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Waste has two basic properties: one refers to the detrimental effects of large volumes of it on human health and the environment, while the other refers to processes of waste decomposition and matter, as well as their chemical, physical and microbiological degradation processes. Due to this, it needs to go through appropriate processes of collection, recycling, material decomposition and disposal so as to minimize or prevent any damages.
Everything humans eat, use or buy (land, plants, animals, water, wood, oil, metals, etc) represent natural resources which are provided by the Earth. Due to the human race’s increased and growing needs, however, these resources are being rapidly depleted and many of them are being exhausted faster than they can be replaced.
Unmanaged product causes severe pollution of the environment, land degradation, air contamination, severe toxicity of surface and ground waters, and unmanageable accumulation of solid/liquid waste/waste water. Technologies for the preparation of mineral raw materials are applied in the field of recycling and composting, in order to preserve the environment and primary resources.
Successfully implemented programs on the basis of the 3R principle (reduce, re-use, recycle), apply to the waste management strategies that are primarily seeking to minimize waste accumulation. This in turn leads to its reduced collection, disposal and treatment. If the recyclable product is separated and distinctly marked when collected from the curbside, it is highly visible and attention-grabbing, thereby making people more confident that it will be properly and efficiently recycled. As such, people become more likely to participate and contribute to the recycling plan of action.
Although product disposal and recycling are crucial strategies, the topmost of the preferable options for a sustainable and efficient waste management strategy is waste minimization. Every municipality, industry, and business, as well as all residents, have to be thoroughly informed and aware of ways to reduce any non-essential product.
The primary focus must be on waste reduction, followed by its effective disposal and treatment. It is suggested that the Government administers this information to all residents without delay. The public will, in turn, make it their responsibility to consider all the psychological, situational and environmental actions that influence intention-behavior relationship with household waste.
In order to comply with the European Union standards, municipalities must supervise and treat their product according to the EU-set and approved guidelines. Said guidelines include enhanced, efficient and sustainable transportation and waste materials, with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from waste collection and disposal. Primary consideration is to be taken specifically on alternative approaches that are recommended for the role of local communities in addressing the problem. The key factor in the importance of preserving the environment in the framework of EU’s aims is to determine the level and types of regulations that are applied in the waste management strategy.
Some municipalities in Germany, Scandinavia and the Benelux are already aiming for a zero-waste strategy, which should be the ultimate efficient and ecological/green waste management goal worldwide. Zero waste, although challenging, is attainable and cost-efficient in the long-term, as well as both environmentally and economically sustainable. A step-by-step implementation of some of the best practices in achieving 100 percent recycling waste and recovery from waste materials, will help the UK mirror their goal. Furthermore, modifying the entire system by optimising actions in transforming the social, economic, environmental, technological and political management strategies is the best approach to adopt.
Reaching sustainable development comes down to a permanent, long-term reduction in consumption of primary resources while progressively increasing the production of resources obtained through reuse and recycling. The end goal of this process is to officially reduce consumption of non-essential resources.
Written by Deja Dragovic