The notion of garbage is isually applied to solid residues, but a lot of things considered garbage can be reused and recycled. Beyond creating work, recycling reduces the demand of material matter and energy, contributing to the decrease of sanitary landfills.
In this work , we are going to present whick kinds of garbage exist, where they go and which processes they are submitted to. Also the rule of the 3’Rs and explaning who the garbage workers are and what you can do to help the environment, reducing your ecological footprint.
Household waste Industrial waste Public waste Medical waste Nuclear waste Public waste Trash can be organized into different categories. In what refers to its chemical composition we have: - Organic residues and inorganic residues In what referes to his source we have the examples above.
Household Waste In this category are included leftovers, plastic, metal, glass, paper (packaging, cans, bottles, newspaper, magazines) etc. When improperly accumulated, organic waste can become highly polluters of soil, water and air. Besides that, the inadequate arrangement of waste creates an environment propitious to the development of pathogenic organisms.
The trash of these establishments and services is mostly composed by paper, plastics, various packaging and toilet residues both customers employees, like towels, toilet paper, etc.
Is originated from several shops and services like supermarkets, banking institutions, bars, restaurants, etc.
Results for public sanitation
cleaning , including all
residues of sweeping waste
of public roads, cleaning
of beaches, tunnels, landfills,
remaining of pruning trees, packaging, etc.
represented by ash, sludge, acid waste or
alkali, plastic, paper, wood, fiber, rubber,
metal , glass, ceramics, etc.
In this category is included the majority
considered toxic waste.
Is generated by the industry like metallurgical, chemical, petrochemical, paper, food, etc, and it can be highly prejudicial to the environment and to human health. The industrial waste is quite varied, as it can be
Construction and demolition waste
Is from industry construction
– construction, reconstruction
, alteration, maintenance and
demolition or collapse of
buildings, such as soil and
Medical waste Is the classification given to dangerous residues produced in hospitals, like syringes, aprons, etc. By containing harmful agents this kind of garbage is separated from the rest of the residues produced in hospitals (leftovers, etc), and it is generally incinerated. However, certain hospital supplies, like aprons that were into contact with electromagnetic rays of high energy like X rays, are classified in a different way (the apron is considered nuclear waste) and have a different treatment.
One fish asks to another: What is that, acupunture? And the other answers: No, is medical waste thrown in the river
Is composed by highly radioactive
products like rests of nuclear
fuel, hospital supplies that were
into contact with radioactivity,
is any material that was exposed
to radioactivity or has any degree
of it. Because those materials continue to emit radioactivity for a long time, they need to be totally confined and isolated from the rest of the world.
One of the consequences of throwing nuclear waste in the ocean is the increase of temperature. It disrupts the equilibrium of temperature in which live thousands of marine species.
Most of it remains in the open air, the remaining goes to landfills and incinerators. There is finally some remaining used for recycling.
Landfills sanitation are considered a practical solution and a relatively cheap final destination of urban and industrial waste.
After a landfill reaches its full capacity, these areas can be decontaminated and used for other purposes.
However, if is not properly sealed, it can become an agent of environmental pollution, due to the decomposition of inorganic waste.
The construction of landfill sanitation requires a previously installed water resistant, which disables the liquids from infiltrating the soil. The remaining fluids are then sent to a treatment facility in order not to damage the environment.
The same happens to biogas,
which can be used as energy
Its average lifespan is 10 years
Open Air Disposure
Open Air Disposure is a final destination of solid waste characterized by the inadequate placement of garbage on the ground, with no awareness for public safety of environmental protection whatsoever.
There is no control over
these places, household
waste is mixed with other
chemicals that make
this places an
“ environmental time bomb”.
This process reduces the garbage to ashes. In the past century this was a common practice and is extremely polluting, generating carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. It is used on the destruction of hospital waste because they contain harmful agents and virus contamination risk.
Composting is an aerobic treatment in which organic waste is transformed in fertilizer or any organic compound and is achieved trough the decomposition of solid waste into
a more stable material such as humus.
Advantages of composting:
-Lower number of materials in Landfills;
- Retains a high number of nutrients;
Recycling is the re-usage of general waste. It is considered the best destination of garbage, since
it reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills
sanitation and the need for further extraction of raw-materials. However, some of them cannot be
continually recycled (fibers in special).
Recycling of certain materials is very viable but it
is not commercially interesting. Toxic waste and
medical waste (such as syringes) cannot be
recycled, so they need to be eliminated or confined.
After being collected and separated, they are bought by the industries at fairly low prices where they are used again for new products.
Rule of the 3 R’s
The rule of the 3 R’s means Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Reducing and reusing will avoid that a larger amount of products turn into garbage. Recycling will help the preservation of natural resources, beside reducing the volume of garbage.
a) Shards of glass are used in manufacturing of new glass, which allows energy savings.
b) The reuse of plastic helps saving oil, therefore, saving money.
c) Recycling paper, beside saving, means less tree cut down
Reducing our household waste
implies reducing the consumption
of everything that isn’t truly
necessary. This means rejecting
products with plastic packages,
preferring the paper ones, and
those that are recyclable and do not pollute the environment and waste less energy.
It means using a product several ways.
a) Reusing plastic or glass deposits for others destinations, like gardening, toys making
b) Reusing envelopes, placing stickers of the sender’s and the recipient’s address
c) Reusing paper shifts leaves for drafts and notes
This isn’t reusing, much less reducing !
Recycling is the best way of dealing
with garbage in order to reduce and
reuse it. This process consists of
making new things from old ones.
Recycling reduces the volume of garbage, which contributes to reduction of the pollution and contamination, as well as in the recovery of the natural environment, as saving the material matter and the energy used to manufacture other products.
Each one represents one group of people that are essential for making sure that recycling happens. The first arrow represents the producers , the companies that make the product. The second arrow represents the consumer , the people that buy the product. After being used, the product can be recycled. The third arrow represents the recycling companies that collect the recyclable products and throw the market, sell again the used product so the producer transforms it into a new product.
Three arrows compose the Recycling symbol
Recycling does not hurt. It helps the environment !
Who are the garbage workers ?
I’m sure you have already thought how unpleasant leading with trash is. And also have thought how garbage workers ‘can’ work all day smelling the unpleasant odors of garbage accumulated in the trucks. Yeah, it isn’t really easy. Therefore, we must recognize the important role of these people that clean the city. And how they make your own life much easier. Imagine if each one of us had to take our garbage to a safe place and away of our eyes every day.
Your responsibility about garbage doesn’t end up packing it in plastic bags and placing it at your doorway to be taken to somewhere” (the destination of garbage).
Garbage must be packed properly to offer:
- Safety ( do not throw aside on dump
what you consider as dangerous or toxic)
- Resistance against sharp objects
- Easy of handling by the user and the collection team
On the contrary , it can cause accidents to employees, making the service slower and consequently more expensive (due to the necessity of joining the garbage shed and increasing the time of collection, thus spending more fuel), or it can cause malfunction on the equipment (objects that may enter the engine or corrosive substances).
People that live on collecting garbage from large and small cities rend one of the most important services to the society. They help recycling materials, which have a recognized environmental value. But the same society which benefits from this kind of work still does not give these workers due recognition.
The first barrier to overcome is undoubtedly, prejudice.
And it starts in the moment when it is denied to these people the status of workers. For many people those are simply ‘unemployed’ that in situation of poverty, collect garbage for living. Actually, these people are inserted, like any worker, on the productive sector of the economy.
What exists is the overexploitation
of those people work. In others
words, there is a strong mismatch
between the importance of the
service they rend and the income
they derive of that function. What
is certain is that these workers rend a service that is
useful to all, and their demands for better conditions at
work need to be heard.
The Table on the Left represents some of the most man made products used in our daily lives and the time it takes for a full process of decomposition to occur .
*Open Air Conditions **Linked to Soil Conditions Decomposition Material Decomposition Time* (Years) Steel 10 to 100 Aluminium Can 80-250 Ceramics Indetermined** Bubble Gum 5 Nylon Strings 30 to 40 Sponges Indetermined** Cigarrete Filters 1 to 5 years Isopor Indetermined** Wood 0.5 Rubber Indetermined** Paper and related 0.25 to 0.5 Plastic 450 Organic Waste 0.5 to 1 Glass Bottle Over 1000000 Tissues 0.5 to 1 Diapers Leather Orange or Banana Peel Over 450 500 2-5 weeks
Changing our lifestyle
So the real change and the truly efficient
solutions will only take effect if we take actions
by our own means.
The small changes we take if applied to a large
number of people can become a recognized.
The real problem is to show how your actions contribute.
People need to know how their actions are going to contribute to the
cause because it is easy for those who listen and care about these
issues to understand those changes.
You need the right means to get the message through and the right way to get people to strive for change.
What is the Ecological Footprint?
The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth's ecosystems . It compares human demand with planet Earth 's ecological capacity to regenerate. It represents the amount of biologically productive land and sea area needed to regenerate the resources a human population consumes and to absorb and render harmless the corresponding waste. Knowing that the Earth’s Regeneration capacity is about 15.7 acres per capita, it is possible to estimate how much of the Earth (or how many planet Earths) it would take to support humanity if everybody lived a given lifestyle.
The graphics on the left represent the estimated values of the group’s Ecological Footprint and the resources need to sustain our lifestyle compared to the average Portuguese citizen.
Use cleaner transports
Walk, ride a bike, or take public transit
Avoid allowing your car to idle. If you'll be
waiting for more than 30 seconds, turn off the
engine (except in traffic). And don't take the
drive-through-park the car and walk inside instead.
Have your vehicle serviced regularly to keep the emission control systems operating at peak efficiency. Check your car's air filter monthly, and keep the tires adequately inflated to maximize gas mileage.
Avoid short airplane trips,take a bus or train instead.
Install compact fluorescent bulbs in all your
home light fixtures-but remember, compact
fluorescents contain mercury, so look for
low-mercury models and be sure to dispose of
old bulbs safely through your local hazardous
Insulate your water heater. Even better, switch to a tankless water heater, so your water will be heated only as you use it.
Choose energy efficient appliances.
Add energy-saving features to your home
Adopt energy-saving habits
Keep your thermostat relatively low in winter and ease up on the air conditioning in summer. Clean or replace dirty air conditioner filters as recommended to keep the A/C operating at peak efficiency.
Unplug your electronics appliances when
not in use.
Dry your clothes outside whenever possible.
Make minimal use of power equipment when landscaping.
Defrost your refrigerator and freezer regularly.
Choose green electricity. Many utilities give you the option to purchase electricity generated by wind and solar power for a small rate surcharge.
Reduce your Food Footprint
Eat more local, organic, in-season foods.
Plant a garden.
Shop at your local farmer's market or
bio-organic foods store.
Choose foods with less packaging to
Eat lower on the food chain-going
meatless for just
One meal a week can make a difference. Globally, it has been estimated that 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions are associated with meat consumption.
Adopt water-saving habits
Take shorter, less frequent showers-this not only saves water, but the energy necessary to heat it.
Run the dishwasher and the laundry machine only when full.
Wash cars rarely, or better yet, take them to a carwash.
Commercial carwashes use less water
per wash than home washers, and they
are also required to drain used water
into the sewage system, rather than storm
drains, which protects aquatic life.
Avoid power-washing your deck, walkways
Regularly look for and fix leaks.
Reduce your Goods and Services Footprint
Buy less! Replace items only when you really need to.
Recycle all your paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic. Don't forget electronics!
Compost food waste for the garden. Garbage that is not contaminated with degradable (biological) waste can be more easily recycled and sorted, and doesn't produce methane gases (a significant greenhouse gas contributor) when stored in a landfill.
Buy recycled products,
particularly those labeled
Conclusion After knowing where the things we throw away go, and what processes they suffer, it is possible to affirm that the elimination and treatment of our garbage is one of the most contributing factors for the pollution of the atmosphere, and sometimes (several times),water and soil pollution, when inadequately thrown away. Also after knowing a little bit more about the garbage workers, we think we need to be more respectful to them, once that they rend a dirty function, which the only goal is to serve society, cleaning her garbage and keeping it away from our door. Daily dealing with dirtiness and bad smells.
Changing our lifestyle is a goal to achieve. Not only you, but a huge amount of people. If you can start, others can start too. We gave you a little list of choices that will help the environment, and yourself.
Please change, it is up to you to make this place a better place, if you don’t do it then no one will, never say can’t, never rely on politics or promises, take your action before it’s to late, and most importantly, never give up the cause, never surrender, for a better future and for a better world.