Waste Management Best Practices: A Roadmap to a Sustainable Future

keyKey Takeaways:
  • The ideal waste management strategy is “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”
  • Reducing waste generation and disposal requires an efficient waste management strategy.
  • To enhance resource recovery, proper waste segregation is essential.
  • It’s crucial to pick a waste management business that backs your environmental objectives.

The worldwide generation of solid waste material is forecasted to increase by around 70%, i.e., 3.4 billion metric tons by 2050. This staggering number brings us to think about the local and global impact of waste on these economies. The main types of waste materials include residential waste, industrial waste, hazardous waste, and e-waste, all of which need proper management. 

Being an intricate subject, waste management needs effective solutions and methods to ensure positive results. By adopting specific strategies, we can reduce waste, minimize its environmental impact, and build a cleaner future. This blog will provide you with the top waste management best practices that can be beneficial in creating a healthy environment.

How Does Waste Management Benefit Us?

Waste management is the need of the hour, looking at the soaring volume of waste generation with increasing population and economies in modern society. It is essential to protect the environment, public health, and quality of life. Here are some of the key benefits of waste management:

  • Protects the environment 
  • Enhances public health
  • Conserves natural resources
  • Minimizes greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Creates job opportunities 
  • Increases energy efficiency
  • Enriches the quality of life

8 Best Practices for Sustainable Waste Management

There are many waste management business ideas that can help contribute toward waste management. But, while looking at the best practices involved in executing these ideas, it is important that the below waste management hierarchy is maintained: 

  • Prevention
  • Reduction
  • Reuse
  • Recycling
  • Recovery
  • Disposal 

1. Waste prevention

Waste prevention is the most important method of all the other strategies. So, before diving into this, it is crucial to track the waste amount generated in your organization. Once you have the needed information, you can take help from various technologies to eliminate waste, thereby preventing waste pollution. 

Waste prevention - waste management best practices

Here are some ways to prevent waste generation: 

  • Use environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques 
  • Implement chemical neutralization methods
  • Use water-saving technologies 
  • Go paperless by being more digital
  • Prevent single-use plastic
  • Donate useful items instead of trashing them

2. Waste reduction

When you cannot eliminate the usage of waste in some cases, you can minimize waste generation with this strategy. Waste or source minimization is useful when you identify trends or products that may be creating waste stream problems. 

Waste reduction - waste management best practices

Waste can be reduced in the industry by using less hazardous alternative materials, reusing substances, or by making changes in the design and processing components.

Reducing the usage of waste material also minimizes manufacturing and disposal costs. You can achieve this through a variety of methods, including reduced consumption, reusing items, repairing and refurbishing things, and improving the product packaging techniques to minimize waste. 

3. Recycling and reuse

This approach is centered around nullifying the chances of waste generations in the first place. It can be done by reusing items as much as possible, and recycling them when they surpass their validity. This practice helps conserve natural resources and reduce the demand for new products. It is one of the key trends in the waste management industry. 

Recycling and reuse - waste management best practices

With higher usage of recycled materials, the utilization of raw materials, and thereby greenhouse gas emissions is reduced. You can offer waste and recycling services for recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, glass, wood, and metals so they can be reformed into new products. For example, scrap paper can be used to manufacture new paper, or old aluminum cans can be processed into new aluminum items. 

4. Incineration

The process of burning waste to reduce its volume and the risk of disease transmission is called incineration. This method is often used to dispose of hazardous and medical waste, but it comes with some environmental concerns. These can include pollution and release of toxic gases. 

Incineration - waste management best practices

Incineration is mainly used to reduce hazardous wastes such as oils, chlorinated hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, and medical wastes. The combustion produced from the waste generates heat and electricity. So, this method also helps produce energy. The strategy is particularly helpful for those who do not want to store waste at a common location.

5. Landfill disposal

Landfills are engineered sites specifically designed to contain and isolate waste carefully from the environment. They are usually lined with a barrier material to stop the release of contaminants. They are also monitored precisely to ensure that waste does not pose a threat to the environment or public health.

Landfill disposal - waste management best practices

Although reuse and recycling have advanced, landfill disposal is still the most used waste disposal method in the US. Landfills that cater to municipal solid waste fall under the regulation of the state, and local governments. It is also important that the landfill meets the requirements including strict design, operational procedure, and closure.

6. Composting

Composting is the process of breaking down organic waste, such as yard and food waste, into a soil amendment rich in nutrition. Composting nullifies the chances of waste sent to landfills. The produced compost can be used to boost soil health in agricultural lands and gardens.

Composting - waste management best practice

You can compost a range of materials such as greasy pizza boxes, excess fruits, tea bags, and eggshells. It is important to tightly seal the composting bag to reduce foul smell and flies. This is a great way of managing waste under the local waste management practices used at home or offices.

7. Anaerobic waste digestion 

This is one of the alternative waste management strategies to composting, which doesn’t use oxygen. In this process, microorganisms break down the organic matter present in the waste in an oxygen-free environment. As a result, it produces biogas, which contains methane and carbon dioxide. A stabilized residue is also formed, which can be used as a fertilizer.

Although this process is slower as compared to composting, it can give significant results. The methane produced here is a renewable source of energy. It can be used for cooking purposes, generating heat and also generating electricity for homes.

8. Waste collection

While looking at the waste management statistics, you would know that it is important to execute waste minimization strategies. After all, waste collection is as important as others aspects. Nowadays, many people have started offering waste collection services to households and organizations using garbage trucks. 

Waste collection

These activities help streamline solid waste management so that all waste is distributed and collected in a standard way. Suh bifurcation happens according to the materials that can be recycled, reused, decomposed, or disposed of. 

Waste management route planning

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FAQs

Here are the complex challenges of waste management:

  • Increasing amount of waste
  • Limited funding for waste management programs
  • Public resistance to some waste management practices

You can create an effective waste management plan by:

  • Consulting with stakeholders
  • Finding potential waste streams
  • Conducting reuse and recycling programs
  • Analyzing locations of waste management sites
  • Creating a plan to connect with community

You can start a waste management business with the below steps:

    • Finding your niche
    • Analyzing the market
    • Registering your business
    • Getting the right equipment
    • Getting permits and licenses
    • Hiring a staff and drivers
    • Market your services

Conclusion

Effective waste management is important to safeguard human health and conserve natural resources. By implementing the best practices mentioned above, you can reduce the amount of waste that occupies landfills. But it is also important to put your route planning burdens aside and get an intelligent solution to make your tasks easy.

Let Upper help you plan the best multi-stop routes for waste collection with greater efficiency. You can plan highly optimized routes by adding driver preferences and setting priority levels. Such automated route planning can schedule your waste pickup routes weeks or months in advance. 

In short, you can save hours of manual work and focus on taking up more projects.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.