Waste management is a tricky procedure and many industries, cities, and major organizations are constantly trying to up their waste management game. One of the main challenges in Waste Management industry, even before waste processing, is the sorting procedure. In most places, garbage is disposed of as one group. The entire waste is sent to processing industries where machines sort waste accordingly. Sometimes, garbage doesn't reach processing units in time which makes it tough or impossible to separate recyclable dry waste from other landfill varieties. Some places have segregated disposal bins such recycle, paper and trash. However, most of the times people are unclear of disposal segregations, or careless of how they dispose of their waste. All the waste that ends up in a landfill often has a lot of potential material for recycling and composting.
This is an era where everyone is trying to upgrade to compostable, recyclable or environmentally safe products. In this period, it is important to acknowledge the material of the product while disposing to make the best use of the recycling, composting material that is used.
I attended the LEED-GreenBuild conference last week in Boston, MA. One of the most interesting things I noticed is the garbage disposal cans in the event premises of Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. One of the main aims of the LEED GreenBuild conference was their Waste diversion goal. LEED GreenBuild has implemented this strategy to reach a goal of 81% waste diversion from a baseline of 45%. The GreenBuild staff and volunteers were educating the attendees to dispose of wisely and thoughtfully. Below is a description of their segregating criteria:
Ref: LEED Volunteer Handbook 2017
The main three categories were
Most of the biological waste from the food stations were disposed of in this bin. All the packaging material, drinkware and any other products available inside the building was compostable.
Paper products, cardboard packaging, plastic bottles, tins and other cups were advised to dispose of in this bin. One of the interesting facts was that most attendees were not aware that most coffee cups brought from famous coffee shops were not recyclable. Some of them were surprised of how much they were contributing to the landfill just by drinking regular beverages.
All other materials were disposed of in the landfill criteria.
This was a simple effort to promote thoughtful disposal but the education they were able to provide to the attendees was invaluable. I have been personally checking before disposing of in my household and have realized that I am not doing right in most categories.
This step can be proved critical to large institutions where thousands of employees work round the clock. Many places have designated garbage cans, but it is not enough to just have categorized trash bins. We also educate the dwellers/employees. Disposing of wisely makes it easier to process waste and recover most of the recyclable material. Just by acknowledging the waste, we could save money and the environment. It is not only important to take care of what we eat but also what we throw away.