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How efficient are we at disposing of our waste?


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How efficient are we at disposing of our waste?

  1. 1. How Efficient Are We At Disposing Of Our Waste? You might not think it when you stick your rubbish bags out in the bin to be collected, but the process of waste disposal is complicated and involved. It’s not simply a case of transporting it to the nearest dump and being done with it. There are a number of ways we can dispose of our waste, whether it’s reused, put into a landfill or incinerated. We’re creating more and more waste each year, to the point where it’s becoming an issue of how we dispose of it in a way that is both cost efficient and environmentally friendly. Our current reliance on landfills isn’t sustainable so we do need to find new ways to dispose of our old rubbish. Of course, the most efficient way to dispose of old rubbish is by reusing it as much as possible. A glass milk bottle gets used on average 13 times before it is recycled, which saves the energy used both by creating glass from the raw materials and to a lesser but still
  2. 2. considerable extent, the energy used when recycling. But when it’s not possible to reuse the waste, the next most efficient use of it is to recycle it. One recycled tin can produce enough energy to run a television for three hours, whereas paper uses 70% less energy to recycle than it does when it is made from raw materials. So it is fundamental that we recycle our garbage as much as we can for a more efficient use. The problem with recycling though, is that we as a whole tend to be less responsible with it. 60% of the average household bin is recyclable and studies have shown that more people have said they would recycle if it was easier to do so. At the moment, the fact of the matter is that it’s still easier to throw things away than it is to wash, separate and recycle. If there isn’t an efficient collection service in your area, the task of recycling becomes a much greater one, which can make us all lazy in our habits. This is especially true for those who aren’t able to get to a recycling collection point, whether that’s due to age, disability or a lack of transport. But, even if we are all as dutiful with our recycling as we should be, there’s only so much of our rubbish that we can reuse. At some point,
  3. 3. we need to find a way to dispose of it, whether we’ve wrung it out and reused it a few times prior to this decision or not. The first and most obvious way of doing so is by putting our old waste into the ground in landfills. While this might not sound like the greenest option for waste disposal, landfills do have environmental strictures in place to help lighten the strain on the environment. They are all fully lined to help prevent any toxic and hazardous chemicals or waste from seeping into the ground and polluting it and at the end of each day, the waste is properly covered over so it’s no longer exposed and at risk of causing harm to the nature in the area, either by bits blowing away out of the landfill or by the wildlife coming into contact with it. So although this isn’t an ideal option, there are parameters in place to reduce their potential impact. However, the environmental concerns aside, landfills are by no means an efficient means of waste disposal. For starters, they require teams in place to control and oversee the area, with waste being dumped into them and covered over. The financial implications are much greater than this though. Land is an expensive commodity, especially in cities such as London, where it could be used for housing. Using it for waste disposal is incredibly uneconomical. It’s a finite source, and as we create more and more garbage, we are going to need to use more and more land to accommodate it. This isn’t sustainable. Consider that on top of all of this, when the waste is compressed, it creates and releases harmful greenhouse gases into the environment and the added concerns and implications that landfills have on our planet are increased yet more. As a means of waste disposal, landfills are just not efficient. This is where incinerating waste has the edge on landfills. If we burn the rubbish we make, there isn’t that need any longer of finding ground to put it into. Straight away, money is saved on this factor alone. Of course, this also comes with its problems. After all, in the past, incinerators created a huge amount of harmful emissions when they were burning waste, which in turn had an obvious impact on the environment that was equivalent to a huge amount of traffic pollution. However, these incinerators don’t necessarily reflect the current or future state of this type of waste disposal. More modern plants not only reduce the waste more efficiently, by up to 96%, but they can also be used as a means of turning excess waste into an energy source. By using modern incinerators, energy can be
  4. 4. recovered from the waste, either in the form of heat or electricity, or as fuel. If we were to rely more heavily on this as a means of waste disposal, it would not only make everything more efficient, it would also be another valuable energy source, which is important as we’re currently facing crises. It is a system that is currently widely relied upon in Europe as an alternative to using land for landfills. While all these issues of waste disposal have their issues, there are structures in place for each one of them to make them more efficient. What they all have in common is that they rely upon wire. In all these cases, galvanised wire is an essential commodity which helps make all these different systems possible. In each case, it is used to bundle the waste securely together into compressed bales that make it safer to carry, transport and ultimately dispose of. Without this wire to safely contain the waste as it is transported from location to location, we’d be looking at a very different system entirely, when these processes we rely on wouldn’t be possible. Of course, even with certain allowances in place, our current means of waste disposal just isn’t as efficient as it should be for the future. It is important we find new ways of diverting pressure off landfills and into other systems, whether that means waste recovery or putting a greater impetus on recycling and making the system more easy and accessible to everyone, to encourage more of us to do so. If you wish to find out more about the waste disposal process and wire’s involvement please see