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Waste trash talk  recycling or waste management | Upload Recycling

Trash Talk: Recycling Or Waste Management

by: Sharai Hoekema
trash talk  recycling or waste management | Upload

The amount of waste that we generate is rather staggering. According to new data, we are disposing of more than 2 billion tons of household waste per year - amounting to 60 tons of waste per second. This is approximately 0.75 kilograms for each person on Earth per day. An average that varies widely, with some people producing a ‘meager’ 0.11 kilograms per day and others raking in an impressive 4.5 kilograms. 

Recycling Or Waste Management

The bulk of this waste can be attributed to the typical high-income countries responsible for up to 35% of waste, despite less than 16% of the world population. While this looks pretty bad, they make some effort towards proper recycling initiatives to channel this huge pile of discarded stuff to wherever it is supposed to go. Cue the waste collection and home recycling initiatives that are commonplace here.

Developing nations do, for all their faults, decidedly not produce as much waste. There is a flip side, though - the waste produced here is often dumped in landfills and forgotten about altogether. And that would already be the best-case scenario in some nations. While Europe, Central Asia, and North America consistently show 90+ percent of waste being collected, this drops to 48 percent for cities in low-income countries - and as low as 26 percent for their rural areas.

trash-bin-with-rubbish-in-the-front-and-people-at-the-back
Photo by Paul Schellekens Unsplash

Recommended: Plastic In Oceans: Cheers To The Enzyme Cocktail

Our Waste Does Not Go Where It Should

From this bombardment of numbers, one thing should be clear. A huge portion of our waste does, on a global level, not end up where it is supposed to go. When asking experts to make a conservative guess, they will tell you that at least one-third of it is not managed in an environmentally safe manner. Did I already say that this is a very, very conservative estimate?

two-yellow-stripes-and-a cup-on-the-street
Photo by Red Dot, Unsplash

Recommended: Recycling Asphalt: An Amazing Electrified Process

This means that we are still dumping waste left, right, and center. Every 2 hours, the world collectively manages to fill the world’s largest container ship to the brim with trash and trash alone (source). Good for a whopping 4570 of those ships each year. And one-third of those are not routed to the right port.

Channeling The Waste

Trying to channel all our waste is a challenge only a few are ready to take on. Welcome to the wondrous world of recycling and waste management. There is a distinction between the two. Waste management is the overall process of collecting and effectively breaking down (household) waste. Recycling is a part of this, where waste materials are converted into new materials and objects. 

As our goal should be to limit the amount of waste ‘left,’ it seems obvious why recycling is such an important part of our waste management. Or, at the very least, why it should be, alongside its fun twin brothers Reduce and Reuse, making them the fun boyband knew as the 3 Rs of waste management. 

Reducing, Reusing And Recycling

While it sounds great theoretically, numbers are showing that we can still do much better. The ‘reduce’ idea seems a bit abundant, considering that recent estimates have put the total annual pile of global waste at 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050 - nearly double the number that we are looking at today. ‘Reuse’ may be similarly wasted on our brains that are now hooked on the consumerist-culture that has been fostered.

Products are meant for quick use and then thrown away, from food items to clothing and even electronics. Reuse is fun to do at the thrift store but not something we seem to be eager to integrate into our lives willingly. And yet we should. We have to reuse and reduce.

This would take some of the strain off the final ‘R,’ recycling. And while constant progress is being made to extract at least the most harmful bits and pieces, including plastics and chemicals, we still ought to do better. We can do better. Knowing that each piece of paper, fabric, or green waste that you generate could go on to live a second, third, fourth, umpteenth life is a thought that should be at the forefront of our minds. Recycling saves lives, kids. Let’s get it done. 

Cover photo by Avinash Kumar, Unsplash

Before you go!

Recommended: Solar Panel Recycling: Photovoltaics Rebirth

Like to write your article about waste in the oceans?

Send your writing & scribble with a photo to [email protected], and we will write an interesting article based on your input.

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Trash Talk: Recycling Or Waste Management

The amount of waste that we generate is rather staggering. According to new data, we are disposing of more than 2 billion tons of household waste per year - amounting to 60 tons of waste per second. This is approximately 0.75 kilograms for each person on Earth per day. An average that varies widely, with some people producing a ‘meager’ 0.11 kilograms per day and others raking in an impressive 4.5 kilograms .   Recycling Or Waste Management The bulk of this waste can be attributed to the typical high-income countries responsible for up to 35% of waste, despite less than 16% of the world population. While this looks pretty bad, they make some effort towards proper recycling initiatives to channel this huge pile of discarded stuff to wherever it is supposed to go. Cue the waste collection and home recycling initiatives that are commonplace here. Developing nations do, for all their faults, decidedly not produce as much waste. There is a flip side, though - the waste produced here is often dumped in landfills and forgotten about altogether. And that would already be the best-case scenario in some nations. While Europe, Central Asia, and North America consistently show 90+ percent of waste being collected, this drops to 48 percent for cities in low-income countries - and as low as 26 percent for their rural areas. Photo by  Paul Schellekens  Unsplash Recommended:  Plastic In Oceans: Cheers To The Enzyme Cocktail Our Waste Does Not Go Where It Should From this bombardment of numbers, one thing should be clear. A huge portion of our waste does, on a global level, not end up where it is supposed to go. When asking experts to make a conservative guess, they will tell you that at least one-third of it is not managed in an environmentally safe manner. Did I already say that this is a very, very conservative estimate? Photo by  Red Dot , Unsplash Recommended:  Recycling Asphalt: An Amazing Electrified Process This means that we are still dumping waste left, right, and center. Every 2 hours, the world collectively manages to fill the world’s largest container ship to the brim with trash and trash alone ( source ). Good for a whopping 4570 of those ships each year. And one-third of those are not routed to the right port. Channeling The Waste Trying to channel all our waste is a challenge only a few are ready to take on. Welcome to the wondrous world of recycling and waste management. There is a distinction between the two. Waste management is the overall process of collecting and effectively breaking down (household) waste. Recycling is a part of this, where waste materials are converted into new materials and objects.   As our goal should be to limit the amount of waste ‘left,’ it seems obvious why recycling is such an important part of our waste management. Or, at the very least, why it should be, alongside its fun twin brothers Reduce and Reuse, making them the fun boyband knew as the 3 Rs of waste management.   Reducing, Reusing And Recycling While it sounds great theoretically, numbers are showing that we can still do much better. The ‘reduce’ idea seems a bit abundant, considering that recent estimates have put the total annual pile of global waste at 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050 - nearly double the number that we are looking at today. ‘Reuse’ may be similarly wasted on our brains that are now hooked on the consumerist-culture that has been fostered. Products are meant for quick use and then thrown away, from food items to clothing and even electronics. Reuse is fun to do at the thrift store but not something we seem to be eager to integrate into our lives willingly. And yet we should. We have to reuse and reduce. This would take some of the strain off the final ‘R,’ recycling. And while constant progress is being made to extract at least the most harmful bits and pieces, including plastics and chemicals, we still ought to do better. We can do better. Knowing that each piece of paper, fabric, or green waste that you generate could go on to live a second, third, fourth, umpteenth life is a thought that should be at the forefront of our minds. Recycling saves lives, kids. Let’s get it done.   Cover photo by  Avinash Kumar , Unsplash Before you go! Recommended:  Solar Panel Recycling: Photovoltaics Rebirth Like to write your article about waste in the oceans? Send your writing & scribble with a photo to  [email protected] , and we will write an interesting article based on your input.
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