disposal technology
New waste disposal technology is being used to improve and refine the recycling process.
An intelligent waste bin is one of the most effective technologies a company can incorporate. This makes material processing easier and faster, drastically boosting employee efficiency and reducing waste management costs by up to 80%.
Managing business waste
Did you know that 57% of consumers are open to changing their purchasing habits if it reduces negative environmental impact? This means that if your business can display its effort and commitment to sustainability, it can open the door to attracting new customers.To make it a reality, you must manage the business waste successfully.
Below are a few tips on dealing with common waste types.
With everyday waste such as paper and plastic, you must sort and correctly store these materials. Having a secure place to store waste is the first step. You will also need to use clearly labeled containers to separate and collect the waste.
Also known as e-waste, it will become an increasing concern for businesses. If you have electronic waste which has no future purpose for your business, there are various steps you can take. Some specialist third-party electronics recyclers can take care of these materials in a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly way. There’s also the possibility of trading-in devices for upgrades or donating them to local charities to expand their lifespan.
Begin by ensuring all hazardous waste is separated from non-hazardous waste. Hazardous materials include chemicals, solvents, batteries, oils, and pesticides. You will then need to store the waste responsibly using suitable containers and storing them in a safe, secure place.
Waste is a major problem that the world is currently facing. Much waste is produced in the U.S. and across the world. This problem will only become further exacerbated if landfills opt over recycling. However, with a more sustainable-driven approach, where materials are recycled, and the likes of single-use plastics are eliminated, there’s hope that waste will no longer be the problem it currently is for the planet.
This article was written based on data provided by Fluent Conveyors. You can find all the insights in their newest guide, “How Much Do We Waste?”
Link to website: https://fluentconveyors.com/blog/a-data-driven-guide-to-waste-and-landfills
Other links: https://www.safetecdirect.co.uk/ppe-personal-protective-equipment/the-impact-of-plastic-ppe-during-covid19