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Alternatives to Waste Management: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Introduction This paper provides an overview of the reasons for and methods for better management in the home.  Also Read: Swachh Bharat...

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Introduction

This paper provides an overview of the reasons for and methods for better management in the home. 

Also Read: Swachh Bharat Mission Projects in Jharkhand

  • Reduse: Purchase only what you require, as avoiding waste is a better method to decrease it.
  • Reuse: If you need to buy something, look for used items or make do with replacements.
  • Recycle: Instead of letting your trash go to the landfill, look for ways to recycle it.

We are producing more waste as a country and having no idea what to do with it. Inefficient or careless garbage disposal can harm the environment and endanger public health. Existing landfills are running out of space. Citizens are discovering that burying or burning rubbish and forgetting about it is not an option.

Current disposal methods jeopardise our health, safety, and the environment, while also increasing indirect expenses to society. The majority of commercial, industrial, and domestic garbage is currently disposed of in landfills or surface impoundments. This type of waste treatment has the potential to contaminate groundwater, rivers, and streams. Hazardous gases are emitted into the air when rubbish is burned, and hazardous leftovers in the form of ash are left behind. In some way or another, these hazardous waste chemicals wind up in humans and animals.

Currently, the United States recycles only a small portion of its waste. Recycling advantages include not just the sale of recycled products and the conservation of resources, but also the reduction of expenses or “avoided costs.”

The Solid Waste Act of 1990 was approved by the New Mexico legislature, with the goal of diverting 25% of municipal solid waste from landfills by 1995 and 50% by July 1, 2000. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Solid Waste Act advocate for an integrated solid waste management plan that includes 1) reducing solid garbage generation, 2) recycling as much waste as possible, 3) waste transformation in an environmentally safe manner, and 4) safe landfilling. 

  1. Reduce

The most important approach for reducing waste is to reduce the amount you buy. The idea is to only buy what we need and in the proper quantities. We don’t have to extract raw materials, build goods from scratch, come up with shipping materials, use additional resources for shipping, and then figure out how to dispose of them if we never create products in the first place. Table 1 shows how long it takes for common waste items to degrade.

  1. Reuse

Many people are uneasy with the thought of being wasteful. Yet most of us continue to squander because we can’t think of anything else to do with last year’s phone book, too-short drapes, or a scarred closet door from a beloved cat. We’ve been conditioned to regard items that are old, empty, worn, damaged, unattractive, or blemished as useless, so we discard them without much consideration for the implications. As indicated by swelling attics and garages, most Americans buy considerably more than they can use properly.

The idea behind reuse is that the used things we encounter in our daily lives can be turned into resources rather than rubbish. After all, waste is defined by the individual who sees it. The waste of one person is the gold of another. When we look closely at the things we throw away, we may see resources that can be used to solve problems and meet needs. On the other hand, the majority of us haven’t even begun to tap into the resources present in our trash. You can begin brainstorming and developing ideas once you’ve decided to put garbage to good use. Reusing items saves money, conserves resources, and fulfils our desire to be resourceful.

  1. Recycle

The following are the primary advantages of recycling:

  • Recycling stimulates the economy: There will be an increasing amount of materials generated as New Mexicans recycle. Manufacturing facilities will emerge in order to put these recycled materials to good use. We will obtain a better grasp of the entire process when more recycling plants are built and more products are made.
  • Recycling generates employment: According to the EPA, recycling 10,000 tonnes of materials would result in 36 jobs, but landfilling the same amount would result in six (EPA, 2002). Some cities have organised and administered job-training partnerships, or otherwise found work for unemployed labour in recycling initiatives.
  • Recycling at a lower cost: For years, recycling has been hampered by the belief that it should be profitable. This may be true for some recyclables, but not for others. Recycling, on the other hand, should be considered a low-cost disposal option. In comparison to landfilling or incineration, it usually requires fewer government subsidies. It helps to protect the environment by conserving natural resources. The real “bottom lines” in favour of recycling are lower taxes, energy savings, and a cleaner environment.

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