Sustainable waste management services for poor countries...
The Government, to be precise the local bodies should bear the initial expense for waste management may be with the sponsorship from the business groups. But the participation lies majority on the people. The people need to made aware of their responsibilities in waste disposal like segregation at source, Proper disposal etc. In fact, i would like mention the “Vellore Model” of Zero Waste Management successfully practised at Local bodies in Vellore district in Southern India. The model has nine different individual processes, which are interconnected and interdependent and which lead to “zero waste” in the end. The interconnection provides maximised efficiency and also sustainability – both economic and environmental sustainability (http://www.zerowastemanagement.org.in/)
The model has also successfully become self sustained as the biodegrade waste is converted into manure and sold. Moreover it can generate employment esp to the local people who involved in collection of segregated garbage from homes.
The increased amount of waste generation resulting from urbanization, population growth and improved life-style is a major concern for many developing countries. The impact of waste accumulation can be highly drastic for many communities in developing countries. If not properly handle, it may cause havoc disaster to mankind. Therefore, a sustainable waste management policy must be in place for handling vast amount of waste created every moment of a day in day-to-day life. A sustainable waste-management plan can be achieved through
- Hard-core public/private/government sponsored research program for creating new packaging materials or finding solutions for converting waste into usable forms
- Enhancing resource efficiency and increasing use of waste-derived renewable resources
- Designing finished products that will allow recycling of inseparable combinations of materials
- Using substances that are less toxic and highly degradable under natural conditions
- Introducing state-of-the-art techniques for the production and manufacturing processes
- Encouraging enhanced research work at the interface between chemical production and waste management
- Collaborating globally to integrate waste management problems into the development of approaches aiming at sustainable chemistry from the very beginning
- Public-private relationships in service delivery shape the ability of municipalities to pursue sustainability
- Defining Clear Roles of Relevant Agencies in Developing Countries
- Raising Awareness of the Public and Decision Makers
- Full and equal participation of government, private and public
- The challenge is to change the cultural bias against those who currently manage waste in each culture.
- The best investment is to work with local governments to assist them in paying a living wage with incentives to gather and upgrade (up-cycle) more waste materials they can collect. Most sanitation workers are the lowest paid in developing countries this is the government contribution.
- One way to facilitate that is to support the use of collection bins that are “sortable” meaning easy to get into safely and able to high grade to the collection sack with residuals remaining in the bins and not Strewn about. This is a local government specification for any waste collection services contract.
- buy back recycling centers in every walkable location with strategic purchasing cooperatives hat have the tools to clean and bale recyclable commodities. This is a business model to ensure the best quality for recovered commodities. Value for quality pricing.
- Provide capital for to those buyback centers to manufacture commodities that have little or no international commodity market valu to set up crushers for glass agregates, pelletizers for plastic LDPE, and composters for organic wastes. These are marketed locally.
- create and implement local purchasing standards that give preference to locally up-cycled commodities. For government contracts and permitted construction.
I think all three but not at once.
It should start with Government and Big Businesses. After all these two are major parties in creating the waste.
Government's role should be more like an awareness body and facilitator to the people. Like providing free or low-cost bins etc. Once this framework has done its people's job to carry this forward. However, most of the governments start such program but we know that corruption that kills everything. But decentralization or making civil societies can control corruption to an extent.
Recycling can only work if all stakeholders are involved, share the responsibilities, the costs… and the profits. As a matter of fact, recycling should not only be seen as a costly burden, it has positive impact, including financially. Below some examples:
- Governments can improve the general quality of life and solve health issues of its people thanks to proper waste management, for ex. by reducing air/water pollution or rats’ nuisance, which could otherwise be quite costly. They can also improve their image and the image of their country worldwide. They can increase their trade balance (by selling recyclables, importing less materials) and/or reduce their dependence on other countries (for ex. by producing their own energy), Finally, they can make money through taxes on waste, on additional income created, etc.
- Business: recycling creates new business opportunities not only for waste related companies, but proper waste management can have a positive impact on other sectors such as tourism or food industry. There’s work for skilled and unskilled staff, entrepreneurs, etc.
- Consumers: in addition to the fact that their quality of life will improve, and they could make saving on health related costs, recycling offers job opportunities and/or possibility for them to sell recyclables for money.
Regarding initial investment, PPP (public-private partnerships) can be appropriate and there are many agencies supporting developing countries on their way to sustainable waste management (e.g. JICA in Japan).
Biodegradable plastics: are they better for the environment?
Litter is a problem with a very negative social and environmental impact. Some people believe that one way to tackle this problem is to use biodegradable plastics as an environmentally-friendly solution for things such as plastic bags. This might seem sensible at first glance, but is it really better for the environment?
Littering is fundamentally a problem of irresponsible behaviour, which should be tackled by changing people’s attitudes rather than by changing the products they are throwing away. Making products biodegradable may actually make the problem of littering worse, by making people think that it is OK to throw away valuable resources like plastics. For example, a biodegradable plastic bag that’s thrown into a hedge will still take years to disappear, rather than days as some people believe. Even a banana skin - when thrown away - needs 1-3 years before it is biodegraded!
What’s more, biodegradable plastics require specific conditions to biodegrade properly (micro-organisms, temperature, and humidity), and if not managed properly they may be worse for the environment than conventional plastics. When biodegradable plastics are put into landfill (which should always be avoided in any case) they produce harmful greenhouse gases when breaking down.
What are biodegradable plastics? Biodegradable plastics are plastics that can be broken down by microorganisms (bacteria or fungi) into water, carbon dioxide (CO2) and some bio-material. It is important to note that biodegradable plastics are not necessarily made from bio-material (i.e. plants). Several biodegradable plastics are made from oil in the same way as conventional plastics.
So what are biodegradable plastics good for? In principle plastics are valued for their ability to make strong, durable products (for example in food storage, transport, building and construction). Biodegradability should therefore be regarded as an additional functionality when the application demands a cheap way to dispose of the item after it has fulfilled its job (e.g. for packaging, protect food and keep it fresh). Examples of useful biodegradable products are:
- Food packaging – packaging that can be composted together with its contents when the product is past its sell-by date or spoiled
- Agriculture – plastic sheeting that can be ploughed-into biodegradable mulch and seed films
- Medical – absorbable sutures; micro-devices containing medicine, which break down inside the body
Biodegradability is a material property that depends much on the circumstances of the biological environment (human body differs from soil). Given that this is the case, it could be said that making a product such as a plastic bag compostable does not make much sense because this biodegradability performance will not resolve the litter issue (different conditions in the compost and on soil).
To conclude, it is a mistake to focus on finding ways to make products easier to throw away in the name of helping the environment. Biodegradable plastics are exciting and useful materials, but they should only be used when they have a concrete benefit for a specific product. The best way to help save the planet is to save energy and improve ways of recycling and recovering all plastics.
7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Biodegradable Plastics
Biodegradable plastics have two classes. These are bioplastics which are made from renewable raw materials and plastics that come from petrochemicals that have biodegradable additives. Created to minimize pollution from plastic pollutants, these plastic types will turn to compost after a certain period of time. However, there are upsides and downsides to the use of these materials.
List of Advantages of Biodegradable Plastics
1. Carbon Emission Reduction
One of the advantages related to the use of biodegradable plastics is the minimal emission of carbon in the air during the process of manufacturing bioplastics. As opposed to the normal manufacturing of plastics that create four tons of emissions, bioplastics only emit approximately .8 tons of carbon that add to the greenhouse effect and global warming.
2. Consumes Less Energy
The manufacturing process of biodegradable plastics requires less amount of energy and does not need fossil fuels to be recycled. Conversely, traditional plastics demand more energy in production and at the same time requires the burning of fossil fuel. Since less energy is needed, more bioplastics can be produced while there is less pollution in the environment.
3. Less Landfill Area Needed
Plastics that are non-biodegradable are brought to landfills to discard them. Consequently, land area that could have been used for agriculture, residence or industrial applications is instead converted to landfills. If bioplastics are used, there is no need to add more landfills since these plastics can be absorbed by the soil and be converted to compost or humus.
Apart from taking less time to break down when discarded, biodegradable plastics can also be recycled and are non-toxic since they contain no chemicals or toxins compared to other types of plastics that can emit harmful chemicals, especially if burned.
List of Disadvantages of Biodegradable Plastics
1. Need for Composters
The flipside of using biodegradable plastics is that there will be a need for industrial composters to turn them into composts and availability of the equipment in some countries can be a problem. Apart from the cost, not all countries have the proper equipment especially if this is not the priority of the government. In the end, the bioplastics that need to be processed will not be discarded properly.
2. Engineering Issues
These bioplastics are plant-based and this means that they come from organic sources from farms such as soybeans and corn. However, these organic plants are sprayed with pesticides which contain chemicals that can contaminate the crops and be transferred or included in the finished product.
3. Risk of Contamination
Biodegradable plastics should not be mixed with non-biodegradable plastics when thrown in garbage bins. The problem here is that not all people know how to segregate or distinguish bioplastics from other plastic types. Once these two types of plastics are mixed together, these bioplastics become contaminated and cannot be used anymore. Consequently, these contaminated bioplastics will end in landfills and add to the volume of thrash.
Biodegradable plastics are becoming popular these days because of the increasing awareness on global warming and environmental issues. Despite having disadvantages, it will help to focus on the benefits of using bioplastics and on educating the people on its importance and effects on a global scale.
The Psychology Behind Why People Don’t Recycle
If it’s not extremely easy, people won’t do it.
By Erin Schumaker
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The benefits of recycling seem straightforward. The practice reduces waste sent to landfills, conserves natural resources, reduces pollution and creates jobs. And the majority of Americans do recycle... sometimes.
Far fewer, however, do it consistently.
“Recycling is a behavior,” Brian Iacoviello, an assistant psychiatry professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City told The Huffington Post. “Much like exercising or eating healthily, people often engage in this behavior less than they ‘should.’”
Indeed, according to a 2011 Ipsos Public Affairs survey, only half of adults recycle daily. Another third of respondents said they recycle less frequently than that, and a full 13 percent revealed that they never recycle.
Because the reward for recycling (saving the earth) and the repercussions for infrequently recycling (damaging the environment) aren’t necessarily immediate, it can be hard for people to make the association between their daily habits and those habits’ consequences.
“It’s that true paradox,” said Jessica Nolan, an associate psychology professor at the University of Scranton. “Individual behavior is both essential and inconsequential.”
Nolan, who previously worked as a municipal recycling director and who researches environmental problems from a social perspective, said that identifying a community’s barriers to recycling is an important first step toward increasing participation.
While different communities and demographics have different barriers to recycling ― and thus require unique recycling solutions to overcome them ― here are the top reasons people said they don’t recycle more:
The primary excuse people gave for not recycling was that recycling wasn’t convenient or accessible to them.
“Obviously if the infrastructure is not there, you can’t expect people to participate in a program that doesn’t exist,” Nolan said. “We know that convenience is one of the strongest predictors of whether or not somebody will participate in the available recycling program.”
According to The Economist, about a quarter of Americans don’t have access to curbside recycling, meaning they have to take the extra step of dropping their cans and bottles at a recycling center if they want to participate.
Of course, how people answer a survey isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator of whether or not services are available to them. While doing an informal survey of college students in Arkansas, Nolan noticed that individuals from the same town sometimes answered differently about whether or not a recycling program existed in their hometown.
“If you’re not interested, you might think you have no recycling program, but in fact you do,” she said. “If there’s a drop off center, you wouldn’t see it unless you went looking for it.”
HuffPost combined the reasons people said they don’t recycle into three clear “types,” then asked the experts what can be done to convert them:
1. The ‘No-Time’ Non-Recycler
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The excuse: Recycling is inconvenient, time-consuming or too costly.
The experts say: Iacoviello thinks the crude cost-benefit analysis people do when evaluating recycling’s benefit to them emphasizes the immediate over the long term.
The cost of recycling “is seen and felt more immediately than the cost to the environment of not recycling, which is why it influences behavior more,” he explained.
Those who think recycling is inconvenient may be doing a similar cost-benefit analysis of how much time recycling takes compared to how easy they perceive the activity to be.
“Once you’ve got your system in place, it’s really not that hard,” Nolan said. “The perceived difficulty of doing something is always greater.”
Targeted intervention: Structural solutions are fundamental to getting more people to participate in environment efforts, according to Nolan.
If, for example, citizens say their town’s drop off program is inconvenient, instituting a curbside program could improve recycling recycling participation rates. Rural communities may need to think more creatively; Nolan suggested partnerships with grocery stores, convenient drop-off sites because people are already visiting them.
Or, she said, “If you see recycling as a value-added activity, why not charge a little more for trash [services] and then make recycling [pickup] free? There are structural ways that you can incentivize recycling.”
2. The Aluminum Can Confuser
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The excuse: Isn’t sure what’s recyclable and what’s not; doesn’t understand recycling’s benefit.
The experts say: Recycling can be confusing. It differs from community to community and rules about recycling have changed over time.
And recycling contamination ― when non-recyclables are mixed in with recyclables, rendering the whole batch useless ― is a real issue. (Pro tip: plastic bags CANNOT go in the recycling bin.)
“There’s always that tension between getting people to participate and making sure you end up with a product, rather than just a waste stream,” Nolan said.
Targeted intervention: Uniform educational materials across communities could help eliminate confusion, even if those communities accept different materials as recyclable.
Nolan suggested having one single image for a given material that’s used everywhere. “If you take glass, then this is the sticker for glass,” she explained. “If you take metal, this is the sticker for which metals you can put in. The idea is to make it easier and free up mental resources.”
Penalties for not recycling are especially effective at encouraging people to learn their cities’ recycling rules. San Francisco, for example, has made strides by making recycling mandatory and fining citizens, building owners and businesses who don’t separate their trash, recycling and compost materials.
Today the city has the highest landfill diversion rate in the country, and diverts 80 percent of its waste away from landfills, with a goal of eliminating waste entirely by 2020.
3. The Debris Denier
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The excuse: Believes recycling doesn’t makes a difference, isn’t important or is a low priority (”always forgets” to recycle).
The experts say: Despite tangible evidence to the contrary, some respondents still said they didn’t think recycling makes a difference. That’s an indication there’s a key disconnect between communities and recycling advocates, according to Suparna Rajaram, a psychology professor and director of the social memory and cognition lab at Stony Brook University.
“People are not receiving information, whether it makes a difference and in what way it makes a difference,” she said. “There’s no direct connection.”
Other responders say “they always forget” to recycle, another indication that recycling is a low priority for them.
“Why do you forget?” Rajaram asks. “Because you don’t see [recycling] as being a salient behavior that has any consequences.”
Targeted intervention: Rajaram says it’s not just important that people know how to recycle correctly. They also need information about how their recycling efforts directly affect their community.
“Reward can reinforce action,” she said, noting that a reward needn’t be personal. It could be as simple as well-circulated information about the tangible benefits of high participation in community recycling programs.
“If there is not enough information about that connection, we don’t have a starting point.”
Waste management in poor countries is often very basic with the waste buried in land close to the waste producers causing significant adverse environmental and health concerns and issues from open dumping practices. The informal sector has a role to play with those participating generating US$1-to US$2 per day and separating out maybe 50 to 75Kg per day. However, if communities can get together and organise themselves then food waste can be collected and used to generate methane as a fuel source to produce heat and power. Animal and human waste can be used in the same way. Green wastes a can be composted. By removing the organic wastes (food, green waste, animal from the mixed waste this makes separation for recycling of metals, plastics, paper and cardboard much easier (less contamination) and of higher value. Recyclables such as cardboard, plastic bottles and drinks cans, glass can be collectively stored, removed and sold or used to make goods that can be sold locally. The government should intervene to provide or facilitate a trading relationship with these communities so they have a route to market for their recyclables or provide knowledge, training, land, storage containers, collection schedules and loans to provide the necessary plant and equipment to bio-digest the organic waste, process the waste and or make new products (some NGO's also provide funding of this type). Such an initiatives could qualify for the UN's CDM (Clean development mechanism) or GCF (Green Climate fund) if carried out on larger scale (involving many communities especially with the food and animal/ human waste initiatives). Landfill diversion 80% + significant reduction in greenhouse gases + minimal cost to Government.
20 months ago
A sustainable waste management practice is important for achieving public health goals. International funding is readily available for public health services in poor countries but not many donors have considered that poor waste management practices undermines the actualization of their objectives and causes potential waste of their resources. Indeed, there is need to do something about this. Who should bear the cost of waste management services in poor countries in order for it to be sustainable?
Anything done to improve planet Earth by increasing recycling is a good thing. Everyone needs to increase their knowledge about what items that can and can't be recycled. This education should start from the recycling company's themselves and be promoted by all levels of government. These programs will help the educated consumer make a better choice as to what product to buy and use that can and will be more Eco friendly. This should be accompanied with making recycling mandatory all across the USA and worldwide. This thought process of reduce, reuse, recycle will reduce the amount of garbage thrown away into our landfills. This hopefully leads to less trash thrown into the oceans, lakes, rivers, streams the world over. The manufacturing industry should help by reducing waste, using more recycled products in their manufactured products and designing more biodegradable product packaging. Some areas of the USA are making electrical energy through the use of burning trash to heat water. This changes to steam to turn turbines which generates electricity. This helps to reduce the amount of trash that is disposed of in landfills.
For example, in the USA there are many recycling company's. Many are operated as family owned or as a large company. Some garbage pick up (Waste Management company) contracts with cities to pick of trash & the separate recycle bin of recyclable items such as glass, plastic, steel cans, aluminum cans, newspapers, phone books, magazines, cardboard. Some cities own the trash pick up vehicles and take the items to a recycling company. The company pays the city for the recycled items. Some recycling companies allow individuals & construction companies to drop off recycling items. Then they would pay for the items at per pound of weight. The glass recycling company near me close down 10 years ago due to not having enough glass manufacturing customers to buy the glass in order to justify recycling. Steel, aluminum and copper is more profitable to recycle. Usually steel & aluminum manufactures in the USA, Canada, Japan, & China buy the USA's scrap recycling and melt them down to make new products.
I would suggest the poorer countries start recycling collections on a local to regional level. Sort the items in to separate recycle bin of recyclable items such as glass, plastic, steel cans, aluminum cans, newspapers, phone books, magazines, cardboard, etc. If there are no recycling company's in a particular country, the government should look to open a few or encourage private people or company to open them up. Or the govnt can inquire to a neighboring country to receive the recycling to process it for them. Maybe contact the UN or a few recycling companies in the USA to see if they may be interested in building & opening a recycling company in that country.
Some areas of the USA are making electrical energy through the use of burning trash to heat water. This changes to steam to turn turbines which generates electricity. This could also be a good avenue to pursue. If enough electricity is produced to power the area around the plant, then build/co-locate it with a desalination plant (on the coast to take saltwater and process it into freshwater for drinking, irrigation, bathing, watering crops, manufacturing, etc). This is a win-win for the population of the country.
Americans generate 10.5 million tons of plastic waste a year but recycle only 1 or 2 % of it. An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash-most of it plastic -is dumped in the world's oceans every year.
Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce. The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year. The USA has to do a better job recycling along with all the other countries on this big blue marble in space that we call home, planet Earth.
According to the EPA, plastics make up more than 12 percent of the municipal solid waste stream, “a dramatic increase from 1960, when plastics were less than one percent of the waste stream.” US residents are buying more plastic, and only about 8 percent of it gets recycled. The plastics industry rarely uses recycled plastics in the vast majority of their products, unlike the glass and metal industries. The recycling arrows stamped on plastic products and the cities that collect every type of plastic via their recycling programs lead people to believe that all plastic products are recyclable and being recycled, and that’s simply not true. Non-recyclable plastics are separated and landfilled.
Some plastics we know are toxic, such as #3, which is also known as PVC or vinyl. PVC contains phthalates and heavy metals, and creates dioxins when it burns. Other plastics contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), which has been identified as a chemical that disrupts hormones. Plastics can contain thousands of possible additives, and manufacturers are not required to disclose what their recipes are. Any plastic can leach, depending on the conditions (light, heat) and what additives it includes.
A SEA OF PLASTIC?
Publication of the garbage patch study coincided with a new report from Britain, Foresight Future of the Sea, that found plastic pollution in the ocean could triple by 2050 unless a “major response” is mounted to prevent plastic from reaching the ocean. The report declared plastic pollution to be one of the main environmental threats to the seas, along with sea-level rise and warming oceans.
The study included two aerial surveys in October of 2016 that took 7,000 images, and 652 ocean surface trawls conducted in July, August, and September of 2015 by 18 vessels.
The surface trawls also filled in the rest of the story.
Fifty plastic items collected had a readable production date: One from 1977, seven from the 1980s, 17 from the 1990s, 24 from the 2000s, and one from 2010. Researchers also found 386 objects with recognizable words or sentences in nine different languages.
The writing on a third of the objects was Japanese and another third was Chinese. The country of production was readable on 41 objects, showing they were manufactured in 12 different nations.
The study also concluded that plastic pollution is “increasing exponentially and at a faster rate than in surrounding waters.” Others are not as confident that the conclusion indicates a dramatic change in distribution of marine debris. Much of the world’s marine debris is believed to lie in the coastal regions, not in the middle of oceans.
Leonard says he was impressed with the scope of the study. “It’s strong science,” he says. “But at the same time, in this field, the harder we look, the more plastic we find.”