According to 2019 research, 11 million tons of food become food loss or waste yearly. But that’s not all. Imagine all the solid waste, from furniture to appliances, that goes to landfills.
An increase in population and rapid consumerism are the main culprits for solid waste in developed countries. Leaders are having problems managing waste at the municipal level. The result is heavy pressure on public services. Leaders are continuously looking for ways to manage trash effectively. The need is urgent.
Too much waste negatively impacts the environment. The climate is affected, too. People’s health suffers as a result. To prevent all of this from happening, recycling is not enough. Sustainable management is an effective solution to reduce the negative impacts of waste.
Benefits of Sustainable Waste Management
According to the Solar Impulse Foundation, sustainable waste management has economic, social, and environmental benefits. By adopting sustainable practices, pollution is reduced. When this is achieved, natural resources are conserved. Clean energy is then produced.
Unfortunately, the lack of awareness causes people to doubt sustainable practices. At the base level, community leaders need to teach people how to manage waste sustainably. There must be strategies implemented to consider the challenges.
How to Make Your Community Waste Management More Sustainable
There are easy, time-tested methods to sustainably get rid of trash. At the community level, sustainable waste management can only start at home and in small businesses. Even though there are simple methods, people must first know what they are. How do they do it if they don’t know where to start? The key is to inform everybody and each establishment.
Here are a few tips to help you and your community start sustainable waste management practices.
1. Recycle and reuse
It’s surprising how many people don’t know how to actually recycle trash. It’s the most popular method of sustainable waste management. It should be easy to understand.
Recycling is the simple act of converting waste materials into new things. It’s like you made old stuff into something new again.
The first step to recycling is to separate bottles, cans, papers, and cardboard. Make sure that all these items are clean. Remove any liquid or food in them. When organizing them, don’t put them in loose plastic. You can use cardboard to separate each kind. You can also use designated bins for each.
Recyclable materials can be collected on a municipal level. Alternatively, you can bring it to a recycling facility.
Reusing items intended to be waste is better than recycling. Let people and businesses donate materials that would’ve been thrown away even if they were still good enough to be used.
Good examples of reusable items can include appliances and furniture. Scrap wood, metal, and other renovation materials can also be donated and reused. For businesses, they can donate out-of-promotion products, outdated office equipment, or overstocked foods.
2. Provide necessary equipment and facilities
Allow people to organize their trash freely. The secret to successfully pulling this off is by providing what they need to do that. Any community needs to have a recycling facility that acts as a place where people and businesses can donate their stuff. But it’s also helpful to have a dump bin rental establishment, commercial composting plants, or a material recovery facility.
3. Stop using single-use items
Encourage your community to use reusable items. Replace plastic food containers with cardboard-based ones. Use mugs or glasses instead of using paper or plastic cups. There are also compostable cups and cutlery. They are a great alternative for food businesses.
At home, get rid of single-use items such as coffee pods and plastic water bottles. Plastic bags and disposable utensils are also common items at home that can be replaced with reusable options.
4. Go digital
Landfills contain a vast amount of paper and paper products. Encourage businesses to be sustainable by enabling them to go digital. Instead of printing invoices, receipts, and other office materials, businesses can have them available online. If possible, all paperwork should be digitally accessed. Online banking is a good example.
Everybody is Responsible
Transforming waste management practices from non-sustainable to sustainable can be challenging at first. But the initial challenge lies in community leaders. The leadership must set an example. This can encourage everybody to adopt sustainable waste management practices at home and in businesses.
The community can also take initiatives that act as alternatives to sustainability. They can support those initiatives and promote them. The authorities and the public should work together to achieve a sustainable waste management system to benefit the people, environment, and economy.