Waste Management is the process of disposing, managing and monitoring of our waste materials. These important steps help us to reduce or eliminate the effects it has on our health and the environment. By practicing waste management we are observing our consumption of resources and working to reduce the hazardous waste used. These practices can provide enormous change in our lives and give hope to future generations. We need to promote and implement resourceful recovery practices. These are recycling, composting, energy initiatives and recovery, waste prevention and many more. The key component is to encourage improvements in our environmental efficiencies which will eliminate waste. Managing waste is an important undertaking that will bring back the necessary balance in our environment.
Most of our waste materials have actually been caused by our daily human activity. Some example would be the disposal of our waste in landfills or when we burn waste in incinerators. These options, we have found, created further environmental problems. These results would be the wind scattering the trash which then landed in our waterways and ecosystems. Even toxic liquids would leak through the landfill absorbing the additional harmful substances and polluting the environment. Ultimately, all the waste materials create serious hazardous effects on our environment which we have had to implement better ways.
Well, we do have options, capabilities and yes, some limitation with the various types of wastes management available. We seriously must take better care to protect our health, lives, and the environment. Steps to promote recycling and reusing have been a popular method to manage our waste. Other disposable options have been on the rise in usage. High on the list are composting, open burning, well monitored incineration, rendering, and other treatment and disposals methods. Reusing and recycling still remains the most popular waste management practice. It certainly helps in the protection of the environment and the added value is the saving of our resources and promoting a cleaner world.
Prior to World War II, we lived in a world where we used and reused our materials. In the past, we placed much emphasis and value on our resources, tools and materials. It was the norm to return, reuse and recycle materials. It was the norm, necessary and only way to live. But, with the rebuilding of our world came new ideas and new ways to provide resources to our businesses, households and communities. Many found that the quicker and more convenient way to consume products, materials and substances became increasingly popular and available to all. So, the start of using cans and replacing glass bottles had been implemented because of less costs and convenience. Regrettably, along with the returnable deposits declined came the waste problems. Even though companies found the easiness of using cans helped boost their sales in the beverage industry they could not ignore the negative effects of waste.
By 1960, approximately half the beers were distributed and sold in cans but soft drinks were still sold in refillable glass bottles. Gradually the shift from refillable soft drink in a bottle was the way of the past. The use of cans now caught on with the beverage industry. Sadly, this resulted in can being littered throughout the communities and lead to the serious waste problem. Yes, businesses profited from the change. The success was far too good even when the environmentalists with proposing a bottle bills law could not reverse the new trend. This law stated a mandatory refundable deposit on beer and soft drink containers to encourage returns. This bottle bill law required a minimum refundable deposit to insure more recycling or reuse of materials to protect our recourses.
The system was known as the deposit refund system which remains today. The beverage industry did support this bill but wanted a guarantee of the return of their glass bottles to be washed, refilled, and resold for reproduction. This would help to reduce beverage containers being litter and ultimately conserve our precious natural resources. It would help to reduce the amount of solid waste going into landfills and promote recycling. But, quite frankly, it really hasn’t affected overall change because many other industries have created so much waste and have not followed in the footsteps to recycle. We do have more work ahead to remodel the habits and behavior of our world.
The deposit laws for container have been a tremendous success. These initiatives which New York has implemented have created a cleaner and healthier environment. The Environmental Protection Agency funding was estimated to increase to approximately just under $20 million. This will guarantee proceeds to strengthen their ability to enforce the requirements to sell only containers with deposits paid on them. The returnable container act will reduce roadside litter, recycle billions of containers at no cost to government, save over 50 billion barrels in oil, and eliminate hundreds of millions in greenhouse gases a year.
By recycling our beverage cans and bottles we can save energy and protect our environment. It has been noted that recycling aluminum cans saves nearly all of the energy required to make them. Also, recycling beverage containers will greatly reduce the litter and lessens the burden on landfills. We have learned to reduce energy and raw materials consumption means the reduction in pollution.
We know that pollution has been the cause of acid rain, smog, mercury-poisoning in lakes, rivers and stream, and ultimately global warming world-wide. So, to protect our environment we need to implement and encourage ways of healthy more effective, harmonious, product living styles. Some do find that those measure are unnecessary and in effective. We do know that recycling containers with a deposit amount can increase the rates from 75% to 95% but these containers only account for 5% of our waste stream.
The value placed on incentives for containers encourages recycling but the deposit system cost more than the drop off curb side program. The individual finds collecting and depositing containers easier then businesses who find it problematic and burdensome on their storage and transportation expenses. Those who support the container laws find that it does reduce litter but those who disagree believe that a comprehensive litter control program would be more efficient and effective. The opposition confirms that only 8.5% of general litter is actually beverage containers.
Since the bottle bill has been an overwhelming success then to include other non-carbonated drinks would be a good idea. It certainly shows that it takes the same amount of time, money and energy to include other drinks. We have seen additional litter from these non-carbonated drink containers. We have the statistics showing the increased recycling due to the beverage container laws. Yes, the responsibility to provide these programs sits with these non-carbonated drinks. Forcing these laws would be touchy politically but encouraging them would be worth it. Even though some would agree that the price of the non-carbonated drinks would increase due to the added responsibility dealing with these recycling programs. But those who were opposed to the law would agree with alternative legislation that supports all.
In Massachusetts, they are celebrating their 30th anniversary of the bottle bill. From inception, it has been estimated that 35 billion carbonated drink containers have been exchanged through the program. Even the Massachusetts Coalition gave praises on the updates and changed to the bill over the years. It is most definitely agreed that it has contributed to a healthier environment, cleaner and safer communities, and a stronger economy. These programs are an excellent example of corporate responsibility for the beverage companies. They have managed the problems of littering, environmental pollution intern paid to help clean it up.
Much research is being done in developing plastic that is degradable. This exciting possibility could be the key to lowering the environmental impact. Plastic is nearly indestructible and is difficult to recycle and hard to breakdown. Bio-plastic is derived from biomass sources that are mixed with oil base materials. The Oxo-bio has great advantages as it has it can degrade completely without living residue but oxygen is required for the process to occur. This can occur on land and in the water and the oxo-bio will not harm other plastics in the recycling system. Oxo-bio does not have a future in the plastic container industry which will bring great value to the fight against environmental pollution.
Certainly, addressing the solid waste, overall inclusive deposit container law, recycling and litter issues with a comprehensive approach that will emphasize solutions that are effective and efficient will be much better as a whole. Some key areas to address and promote are education and awareness, efficient and effective solutions, curbside recycling program, balance and equitable treatment in all areas for the waste producers, and finally the administration, implementation and enforcement of these waste management laws.
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