The speed at which waste is produced globally has been identified as one of the issues that have the ability to threaten public health and the earth’s ecosystem if not properly managed. And despite the threat poor waste management policies possess to our global well-being, the subject matter does not come up in political debates. Only implicitly in UNICEF’s sustainable development goals and sparingly on media outlets which means it is left to individuals to highlight its danger to earth’s ecosystem.
Therefore, if you are one of those individuals saddled with the responsibility to talk about waste management, it is imperative that you have a good understanding of what it means as well as get your facts right when discussing its impact on the globe. In turn, this article is written to provide you with an armoryof facts on waste management for your project. But before going into the details, here is a definition of the term waste management.
Wastes are unwanted or unusable materials and they include any substance discarded after primary use or are worthless and of no use. Waste management on the other hand are all the activities or processes put in place to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal and here are some facts about waste management on the global stage. Here are the 10 facts on waste management:
- Waste and requires proper management. The need for effective waste management systems can only be truly understood if one understands the amount of waste produced by humans. Statistics show that in the United States, the average person throws away 600 times the amount of his or her adult weight. While in the UK, the average person throws away his or her body weight in waste every seven weeks which creates the need for effective waste management systems.
- Human waste consists of paper. Every year, humans produce 3% more waste than that in the previous year and in 25 years, it is estimated that we will double the amount of waste we produce. Global waste consists mainly of paper which makes up approximately a fifth of the waste produced by a household, while glass and plastic bags make up a tenth of the produced waste.
- Electronic waste and management. Statistics show that globally, 50 million tonnes of electronic waste are produced on a yearly basis. These waste which consist of TVs, stereos and kitchen appliances are usually dumped in landfill sites or into the ocean.
- The waste management policies yield damaging results. Managing the waste humans produce is a human responsibility and in cases where this responsibility has been overlooked dire health and environmental situations were recorded. In Italy, poor waste management policies led to the closure of businesses and increased death rate among the people of Naples for 2 decades (1994-2014). In Surat, India poor waste management resulted in a plague-like epidemic which caused 56 deaths and the cancellation of the Deepavali festival. Statistics show that India may have lost approximately $2billion in estimated economic functions.
- Poor waste management leads to pollution of international waterways. In developing countries as well as some developed nations, electronic and solid wastes usually get dumped into the ocean and are hazardous to the environment. 45,000 tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans yearly. Paper cups which are usually coated with wax thereby reducing their biodegradability are in most cases dumped in streams and these ultimately pollute the world’s waterways.
- Creating recyclable products support effective waste management. Although paper makes up the largest part of the waste produced in domestic settings, it is important to note that two-thirds of the paper waste we trash is recyclable while paper bags take over 100 years to decompose while glass on the other hand takes hundreds of years to decompose. This is why most production outlets are clamping down on the use of glass and paper bags as packaging options.
- Recycling is important as a waste management procedure. Recycling is a very effective means of managing waste and studies have shown that recycling one tonne of cardboard saves 390 kWh of energy and 1.1 barrel of oil. Recycling Aluminium also saves 14,000 kWh, 39.6 barrels of oil and 10 cubic yards of landfill space. Recycling Paper saves 4,100 kWh of energy, 9 barrels of oil, 7,000 gallons of water and 17 trees which goes to show the effectiveness of recycling in waste management.
- Recycling is being handled on a national level. Despite the widespread campaign on achieving a greener earth through recycling, most western countries still lag behind in implementing it. The United States recycles approximately 25% of its waste and the UK recycles approximately 30% of its waste. Encouragingly though, EU nations such as Switzerland, Holland and Germany recycle approximately 60% of their produced waste.
- Managing solid waste is pivotal. poor management of solid waste is responsible for a host of unhealthy situations such as gas emissions, overflowing landfills and water pollution which makes managing it very important. Studies show that the proper use of recycling, landfill mitigation and diversions can reduce greenhouse emissions globally by 10 to 15%. Also, implementing waste prevention such as unnecessary gas flaring can take account for another 10% reduction in gas emissions.
- Waste management expectations for the future are still under development. a survey conducted by the World Waste magazine and statistics show that 53% of landfill site owners expect their landfills to be open in the next 10 years. 12% expect their landfill sites to be open for the next 5 to 9 years while 26% believe that waste management practices would have evolved in 3 to 4 years and the need for landfills will be eliminated. This survey paints a rather promising future for waste management by the year 2030.
Here we come to the end of the 10 facts on waste management which you can put to use in your project on the environment. In addition to these facts, are two other articles which will provide you with project topics as well as a genre guide on how to go about writing an environmental project of waste management.
Juliette, J. (2010). Recycling still the most effective waste disposal method, report finds
Jayasinghe, R. & Baliie, C. (2010). The garbage crisis, 8-10.
Wagner, T. & Arnold, P. (2008). A new model for solid waste management: An analysis of the Nova Scotia MSW strategy. Journal of Cleaner Production, 16(4), 410-421.
World Bank. (2012). Urban Development What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management. Retrieved from
Peeranart, K. (2013). Electronic waste management approaches: An overview.
Morris, J. (2005). Comparative LCAs for curbside recycling versus either landfilling or incineration with energy recovery. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 10(4), 273-284
Kaciak, E. & Kushner, J. (2011). Determinants of residents’ recycling behaviour. International Business & Economics Research Journal (IBER), 8.