It is the beginning of a new year, and this gives us an opportunity to look back at what we have been doing in the past to help the environment and sustainability, how well we have been managing our waste, recycling our trash and how effectively we have been reusing our resources.
There’s waste coming from homes, business, and various industries everyday that can be effectively reused and recycled or turned into energy. When we talk about sustainability and reusable energy, we start thinking about solar panels or wind turbines, but now, we might even think about using trash as a source of energy.
Sustainable solid waste management
It is alarming to know that half of our food ends up in the landfills, costing us about $165 billion every year. According to a study made by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2010 we recycled only 34 percent of our totals waste. Half the food produced in the US never reaches our plates, but wasted either in the marketing, storage or transporting and packaging process. If we could effectively manage and use this huge amount of waste, we could be adding value to our economy, minimizing mining and energy wastage as well as minimizing our money wasted for food. With production of food, there are also other factor related like tons of gallons of water for irrigation, fuel and energy used for storage packaging and transportation.
Countries like Sweden efficiently use their waste to produce energy. They only throw away 4% of their waste and very little of their waste end up in the landfills. it is due to the nations recycling habits, they are able to save from garbage and turn it into cash. 20% of their energy used in the heating systems comes from garbage. Garbage is also used to provide energy to over a quarter of a million homes in Sweden. Sweden also imports about 800, 000 tons of garbage from other neighboring countries like Norway, which pays Sweden to take their trash. So, Sweden is one such example that we can effectively use garbage to produce energy instead of filling up our landfill space.
How to manage household waste effectively
Every day we get several pounds of waste from our homes, offices, or any other workplace that we are linked with. Waste such as paper bags, leftover food in the kitchen, expired milk in the fridge, broken furniture, old cloths, broken glass, plastic, lawn and yard waste such as trees and branches, and so on. Managing solid waste has become a big issue all around the world today, because people are starting to realize that there’s a hundreds of different ways you can use your trash instead of filling up the landfills.
Managing and disposing solid waste is becoming a major concern around the world and therefore, we need to be a little more aware of the ways we can reuse and recycle the things we throw away every day. Reusing and recycling waste can reduce the need for mining, save energy and also landfill space. some of the stuff that we throw away or store at home, such as old electrical appliances, car batteries, stuff that contain oil, could also become hazardous for the environment, and so, need special care when storing, carrying and disposing at landfills, and might need professional help for transportation and disposals. If the waste is not treated properly, it may become a public safety hazard, health hazard, contaminate the soil, ground water, or surface water, and contaminate air releasing green house gases.
Reduce your waste production
- Plan your meals and grocery purchase: Only buy what you will eat and plan to eat in the next few days. Some items can be stored and eaten over a longer period of time while others you need to eat quickly. Plan your food consumption and minimize waste.
- Store your food efficiently: Proper storage of food can save a large amount of food for longer. When you keep food in the fridge, follow the food storing guide lines.
- Bring in less garbage: When you buy food or anything from the store, avoid the stuff that you don’t really need. Also pay attention to excessive packaging, plastic wrapping, and other packaging materials. Are they recyclable? The less packaging you use, the less garbage there will be. So try buying food in bulks.
- Cook more at home: You will reduce the amount of garbage produced and foods wasted if you eat at home instead of eating in a restaurant or bring take away food because of packaging and leftovers.
- Grow your home garden: When food reaches the stores, it comes through 1000 of miles transportation, packaging and storing expenses. While delivering and storing food, a huge carbon footprint is left on the environment. Producing your own food can minimize carbon footprint. You can also recycle your kitchen waste in your own home garden.
Separate the recyclables form garbage
In your house you may have various different types of trash. You will have trash from your kitchen, news papers, glass, plastic, metal, clothing, old toys, old electrical appliances, bottles, cans, containers, wood, broken furniture, and so on. Separate all different sorts of garbage into different containers. Your local waste management company probably provides you with containers for paper glass, metal, etc. separating your garbage give you better opportunity to recycle, minimize mining, and recued landfill space fillips.
Reuse as much as you can
You can reduce your garbage production by thinking of ways you can reuse the stuff you have at home. Think about donating your books, toys, and old cloths that your kids have outgrown. You probably could repaint your old furniture, reuse old paper, cups, plastic bottles and containers as flower pots. Get creative with your garbage, and you may be able to use them.
Take extra care for hazardous materials
If you have hazardous materials that you need to dispose, make sure you know the seriousness of the chemicals. You may need professional help for safely carrying and disposing harsh chemicals or hazardous materials such as car batteries, car oil, oil based paint, electrical equipments contaminating chemicals or oil and so on. Talk to your local waste management authorities for help. We, as the citizens should set examples and become role models for the rest of the world to follow.