Why is waste management important?
Correct waste management is an essential part of modern living – paving the way to a greener, more sustainable future. Whether you’re a domestic household or a larger industrial-scale operation, how you dispose of waste has major repercussions for other people and the planet. Here are the main reasons correct waste management is so important:
Environmental Concerns: Proper waste management is vital in protecting the environment. When waste is improperly sent to landfill – particularly organic waste – methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is released, contributing to global warming and climate change.
When waste is disposed of inappropriately, for instance, through dumping, it can contaminate land, water, ecosystems, and the air we breathe. Toxic substances leaking into bodies of water can pollute drinking water and kill wildlife. Adopting responsible waste management practices can help to minimise our environmental impact.
Public health: It’s not just the environment that improper waste management puts at risk but public health too. Fly-tipping or the accumulation of waste in public spaces can result in poor air quality and contribute to the spread of infections. Waste can also attract disease-carrying pests like mosquitoes and rats, posing a significant health risk to communities.
Poor waste collection can also block water drains, leading to environmental and water pollution. This can spread cholera and vector-borne diseases such as malaria.
Resource conservation: Proper waste management can play its part in the drive towards sustainability through closer-loop principles and the ‘circular’ economy. This means products and materials usually thrown away during a ‘linear’ approach can actually be recycled or repurposed. This conserves valuable finite resources, reduces the need for new resource extraction, and decreases the energy used to produce new goods.
Complementing this, effective waste management also offers opportunities for its energy generation. For instance, waste management methods such as anaerobic digestion or incineration can convert waste into renewable energy sources, reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
Legal compliance: As governments push to reduce their carbon footprint, tighter legislation will be enforced to ensure proper waste handling, disposal, and recycling. Businesses will therefore need to comply to avoid tough legal penalties while becoming active participants in the circular economy to create a cleaner, healthier society.
This can include legal requirements for everything, including classification, disposal, licensing, permits, packaging, and record-keeping. Even the most responsible, proactive companies may be unable to keep up to date with ever-tightening restrictions, so it’s best to talk to the experts.
Interested in learning more about how proper waste management can help your business, people, and the planet? We’d love to hear from you! Talk to Reconomy today.