Monday, May 11, 2009

Waste Management – Reduce Reuse Recycle!

Waste management is very important stage in Green living. In our Green habits, we followed some tips to reduce our waste. Now we know how to reduce garbage at our home & office. We have found out how things can be reused for different applications once their primary use is served. Finally, if we are throwing anything as waste we take a minute and think can we recycle it? Therefore, we recycle papers, plastics, metal, glass etc.
Now we need to be keener about recycling our waste. Generally, our Garbage bin contains 35% Organic waste, 30 % Paper, 12% Construction, 9% Plastic, 6% Metal, 5% Other, 3% Glass. Let us see how we can save energy by recycling the waste.

Recycling Facts


- Recycled aluminum saves 95 percent energy versus virgin aluminum; recycling of one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hour.
- Recycled aluminum reduces pollution by 95 percent.
- Four pounds of bauxite are saved for every pound of aluminum recycled.
- Enough aluminum is thrown away to rebuild our commercial air fleet four times every year.

- Recycled glass saves 50 percent energy versus virgin glass.
- Recycling of one glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours.
- Recycled glass generates 20 percent less air pollution and 50 percent less water pollution.
- One ton of glass made from 50 percent recycled materials saves 250 pounds of mining waste.
- Glass can be reused an infinite number of times; over 41 billion glass containers are made each year.


- Recycled paper saves 60 percent energy versus virgin paper.
- Recycled paper generates 95 percent less air pollution: each ton saves 60 pounds of air pollution.
- Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water.
- Every year, enough paper is thrown away to make a 12-foot wall from New York to California.
- Production of recycled paper uses 80 percent less water, 65 percent less energy and produces 95 percent less air pollution than virgin paper production.
- If offices throughout the country increased the rate of two-sided photocopying from the 1991 figure of 20 percent to 60 percent, they could save the equivalent of about 15 million trees.

- Plastic milk containers are now only half the weight that they were in 1960.
- If we recycled every plastic bottle we used, we would keep two billion tons of plastic out of landfills.
- According to the U.S. EPA, recycling a pound of PET saves approximately 12,000 BTUs.

Waste Management Steps
Once you have reduced your waste and made a plan, it is important to decide the disposal method you are going to use.

Step 1: Separate the waste depends on material. We have to make different recycle bins for Paper, Plastic, Glass, Metal etc.
· Paper recycling bin will contain white paper, colored paper, cardboard, office mail, magazines/catalogs, etc.
· Plastic recycling would have bin will contain each type of plastic: #1-7
· Metal recycling bin will contain all metals, tins etc.

Though it is, better to further more separation of these waste like separate bins for plastic #1-7 or separate bins for aluminum and steel. This will add more prices to the waste and will reduce time at final stage of actual recycling. However, it might create space problem as well as increase time for classifying the waste and then throw in separate bins.

In a company, it is easy to make different bins because you can allot a space as garbage area. Alternatively, you can locate different bins at different location and inform your employees about it. In office if you are, making different bins for different material then you need to make it compulsory for employees to separate garbage. For papers, you can keep shredders and make sure all employees should throw waste papers in shredder at the end of day.
At home, we can make space for garbage bins in balcony, terrace or bathrooms or hallway or even space under kitchen sink. For paper collection, it is not very dirty so we can collect papers for a month and then recycle it. The waste from kitchen or waste from vegetables, food etc we can go for compost in our personal garden or building garden for all. We get low cost compost bin in market or even we can make our own compost. If you are living in apartment, you can get involve the building management to allocate the garbage area where different bins for metal, glass and plastic can be kept and can be recycled once in a week. Building management can request local authority to place a recycler in nearby location.

Step 2: Find the recycler in surrounding
Here the local authority comes in picture. In some countries like US, Japan, UK, Canada, UAE there are recyclers placed by government in public areas. The interesting thing is these countries have carbon footprint on quite higher level than the required. In most of the developing countries there is no recycler system but there people don’t waste things.
In overpopulated country like India, there is no such system available. There is no recycler in public areas. Only in some metro cities, you can find recyclers. However, there is a very good system since many years, people collect the papers, metals, glass, plastic, clothes, electrical appliances, electronics or even furniture broken or good condition and sell it to people called kabadiwala/ bhangarwala once in a month. These kabadi people act like a recycler. They collect these items and sell it to plastic, metal, glass, paper, furniture-manufacturing companies as row material. Therefore, if you collect your waste you can save energy and even earn money. Many people even do compost in their gardens or fields. People are keen not to waste things. May be this is a major reason why carbon footprint in India is less than what is required.
If there are, no recyclers kept by government find out some organizations, which recycle the products. Sometimes some shops have recycling junctions like some electronics shops accept mobiles, electronic waste. Electrical appliances shops accept electrical waste, acid batteries. Motor garage accepts tires, automobiles waste.
If there are things at your home, you want to get rid of it like books, clothes, spectacles etc. instead of recycling them you can give away to needy people or to some charity organizations, which help the people in war or flood or earthquake.

Step 3: Improve recycling process.

To reduce contamination and improve recycling efficiency, wash and squash!
· Scrape out any food remains/pour away excess liquid.
· Rinse the container (use your washing-up water)
· Don't put recyclate in the dishwasher – no need to waste resources to achieve an unnecessary level of cleanliness!

Squash· Crush metal cans.
· Squeeze plastic bottles flat to expel as much air as possible.

These steps help prevent contamination and reduce the volume of recyclate, making collections more energy efficient.
Removing the caps and lids from plastic containers is more important. Plastic caps are often made from a different polymer type, and therefore have a different melting point when compared to the plastic used for the bottle itself.

Step 4: Analyze your waste.
To better understand the kind of materials that enters and leaves your home, office or school, consider conducting a waste audit. Set a span of time like a week or a month, and separate your waste categories. Weigh the different kinds of material flows that go out the door (landfill waste, organic compost, aluminum, recyclable plastic, reusable material, etc.). Design a “material recovery” program that minimizes the amount going to the landfill. This is a great exercise to do with kids so that they will understand waste management and it’s importance.

To know more on waste management please visit the following sites