TOPIC: SUSTAINABLE WASTE MANAGEMENT
Magaji Olawale Peter.
Educator and Entrepreneur.
African Initiative CleanUp (Ekiti Team Lead) .
An Advocate for cleaner environment / sustainable waste management
What is Waste?
Waste is unwanted or unusable material, substances or by-products.
What is Sustainable Management?
Sustainable (Waste) Management is reducing the amount of waste and disposing of waste products in a way that is not harmful to the environment.
The goal of sustainable waste management is to reduce the amount of natural
resources consumed, confirm that any materials that are taken from nature are
reused as many times as possible and that the waste created is kept at a
Please explain sustainable waste systems?
System simply is a way of organizing or planning. Sustainable waste management system is the way waste products are handled in general beginning from production to disposal with the consciousness of environmental preservation. A sustainable waste management system incorporates feedback loops, is focused on processes, embodies adaptability and diverts wastes from disposal.
What are Waste management problems and their solutions?
Waste Disposal Problems include;
- Production of too much waste
One of the major waste disposal problems is attributed
to the generation of too much waste. The problem is that in today’s society we are comfortable with disposable items and we are surrounded with companies and producers striving to maximize profits by producing one-time use products without prioritizing on the use of environmentally friendly materials.
- Most of the wastes are toxic. On a daily basis, industries produce toxic products that end up getting thrown away after use. Packaging is also one of the biggest and rapidly enlarging categories of solid wastes. This is often times waste from plastics which are not biodegradable.
- Landfills are a problem as well. Most landfills lack proper on-site waste management thereby contributing to additional threats to the environment. In the long-term, landfills leak and pollute ground water and other neighboring environmental habitats making waste management very difficult and unhealthy.
- Recycling technologies such as plasma arc, gasification, and pyrolysis are often marked as “green” but the truth is that they are not 100% green. These recycling technologies burn up waste with little or no oxygen and for this reason; it doesn’t differentiate them from the traditional incinerators which produce energy emissions and pollutions. Waste Disposal Solutions
The solutions include;
- Eco-responsibility; Eco-responsibility pertains to the three Rs mantra of
Re-use, Reduce, and Recycle.
- NGOs, authorities and states need to put more efforts towards the education of waste management.
- Polluters should be fined and an effective law should regulate waste management
- Eco products responsibility, producers should be made to be accountable and environment conscious in the course of their production.
Can you give us some tips on Sustainable Waste Management?
- We should be eco friendly and conscious when shopping
- We can contact recycling agents to pick up our used plastics and nylons
- Purchase more reusable materials, for instance use cotton napkins instead of diapers etc.
- We should grow the craft culture, changing scraps into arts and artifices
- Reduction of waste production.
- Use reusable shoppers bags #Shopper’sReusableBag and degradable packaging materials
What are the methods of Waste Management?
Some of the methods of Waste Management include;
Landfills, this is the most popularly used method of waste disposal used in developing countries. This process of waste disposal focuses attention on burying the waste in the land.
Incineration/Combustion: This is a type disposal method in which municipal solid wastes are burned at high temperatures. The process eventually converts them into residues and gaseous products. Incinerators are primarily used in thermal treatment where solid waste materials are converted to heat, gas, steam, and ash.
This methods however are not eco friendly.
Some of the eco friendly methods include;
- Recovery: Resource recovery is the process of taking useful
discarded items for reuse. These discarded items are then processed to extract or recover materials and resources or convert them to energy in the form of useable heat, electricity or fuel.
- Recycling: This is the process of converting waste products into new products to prevent energy usage and ensure consumption of fresh raw materials. The idea behind recycling is to reduce energy usage, reduce air and water pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions etc.
- Composting: This is an easy and natural bio-degradation process that takes organic wastes i.e. remains of plants and kitchen waste and turns them into nutrient rich food for plants through decay. This is said to be one of the best methods of waste disposal.
- Wastes to Energy (Recover Energy): Waste-to-Energy, also widely recognized by its acronym WtE is the generation of energy in the form of heat or electricity from wastes. This involves the conversion of non-recyclable waste items into useable heat, electricity, or fuel through a variety of processes. This type of energy is a renewable energy source as non-recyclable waste can be used over and over again to create it. Wastes to Energy can also help reduce carbon emissions by offsetting the need for energy from fossil sources.
- Avoidance/Waste Minimization: The easiest method of waste management is to
reduce the creation of waste materials thereby reducing the amount of waste to be disposed. Waste reduction can be done through recycling old materials, repairing damaged items instead of buying a new one, purchasing reusable materials as opposed to the use of disposable products.