Waste management involves the activities and actions required to manage waste from its source to its final disposal. Many wastes generated by humans affect the air, water, and land of our environment. This means that the proper management of waste is essential for creating and sustaining habitable cities. Waste management involves the collection, transport, disposal, management, and monitoring of different waste materials.
About 11.2 billion tons of solid waste is collected worldwide. Almost all of that is generated by humans alone. Besides management this waste, we have to further look into waste sustainability so that we can manage every bit of waste efficiently instead of always dumping in landfills.
Sustainable waste management is a concept that refers to the collection, transportation, recovery, and disposal of various types of waste in a way that does not threaten the environment, human health, or future generations. It includes every process in an organization from production to final treatment. It is important to note that there are various types of waste that can not be processed in the same way.
Why is Sustainable Waste Management Important?
1. It creates space.
If there is no waste management, waste will end up on land either being dispersed or converged in a landfill somewhere. Landfills require a lot of space.
2. It saves money and creates wealth.
Once something is reused or recycled, there isn't a need to purchase another object of the same which saves us money. It also means that companies that handle waste will not need to process as much waste. This reduces disposal costs.
Sustainable waste management also allows the opportunity for generating money. Collection and recycling fees can be used to make money in the process or to even discourage/encourage certain behaviors with waste.
3. It enhances sustainability.
The core of sustainability is managing waste, energy, and water and doing it more efficiently. Improving our individual, business, government, or organizational sustainability can boost the image and attract qualitative tenants, clients, and customers to our organization. It engages employees, volunteers, and citizens positively.
4. It controls pollution.
Every waste has a particular effect on the environment when dumped. For example, medicinal waste causes water poisoning, and waste foods attract flies and rodents. Sustainable waste management aids us in understanding our waste and the best way to deal with it.
The medicinal waste should be taken to its initial producer for adequate discarding, such as incineration; the waste food can be composted and recycled. In the long run, it will prevent water poisoning, rodents, and clogging of oceans. These measures and more will help in controlling pollution.
5. It is the core of environmental conservation.
Humans are the greatest enemy to the environment. Junks are being produced at unbelievably fast rates but still use inferior waste management methods. Therefore, sustainable waste management is at the heart of environmental conservation as it goes a long way in preserving the environment and improving it not only for us but also for other species and future generations.
It leads to resources conservation, including trees, metals, and water, reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming and enhancing the existing resources, for example, nourishing the soil with compostable waste.
6. It makes us responsible inhabitants on earth.
Generation of waste will always occur as humans cannot live without it. Sustainable waste management will help us become better and responsible citizens of the planet by carefully, effectively, and sustainably managing our waste.
We will develop better ways of managing waste, new technologies for dealing with our waste, and the best alternatives for each type of waste. For instance, food remains and fruits can be composted, plastics recycled, and paper incinerated instead of being dumped in landfills.
Sustainable Waste Management is a key concept of the circular economy as it offers many opportunities and benefits not just to the economy but also to society and the environment. It involves collecting, grouping, treating, recycling, and providing a source of energy and resources when appropriately promoted. It helps in job creation, improves waste management methods, and dwindles the impact of human activities in the environment, enhancing land, air, and water quality. It also lowers food wastage, prevents some human health situations, thereby improving the overall human life.