Rubbish, Waste, OR Garbage is any material unused and rejected as worthless or unwanted. Whatever you want to call it, most people don't think about the rubbish they produce. Or how much of it.
It seems that today we 've got the whole world in our hands (or to be more specific, in our shopping trolley). The majority of waste we create is the result of our shopping habits. Quite literally the food we eat, how it is packaged, the type of clothes we wear, the materials we use in everyday life - all help to shape the type of world we live in. Today there ids the implicit belief that happiness can only be generated by increasing consumption. But we must realize that a lmost everything we do creates waste and the problem is that as a society we are currently producing more waste than ever before. We do this at home and at work. When we call something “waste” we are making a mistake. That is why most of the things we throw away could be a valuable resource for someone, somewhere.
Have you ever thought or does any one of you know how much rubbish you and your family throw away every Year ? I don’t want to tired you with number but it must know that t he UK in total produces more than 4 00 million tonnes of waste every year. This rate of rubbish generation would fill the Albert Hall in London in less than 2 hours. T he total amount of municipal waste in England for 2004/2005 are 29.7 million . Every year each household in UK generates around 1.2 tonnes of waste. In total, UK households throw away over 25 million tonnes, which equates to around 513 kg of household waste per person per annum and it is the equivalent of 3 ½ million double-decker buses (a queue of which would stretch from London to Sydney in Australia and back. http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2006/060324a.htm
When we buy something or when we throw something in our bin we consume natural resources. But we don’t think what are the impacts of the over-exploitation of natural resources on Earth and our environment. So let’s examine what is in our bin. Paper The day to day demand for paper is putting immense pressure on the world’s forests. Instead of using paper once and throwing away, we can recycle it to make more paper and cardboard. Kitchen and Garden Waste What a waste to throw our green waste away. Peat bogs are rare and valuable wildlife habitats, and they’re being destroyed to make cheap garden compost when we could make it at home for free. Plastic Most Plastic is made almost entirely from oil. When we throw plastic away it takes hundreds of years to degrade in landfill and produces toxic smoke if burnt in incinerators. But we could cut our plastic use by refusing plastic bags and over packaged items. Glass Our glass recycling rate is one of the lowest in Europe. But 30 gallons of oil are saved for every tonne of glass which is recycled. Metals Two third of the metal comes from steel or aluminium cans and foil. All of these can be easily and profitably recycled with massive savings in resources energy The rest 17% are Old Clothes and shoes, electrical items, toys and the rest of our rubbish. Even some of these items could be passed on to others, given to clothes banks or recycled in other ways.
So where all this waste goes? In 2005 and according to Economic and Social Research Council, t he majority of waste ( 76% ) goes into landfill sites while , 9 % is incinerated and , 24 per cent is recycled or composted.
Its time I think to examine the problems and the impacts for the environment and public Health that are related to waste In mixed (unseparated) compostable waste, including kitchen and garden refuse, there is a diverse range of other materials, some of which are potentially hazardous. These hazardous substances include: decorating products (paints, stains, varnish), garden products (pesticides), vehicle products (engine oil, brake fluid, antifreeze, car batteries), household cleaners (bleach, disinfectant, air fresheners), toiletries (cosmetics, old medicines) and other miscellaneous items. Batteries from watches, radios, mobile phones, etc. may contain heavy metals like mercury, nickel, cadmium. It is characteristic that 20,000 batteries are landfilled every year with each battery requiring 50 times more energy to produce it than they generated Every year over 1 million computers are landfilled with only 20 per cent recycled. On average, every household in the UK uses, and then throws away, one or two litre plastic bottle every day with plastic taking hundreds of years to biodegrade .
As we have already said most of the stuff that we no longer want ends up buried in landfill - which means it's buried in the ground These disposal methods pollute our land and water. When such household waste is buried in the ground, these landfill sites is acted on by rainwater, the n the organic and inorganic constituents are dissolved, and a highly toxic leachate results, collecting at the base of the landfill. This is normally high in heavy metals, ammonia, toxic organic compounds and pathogens. Meanwhile, at the top of the landfill, gas is produced by the fermentation of organic material. Approximately equal quantities of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and methane (CH 4 ) are released. Both are greenhouse gases, and significantly contribute to global warming. In addition to leachate and biogas problems, landfill sites are very unpopular with local residents: traffic, smell, noise, vermin, seagulls, blown litter, and disease can all spoil the neighbourhood and lower property prices. Th e Government has imposed stringent operational and technical requirements on landfill operations with the intention of reducing environmental pollution. These procedures make the cost of landfill in UK extremely high. Every tonne of waste that we bury, means a fine of £150! If residents want to keep down their Council tax costs, must find their ways to dispose of their waste The Waste Directive imposes stringent operational and technical requirements on landfill operations with the intention of reducing environmental pollution, both local and global, that may be generated by landfills. Some significant provisions are: to significantly reduce the quantity of biodegradable municipal waste entering landfills; to treat all waste prior to landfill; and to prepare a conditioning plan for all existing landfills with the objective of bringing all sites into compliance with relevant legislation.
Incineration with energy recovery has become one of the favoured options for waste disposal, lately and it is evident that the Government regards incineration as a safe and necessary part of the Waste Strategy. The technology to burn waste has developed significantly over the past 50 years and incinerators are now much cleaner than they used to be. The energy released from burning the rubbish is often used to generate electricity. Even greater benefits can be gained by using the extra heat to heat nearby housing or offices. However, despite improvements in the operation of incinerators, there is strong public concern about health effects. Emissions from Incinerators contain pollutants of concern such as dioxins, acid gases, nitrogen oxides, heavy metals and Particulates that are often inorganic materials such as silica, which can harm people with respiratory illnesses. Incinerators also produce toxic ash which then has nowhere to go but into landfill. Moreover, the material we burn is lost forever and we must produce more to satisfy our demand for new products. To extract natural resources and make material, such as paper and plastic, uses lot of energy. Most of this comes from burning fossil fuels, which leads to climate change, the most serious threat facing the environment and according to our Primeminister the humanity today. Finally incinerators are very expensive to built. Local Councils therefore have to promise to provide huge amounts of waste for many years, in order for the incinerators to be worth building. This means there is little incentive for councils to reduce waste or increase recycling. Although, there is a decrease the last few years in the amount of the waste that goes to landfill and an increase of the waste that recycled/composted U.K. IS still far away from other developed Countries. Suggestively, we can see
That t here is a current drive by westernised societies to minimise waste production by reducing, reusing and recycling products. The chart below presents varying recycling rates in seven European countries in 2004. Greece has the worst recycling rate of all European countries with Denmark recycling the most (49.6 per cent). The UK recycled only 12.2 per cent of its total waste. In spite of European targets, only 114 local authorities (29 per cent) comply with the Household Waste Recycling Act’s 2010 target, offering all their households a doorstep collection of at least two materials
More specific for Test Valley, that includes Romsey, as well The government has set a 30% recycling target for all household rubbish collected. The Test Valley recycling rate is currently 22%. Although t he government’s target is feasible, it won’t be achieved unless action is taken. Put simply, more people must recycle more of their waste, so the Council and everyone of us have to look for the most effective way s to achieve this .
So, Our rubbish is pilling up problems for the environment and for the future generations. But there are ways to stop this terrible waste of recourses. The UK Government has developed an approach to derive a hierarchy of options for managing waste - known as &quot;the waste hierarchy&quot;. The waste hierarchy specifies an order of preference for dealing with our wastes - with those towards the top of the list more desirable than those towards the bottom We can see that at the top of the pyramid are &quot;Prevention&quot; and &quot;Minimisation&quot;. Both mean eliminating or reducing the quantity of waste which is produced in the first place and they are the most desirable waste management option as it eliminates the need for handling, transporting, recycling or disposal of waste. It provides the highest level of environmental protection by optimising the use of resources and by removing a potential source of pollution. Then we have the three &quot;recovery&quot; processes in the waste hierarchy with reuse and recycling the most favourable. Recycling recovers materials, by preventing them from being disposed of, and makes them into new goods. This can involve turning the old material into a new version of the same thing, or materials can be recycled into something completely different. For example, used glass bottles can be recycled into new bottles, or they can be recycled into something different, such materials used in road construction. Recycling is one of the tools available to us to help use resources better and reduce the environmental impacts associated with disposing of rubbish. It can reduce demand for raw materials by extending their life and maximising the value extracted from them. It can also save energy, and reduce emissions to air and water, in the production process. Not least, recycling helps us become more aware of environmental issues and encourages us to take personal responsibility for the wastes we create. The last two options are to burn our waste for energy recovery and other ways of disposal, such as landfill. Examples of energy recovery options include incineration, pyrolysis and gasification or combustion as a fuel. We have already seen that although there are some advantages in burning waste for energy recovery, but in both incineration and landfill there are numerous potential environmental and Health impacts and that make these two options less favourable for waste management. The problem we have today is that more of our rubbish is dealt with towards the bottom end of the hierarchy than the top. The challenge is to change our attitudes and our practices so that much more of our waste is dealt with by options towards the top of the hierarchy.
So what we can do? First of all we must take responsibility of the waste we are producing and look at ways to reduce the amount of resources we use. Very simple We can: Reduce the amount of materials we use and products we buy Reuse things like carrier bags, Each time we go to supermarket we can reuse our old bags instead of taking new ones. Turning empty jars into containers for leftover food , Purchasing refillable pens and pencils . We can reuse or give away Furniture, clothes or other stuff we no longer need or want. We can do that by participating in recycle programs. For example for those who use the internet there is a website called www.cityboard.co.uk where you can give away or sell unwanted stuff. We can help our City Council to reduce waste by Recycled materials such as glass, paper and cans, Plastic and metal. Recycling also includes Composting of garden waste and leftover food. It is so easy to make our own compost. Except of k ee ping organic wastes out of landfills , Composting Provides nutrients to the soil of our garden or allotment . Increases beneficial soil organisms (e.g., worm s) And Reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides.
By Recycling reuse and compost alone is not enough. It is necessary to go back to the primary source of waste. SHOPPING!! As we said at the beginning t he majority of waste we create is the result of our shopping habits. The only way to reduce waste and improve the environment is to start thinking about what we buy why we buy it and where we buy it. It is also essential to realize that happiness cannot be generated by increasing consumption. So lets go for Smart shopping Smart Shoppin is a way to cut down on the amount of rubbish we throw away every day - rubbish that our local councils have to get rid of. Smart Shoppers choose O nly buy what They really need – 2 for 1 offers sound great, but do you really want or need more than one? They Take their own shopping bag and say NO to plastic ones Smart Shoppers try to Shop locally - walk , cycle or use public transport . And they Buy locally produced goods whenever possible . You can always find fresh products in your local farm market You can Avoid over-packaged products and try to buy unpackaged goods . When you cant do otherwise Remove excess packaging and leave it in the shop along with a word of protest You can repair your stuff, supporting the local repair shops the same time. And finally you can Buy products made from recycled materials
Modern industrialism has given rise to today’s “throw away” societies that produce massive amounts of waste, fueling an escalating problem . This is our world. The question now is . Do we want to live in a world like this? Do we want this world for our children and grand children. Or we want them to live in a cleaner, healthier and sustainable world. If we really want a better world for them we must begin to Imagine this world right now. A world without waste. We can do it, each of use can make the difference.
Waste! Is it really a problem?
Waste Is it really a Problem? Tina Drakou www.athenadrakou.com Friends of the Earth Southampton www.southamptonfoe.org.uk
What is Waste? <ul><li>Rubbish, Garbage </li></ul><ul><li>any materials unused and rejected as worthless or unwanted; </li></ul>
Is “waste” really worthless? <ul><li>Waste is the result of our Shopping Habits </li></ul><ul><li>Food, packaging, clothes, furniture </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the “waste” could be a valuable resource for </li></ul><ul><li>Someone </li></ul><ul><li>Somewhere </li></ul>
How much we throw away? <ul><li>The UK in total produces about 400 million tonnes of waste every year . This rate of rubbish generation would fill the Albert Hall in London in less than 2 H ours . </li></ul><ul><li>U.K. Households produce over 29,7 million tonnes or the equivalent of 4 million double-decker buses. </li></ul><ul><li>513kg waste per person per annum </li></ul>(1) Environmental Agency (2) Strategy Unit (2002). Waste not, Want not – A strategy for tackling the waste problem. http://www.number-10.gov.uk/su/waste/report/01.html
What’s in your Bin ? <ul><li>23% Paper </li></ul><ul><li>37% Kitchen and Garden Waste </li></ul><ul><li>9% Plastic </li></ul><ul><li>8% Glass </li></ul><ul><li>6% Metals </li></ul><ul><li>17 % The rest </li></ul>
The Destination of Waste in the UK: 2005 Source: Economic and Social Research Council http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/facts/index29.aspx?ComponentId=7104&SourcePageId=12643 67% goes into landfill 9% is incinerated 24% is recycled/ composted
Where does our “waste” goes? <ul><li>Landfill </li></ul><ul><ul><li>toxic leachate pollute land, water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>health problems in local communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pollute water supplies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>release methane and carbon dioxide </li></ul></ul>http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2002/rp02-034.pdf <ul><ul><li>Extremely High Cost for Councils </li></ul></ul>
Where does our “waste” goes? <ul><li>Incineration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Toxic air pollution (dioxins, nitrogen oxides, heavy metals) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Toxic ash </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emissions from transport </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Permanent loss of Natural Resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expensive to built </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Little incentive to reduce and recycle </li></ul></ul>http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2002/rp02-034.pdf
Percentage of Total Waste Recycled/Composted by European Country 2005 Source: Economic and Social Research Council
Recycling targets for Test Valley <ul><li>Test Valley recycling target - 30% </li></ul><ul><li>Current recycling rate - 22%. </li></ul><ul><li>M ore people must recycle more of their waste </li></ul>http://www.testvalley.gov.uk/Default.aspx?page=5448
Waste Hierarchy (image reproduced courtesy of Sligo County Council)
Reduce, reuse recycle <ul><li>We can: </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce - materials we use and products we buy </li></ul><ul><li>Reuse - carrier bags, furniture and clothes. Participate in recycle programs </li></ul><ul><li>www.cityboard.co.uk </li></ul><ul><li>www.freecycle.com </li></ul><ul><li>Recycle - glass, paper and cans </li></ul><ul><li>Compost - garden waste and leftover food </li></ul>
Smart “Green” Shopping <ul><li>Only buy what you need </li></ul><ul><li>Say NO to plastic bags </li></ul><ul><li>Buy locally produced goods </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid Over- packaging </li></ul><ul><li>Support Repair Shops </li></ul><ul><li>Buy products made from recycled materials </li></ul>Consumption does not mean Happiness