Waste Not Want Not – Is there actually an efficient way to manage waste?

Waste is something that we cannot get away from- foods perish and need to be thrown out, household objects age and no longer fit into our surroundings and sometimes we simply get bored of certain goods and decide to get rid- but is there a way to banish our garbage that isn’t careless?

All for one:
In the UK the majority of waste is put into landfill, some of this will disintegrate but some will not. During the process of disintegration methane gas can be produced which, according to Green Choices (2016) “is explosive and contributes to the greenhouse effect” – this highlights that our disregard for our methods of waste management can cause lasting damage to our environment as well as contribute to Global issues.

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The disposing of rubbish starts on an individual level in homes where we make a conscious decision of, firstly, what needs to be thrown away and, secondly, how we are going to manage that waste. The direction that those choices take can directly affect the impact that we have upon the environment. Do we need to reevaluate those choices?

Manchester City Council have been working to come up with a user-friendly method to recycling in order to reduce the greater harm done to the environment as well as to save on their own costs of separating waste at a later stage. The problem is that, due to the vast range of rubbish that households create, there isn’t a simple way to dispose of it well. This results in each property owning four refuse bins outdoors as well as the option to keep smaller recycling containers indoors. The extensive list of what can and can’t be put into each bin can be found here: http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200084/bins_rubbish_and_recycling/6026/see_which_recycling_bin_to_use 
and, just at a quick glance, is able to illustrate how a task as miniature as ‘throwing out’ is actually more laborious than it sounds. As a result of the complex system that Manchester Council has implemented “more than 10,000 complaints over missed wheelie bin collections have been received by councils in Greater Manchester this year” Manchester Evening News (2015). This statistic indicates that not only is waste disposal becoming difficult for the individual but the organisation behind it is also struggling to keep up.

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Contrary to this effort, countries such as Spain have enforced a new method to managing waste- one which seems to have a positive impact. Bins are placed throughout Spanish towns at close and convenient distances from urbanisations, and, due to the architectural design of Spanish homes (more often three or four apartments in a block rather than houses on their own land) usually homes do not have their own large bins for recycling. “With the amount of recycling containers scattered all over, you have little to no excuse not to recycle in Spain” Spanish Unlimited (2014).
This effort is very design-savvy as a small bin sits at the side of the road but the capacity of the garbage bin is huge due to a larger container being held underground for the rubbish to fall into, meaning that waste isn’t spread all over the roadside when bins become too full.

Out of sight out of mind?
Spanish authorities have worked hard to come up with a system that works and reduces environmental strains and, again using clever design features, bin wagons are able to simply lift the bin away from the ground and grab the underground container to empty all remnants of waste and if rubbish has been put into the correct bin then the process thereafter should run smoothly. opinion_maxedout1-1-39ab2dc5ec384e97

Various methods to dispose of waste effectively are implemented across the world but the actually outcome of those methods are controversial. It can be seen that councils, governments and organisations work hard to develop a plan to ensure recycling is done where possible and environmental impacts are minimized. However, the overall impact is reliant upon individuals, who are the first to get rid of goods, to dispose of them in the correct manner. This could mean thinking before you throw rubbish in a general waste bin whether it could be put in a paper or glass bin instead, it may be taking components of the product apart as one is recyclable and one is not.

With simple changes to how we throw things away, the Global waste management system could become much more effective and efficient and therefore lead to less of an overall impact on the environment, reducing global warming and climate change.

Bibliography:

Green Choices, Environmental Impacts, 2016 (online) http://www.greenchoices.org/green-living/waste-recycling/environmental-impacts

Manchester City Council, Bins, rubbish & recycling, 2016 (online) http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200084/bins_rubbish_and_recycling/6026/see_which_recycling_bin_to_use

Manchester Evening News, More than 10,000 complaints made about missed bin collections since start of this year, 2015 (online) http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/more-10000-complaints-made-missed-10296245

Spanish Unlimited, Recycling in Spain, 2014 (online) http://www.spanishunlimited.com/spain/culture/2014/11/recycling-in-spain

Katie McAllister

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