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WHAT IS WASTE?

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Introduction

WHAT IS WASTE: A true, yet very simple definition of waste is something we don't want and throw away. Waste is an inevitable by-product of our use of natural resources. Waste is split into three categories of household (12%), industrial (78%) and commercial (10%) collectively referred to as "Controlled Waste". Certain wastes are classified as "Hazardous Waste" a very broad term for a wide range of substances that present different levels of risk. Some present a serious and immediate threat to the population and the environment, for example those which are toxic, could cause cancer or infectious disease. About three quarters of the UK's municipal solid waste is disposed of directly to landfill. Reuse and recycling (including composting) account for a further 13% of municipal solid waste. The remainder is pre-treated, mostly by incineration (approximately 9% of municipal solid waste). The remaining 1% is pre-treated using a variety of new or specialist methods which include gasification/pyrolysis; mechanical biological treatment (MBT); and anaerobic digestion. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS FOR CONSIDERATION: Waste management is a very large scale activity which inevitably has consequences for Human Health and the Environment. ...read more.

Middle

The possible Environmental Effects of waste management operations have been investigated in several ways: � Monitoring levels of pollutants emitted from landfill sites in communities located near to landfill sites, where this is not already carried out as part of regulatory monitoring; � Studying how much particulate matter, micro-organisms, organic chemicals and methane is released from composting of municipal solid waste; � Measuring emissions of micro-organisms and fungal spores from all forms of municipal solid waste management; � Looking at what and how much is emitted to air, to sewer and in solid residues from processes which are not yet widely applied to municipal solid waste in this country - mechanical biological treatment, and anaerobic digestion. The available research includes reports from theEnvironment Agency, the UK Government, a recent study by the Irish Government, and work by the American Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Greenpeace, and other organisations. These reviews discuss and draw together the conclusions of other studies but don't usually put numbers on possible health effects or put the conclusions into context Substances Of Concern Carbon Dioxide Dioxins and Furans Hydrogen Chloride Hydrogen Fluoride Individual volatile organic compounds: ...read more.

Conclusion

National, regional or local? _ Which waste streams will be included in the plan? Total waste, municipal waste, hazardous waste, packaging waste, other? _ Which sectors will be included in the plan? _ What is the time horizon of the plan? e.g. 3, 5 or 10 years? 4. Have the participants in the planning process been identified? Do they include government departments, local authorities, waste experts, representatives from the waste management sector and the waste generating industry, and NGOs? 5. Has the time schedule for preparation of the waste management plan been set? Time estimates for the work should be realistic. 6. Have any relationships between the waste management plan and other plans (e.g. spatial planning, energy planning, etc.) been identified? Do they influence elements in the waste management plan? CONCLUSION "The ideal is to produce no waste at all! But every one of us can reduce the amount we produce and re-use as much as possible of what's left What we can't re-use, we must try to recover by recycling or composting. When recycling or composting proves impossible, we should consider burning the waste to produce energy. Only as a last resort should we ever think of burying it." ...read more.

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