Modern Waste Management Techniques
With a growing population all over the world and climate change problems potentially threatening the stability of certain areas around the world, levels of consumption and pollution are two areas that forward thinkers are examining closely. Improvements in our efficiency to turn consumed goods into consumable goods with minimal damage to the environment remains one of the biggest problems facing us today. One of the most significant factors in this is the methods by which we dispose of our waste.
Let’s take a look at the most common techniques today and the pros and cons of each.
Recover through Recycling
We start with arguably the most advantageous form of waste disposal. Recycling is not only great for the environment, but it also provides a considerable economic benefit to the individual and the economy as a whole. Recycling is ultimate because it reduces the work needed to produce something fit for consumption.
Of course, not everything can be recycled. The main things that can be recycled are plastics, paper, and glass. Recycling requires effort from all parties, including you! Responsible waste disposal professionals will always look to promote recycling as much as possible. Quality bin hire companies, will always separate the waste according to its ability to be recycled.
Read more: 6 Environmental Benefits of Recycling
So do your bit and make sure you recycle responsibly as there are some surprising things that you should not recycle.
This process of waste disposal is only applicable to those of organic nature like plants, food scraps and paper products. Organic matter going through the biological decomposition process forms mulch or compost, which later can be used for agricultural purpose. Biological reprocessing helps to speed up the natural decomposition of organic matter. The methane that comes as a gaseous waste can be used for producing heat and electricity. Based on whether it is used for home or industrial purpose, its complexity and type differs and are classified as aerobic and anaerobic methods.
Dump in a Sanitary Landfill
Sanitary landfill setup involves a well-designed engineering method to ensure that the environment is protected. It is made with layers of different levelling, with the bottom having the smallest volume which gets bigger as you move towards the top. This volume difference is to make sure that land does not collapse.
The bottommost layer is the liner system, which employs dense clay and high-density plastics to prevent contamination of underground water due to the penetration of liquid. The second is the drainage taking the collected fluid to treatment plants. Next is the gas collection system dealing with the gaseous hydrocarbon methane, which is both volatile and toxic. This gas can be treated and used to produce electricity. Then is the trash itself, which when filled is covered with synthetic plastic or clay, similar to that done at the bottommost layer. The layers of waste and soil are alternated to help reduce odour and improve rapid decomposition.
Given that we have a great deal of land per capita here in Australia putting rubbish into landfill is one of the most convenient and inexpensive ways to go about waste disposal. It was, now the situation has changed dramatically. Landfills with unmanageable wastes are creating threats to the environment.
Landfill technique needs regular maintenance to keep odour, methane and liquid penetration level under control. That said, there are risks, even for a country with such vast lands. Methane and gases can be produced and come to the surface, which can cause significant problems if not managed properly. Strict safety measures need to be taken to avoid such issues. Further, even in Australia, there is limited land suitable for landfill, and with our growing population, there is a day when this will no longer be a viable method. Smaller countries with dense populations, for example, have already had to resort to other means.
Waste to Energy (WtE)
An efficient disposal system is essential to save ourselves and the environment from non-recyclable items. The disposal technique generates heat or electricity from waste materials. It can come in handy when you need disposing of non-recyclable items by converting them into heat, fuel or electricity. Reducing the need for fossil fuel can help decrease carbon emission.
Composting: Creating rich humus for your garden and lawn
Cheap, easy and virtually risk-free, composting is a natural process that breaks down organic waste and turns it into rich manure that can be used to improve the quality of the soil in your garden. Rather than throwing organic waste into the rubbish bin and having waste disposal people deal with it, put it aside and mix it all over time. Composting is as simple as that!
It is an eco-friendly and cost-effective way to make the environment free of pollution using environmental friendly microbes. Hazardous wastes can be converted to non-toxic products using this natural degradation process. The limitations are that is takes a long time, and controlling the natural process of degradation can be hard.
Thermal Treatment: Incineration
This process converts waste material into gas, ash and heat. Mass of waste reduces by 95 to 96% when processed through incineration plants. For places that have a shortage of land, it can be a good choice. It is operable in any weather condition. Moreover, the energy produced can be used for other purposes. As there is no decay, bad smell or methane does not form, and the heat destroys the harmful germs and chemicals. The modern incinerators have a computerised monitoring system that allows them to use a computer to troubleshoot most of the problems.
Disadvantages may be that a lot of resources are needed to incinerate waste, making it rather expensive on a large scale. Others would say that in fact, the waste material provides a constant source of energy which is created as a result of burning waste; energy that can potentially use in another way.
Another disadvantage is that organic waste which - if put in a landfill - would be broken down and become part of the soil - is potentially lost when incinerated.
This process of waste management utilises highly ionised or electrically charged gases called plasma within a vessel to convert carbon-based materials into fuel. It is an emerging technology that treats hazardous waste by converting incinerator ash or chemicals into non-hazardous slag. The high temperature and lack of oxygen prevent the formation of toxin compounds like dioxins, NOX, furans or sulphur dioxide. The whole processing of waste is ecologically clean, converting solid or liquid wastes into a syngas.
To keep up with the amount of waste being generated, it is crucial that we constantly update ourselves with the new techniques available in the field. At Metropolitan Transfer Station, we are passionate about upholding responsible, environmentally-friendly methods of waste disposal. Contact us for more information about our waste disposal and recycling services today!