Waste Management and Recycling of Waste
Waste management is an often-overlooked subject, but its relationship to the environment, and therefore to all things “green” and “eco-friendly” cannot be understated. In this post, we’ll break down the basics of waste management and environmentally sound methods of safe waste recycling.
So where does it all go? The garbage and waste we produce and discard just magically disappears, becoming someone else’s concern — a thing we so easily take for granted. But literally everything we make, from trash in the garbage bin to the material that goes through the garbage disposal and down the sink drain, has to encounter the environment again at some point. And recycling, re-using and ultimately limiting the use of materials and products all can help in preserving the environment.
The Basics of Waste and Its Relationship to Recycling
Non-Hazardous Waste, the first of two categories of general waste, typically refers to solid waste. In a nutshell, garbage — anything from wastewater treatment castoff material to the discards from an air pollution control facility. This includes all forms of matter, ranging from gaseous to solid, that may be the result of processes pursued by any commercial, mining, agricultural or even community activity. In the US, it is estimated that every single person creates more than four and a half pounds of waste each and every day.
Industrial and Municipal Waste Management
A specific form of waste, Industrial Waste (as opposed to residential waste) is defined as waste produced by commercial and or industrial elements in society, including both the suburbs and urban city centers.
The garbage produced by all businesses and individuals across the many communities in any country constitutes municipal waste. Reducing our use of materials and therefore the associated waste is the first and most significant potential solution to limiting waste — followed by waste recycling.
Other Means of Waste Management
Landfills are designated areas specifically engineered to house waste that is placed into (often directly into) the land. After reduction and recycling (including composting of materials when applicable), disposal means like landfills and waste combustors that burn industrial waste at high temperatures, reducing waste volume while simultaneously generating electricity, rank among other means of waste management.
Composting can be thought of as an alternative form of recycling — wherein organic waste such as discarded fruits and vegetables, or cuttings from organic plant matter in the yard and garden, can be combined with fungi or bacteria that breaks the organic matter down to compost. This material can be used then to fertilize soil, encouraging more significant plant growth.
Hazardous Waste Information and Management
Hazardous waste is just as it sounds — discarded materials that are dangerous to the environment when improperly disposed. This includes matter in all forms — from gases, to liquids and solids, and include everything from discarded non-biodegradable commercial products, to pesticides, to other harmful manufacturing method byproducts.
Environmental management and hazardous waste recycling is something that can be done in a safe manner, as many potentially harmful products can be effectively reclaimed or re-used. Recovering used solvents and metals are both common examples of reclaimed hazardous waste.
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