Rapid population growth and urbanization have led to an exponential increase in the amount of waste generated by human activities. According to an estimation, more than 2 billion tons of solid waste is being generated globally every year.
This figure is expected to reach 3.4 billion tons in the next 30 years and that makes it extremely necessary that we come up with environmentally safe and efficient waste management systems.
Different businesses and fields generate different kinds of waste and that means we need to employ only those waste management practices that will work best in that particular case.
In this article, we will give you everything you need to know about waste management so that you too can manage your waste effectively.
Here is all you need to know to understand waste management completely
- What is Waste Management?
- Common Types of Waste
- Types of Waste Management i.e.,
- Waste Prevention
- Costing of Waste Management
- Guidelines for Hospital Waste Disposal
What is Waste Management?
It is the use of certain streamlined processes to safely manage and dispose of different types of waste. Some key waste management strategies include reusing, recycling, composting, incinerating, landfills, etc.
The main goal of waste management for a sustainable future is to reduce its production and manage it from origin to disposal using the most environmentally friendly methods. This can help reduce the negative effects of waste on our environment and the overall public health.
Common Types of Waste
Following are the main types of waste that you need to be aware of for better waste management and disposal
- General commercial or non-hazardous waste generated by the routine operations of businesses. This includes paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and packaging materials.
- Food waste such as unsold or spoiled food, kitchen waste, food scraps, etc.
- Construction waste including concrete, bricks, wood, insulation, and drywall.
- Hazardous waste includes toxic, flammable, reactive, and corrosive substances. Things like solvents, chemicals, batteries, and electric or electronic waste fall under this category.
- Municipal waste includes everything that goes into a trash can. Things like medical waste, food waste, clothing, electronics, and hazardous materials comprise this type of waste.
- Recyclable waste like cardboard, paper, plastic, wood, textile, scrap metal, and Styrofoam.
Knowing the type of waste you are dealing with is an important step toward deciding which method of waste management or disposal you need.
Types of Waste Management
Following are some of the most common solid waste management practices and systems that you can use to reduce and dispose of any type of waste.
- Waste Prevention
This approach involves only using sustainable materials for production and minimizing the generation of toxic by-products during the manufacturing and distribution processes.
It also involves training every member of the staff in the best waste prevention and disposal practices. By minimizing waste production, you can reduce the costs of waste management, transportation, and disposal.
Another important strategy is reusing certain components and instruments instead of discarding them after a single use. This can be done by repurposing these items or using durable products.
Inorganic waste like glass, plastic, and metal can be processed to create newer and different products which reduce the consumption of raw materials. This also reduces the need to send more waste to the landfills.
It is the process by which the organic compounds present in food waste and vegetation are recycled. In this process, organic waste is broken down using microorganisms to turn it into soil-enriching fertilizers. This effectively reduces landfill waste and carbon emissions.
In this approach, special plants are built that can convert waste into usable heat, fuel, and electricity. Methods like incineration, pyrolysis, and gasification are used which reduce GHG emissions and the demand for fossil fuels.
This method is used when you don’t have any other eco-friendly and sustainable way to dispose of the waste. A vast majority of waste produced still ends up in landfills as this is among the cheapest waste disposal methods so far.
Costing of Waste Management
In Dubai, waste disposal charges are based on the weight at treatment plants. For municipal waste that is to be disposed of at a landfill, the fee is about Dhs80 or (22$) to Dhs100 or ($27) per ton.
The organic waste disposal at treatment plants costs about Dhs30 to Dhs50 per ton. For recyclable material mixed with organic waste that is sent to sorting stations, the fee is Dhs30 to Dhs50 per ton. The fee for agricultural waste disposal stands at Dhs10 per ton.
Guidelines for Hospital Waste Disposal
Here are some key guidelines for medical waste collection and disposal
- Train the staff to differentiate between non-risk, infectious, pathological, radioactive, and pharmaceutical waste.
- You need to be familiar with the state laws on medical waste regulation.
- Reduce waste by utilizing reusable medical products.
- Install waste containers that are specific for sharp waste like shards, blades, scissors, needles, and syringes.
- To separate highly toxic or hazardous waste, use distinguishable waste containers.
- Hire expert medical waste collection and management services.
- Know your hazardous waste generator status by comparing it with the number 220 pounds per month.
- If it is greater than 220, you are in the large quantity generator (LGQ) category, and if it is less than 220 pounds then you are in the VSGQ or very small quantity generator category.
Every business today has a responsibility to reduce waste and to adopt eco-friendly waste management practices. Doing this will reduce the burden on the existing waste management infrastructure and contribute to the conservation of natural resources.
Knowing the type of waste you generate and the right methods for its disposal can help you become a more considerate and dutiful member of the community. And most importantly, it will make the planet cleaner and your surroundings much healthier.
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