Waste Management and Climate Change
||Solid waste is an
everyday cumulative environmental problem. What happens
to the garbage after site dumping? Inconsiderate dumping
often send tonnes of greenhouse gases into the
atmosphere. In developing countries, besides the lack of
public awareness, lack of corporate commitment, it is
costly to implement waste
and wastewater collection, transport, recycling, treatment and
residuals management. (Pic: Recycle Logo)
Current global rates of post-consumer waste
generation are estimated to be 5%. Rates are on the rise especially
in developing countries with rapid population growth, economic
growth and urbanization.
new and innovative waste management helps reduce solid waste
disposal and subsequently reduce visual, respiratory, environmental
and health impacts.
||Waste management involves the collection,
transport, processing, recycling, or disposal of solid, liquid, and
gaseous wastes, reducing their impacts on health and the
Waste can be treated using thermal,
chemical, biological, physical and other processes in order
reduce its volume
recover materials for recycling, or
Landfill is a
common way of disposing of solid waste, while liquid waste is often
Recent trend suggest rates peaking
probably due to increasing awareness in 3R and revenue-oriented incentives through the CDM and JI. Engineered landfills
provide a more environmentally acceptable waste-disposal strategy
and accounts for 12% of the annual
Certified Emissions Reduction (CER)
credits issued in 2006, under the
Clean Development Mechanism of the
For wastewater management, 90% of the population in developed
countries but less than 30% in developing countries has improved
sanitation. In addition to GHG reduction, improved sanitation and
wastewater management provide a wide range of health and
Integrated solid waste management
uses a combination of options that emphasize:
Hierarchy of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle (
effective way to avoid emissions at all stages of a life cycle.
Diverts waste from disposal temporarily.
Waste diversion also improves air quality and reduces water
pollution, toxics, land use for landfills, and disposal costs.
|| Reduces emissions most
significantly, for materials that require intensive
primary processing, such as steel, plastic, and aluminum. For plastics and all
types of paper too, recycling is by far the best option for
Landfilling releases methane which
could either be harnessed (as is the trend now) or flared.
Because methane is a much potent greenhouse gas, shifting its
emissions to carbon dioxide emissions during flaring significantly
reduces the greenhouse warming potential.
Incineration, in the final stage of
the waste management, creates more carbon-dioxide equivalent than landfilling. Such
management emphasizes the recovery of more valuable products (e.g.
valuable metals like gold, silver, indium from electronics wastes) from waste
with minimum wastage of energy in the mitigation of global warming.
Pay As You Throw
Certain countries like Japan, Australia,
New Zealand implement revolutionary scheme of waste management
called Pay As You Throw (Japan); Throw More, Pay More
(Sydney). In common, solid wastes are charged according to their
weight. Dumpers understand that the more they throw, the more
they are charged; the less they throw, the less they are charged. In
New Zealand, each house owner is entitled to 26 waste bags
annually. The bags loaded with wastes must be securely tied and
weigh no more than 15 kg each. Extra bags needed required to be
purchased. These schemes create direct economic incentive to recycle
more and to generate less wastes.
and recycling policies in Japan should be models
for all industrialized countries. The Containers
and Packaging Recycling Act ("the Act") was established in Japan in
1995 to meet the increasing need to reduce the volume of solid waste
and make full use of recyclable resources by means of sorted
collection and to recycle waste containers and wrapping.
Reassessment of the Act
was started in 2004, and the revised ACT effected in 2006:
To promote a
based on 3Rs
To improve cost efficiency
To encourage cooperation of all
interested parties including the government,
municipalities, business enterprises and citizens.
How do the Japanese dump
thrash? Myriads of waste classifications!
When Oklahoma in Japan doubled the number
of garbage categories to 10, it handed a 27-page booklet to brief
its residents on how to sort their trash. Highlights include
detailed instructions on 518 items. Take for example:
Socks? If only one, it is burnable; a pair
goes (only if the socks are not torn) into used cloth, and the left
and right socks match. Neckties to be thrown into used cloth, but
only after they have been washed and dried!
|In Kamikatsu, the
smallest of Japan's four main islands, residents compost
and recycle everything. What cannot be composted has to
be taken to a recycling center where they must sort
their garbage into 34 recycling bins which has recently
been increased to 44! (Pic:
||Japan recently enacted
the first take-back law in the world, requiring retailers and
manufacturers to take back used air conditioners, tv,
washing machines and refrigerators.
there is awareness among every citizen about recycling,
and everyone does his part of waste management
(Pic: Roles of
Parties required by the JCPRC Act in Japan)
Waste management in Canada directly
produces about 3.5% of the nation's total greenhouse-gas
emissions, mainly from landfills. Recycling and composting
divert about 25% of solid waste from disposal, the
other 75% is disposed in landfill sites or burned in
incinerators. Both result in the release of methane and nitrous
oxide which are more potent than carbon dioxide in global warming.
|In the UK, the household and commercial sectors have
relatively low recycling rates in comparison to construction and
demolition waste and sewage sludge. UK targets to increase the
household waste recycling to 33% by 2015.
|10% of paper from household wastes is recycled; to
be contrasted with 50% of recycling from newspapers. To encourage
paper recycling, many councils offer house to house collection. Bins
and recycling depots for used paper collection are set up at various
municipal centers and supermarkets.
|For glass bottle recycling, there are over 20 000 bottle
banks in car parks and supermarkets for collection. Colors are
differentiated into clear, green and brown. Recycling rate is about
30% which is low compared to other European countries. Switzerland
and the Netherlands for example have recycling rates as high as 80%.
|Plastics make up a large amount of waste, since they are
so versatile in usage. Plastic waste can be sorted out preliminarily
at home or collection centers. The UK plastic recycling rate is only
3% compared to 70% in Germany.
|Iron and steel recycling from scrap vehicles and kitchen
wares is about 60%, aluminum can is about 1/3, whereas in the USA and
Australia, the recycle rate is2/3.
Recycling in Japan - the JCPRA Act
Encyclopedia of the Atmospheric Environment - Waste Recycling
IPCC AR4 Report on Mitigation of Climate
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