That being said, recycling and renewable energy have certainly taken us to new heights, with consumers doing their best to practise sustainability in their day-to-day lives. Yet the climate crisis appears to not be letting up anytime soon. Perhaps this is because recycling campaigns, for the most part, have targeted consumers and not businesses.
In fact, nearly 55% of all plastic waste comes from just 22 companies. And to make matters worse, waste often ends up in developing countries with inefficient waste management systems, exacerbating the pollution problem further.
So, what are the effects of inefficient waste management and why is waste management so important?
What is waste management?
You’ve probably heard the term ‘waste management’ being discussed on the news or thrown about in conversation with friends. But no one said it was an easy concept to wrap your head around. If you google ‘waste management definition’, thousands of results pop up. Reading through every single one seems like an impossible task. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Simply put, waste management refers to the activities taken to handle and dispose of waste from its collection to final disposal. It’s safe to say that waste is inevitable for most businesses. Whether it’s packaging materials, leftover food or old stock, every businesses’ bins get full at the end of the day. That’s why it’s good to have an effective system in place to manage waste. If businesses don’t, we will continue to be plagued by waste.
There are lots of different ways to manage waste. Some, of course, are better than others. Here are some of the most common ways to handle waste:
- Animal feeding
What are examples of inefficient waste management?
Hopefully, you’ve now come to grips with what this term means. Let’s take a look at some examples of inefficient waste management.
Improper waste disposal refers to any activity that will have adverse effects on the environment. This could be anything as simple as littering and failing to recycle materials that can and should be recycled to something a little more extreme, such as dumping hazardous waste in the ground.
What are the negative consequences of poor waste management?
Inefficient waste management can have a pretty big impact on almost everything- the environment, humans, animals, even your business’ reputation. Here are some of the negative effects.
Increased greenhouse gases
We all know how much of an impact that lorries and trucks have on our planet. In the EU alone, large vehicles account for more than a quarter of CO2 emissions from road transport. If waste disposal companies are unable to track down bins or have to travel out on another day to collect your waste, this will increase the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air.
What’s more, this means more fuel will be consumed. Now more than ever, the value of fuel, a non-renewable resource, has never been more apparent. The amount of fuel available to us is slowly depleting, which means we need to consume less non-renewable energy where possible. If we don’t, the climate crisis will continue to grow worse and really get out of hand.
Soil and water contamination
Hazardous waste that is sent to landfills can contaminate the surrounding soil and water. This results in a toxic soup known as leachate, which contains various harmful chemicals that can negatively affect a person’s health. Plus, leachate can mix with rainwater to create a solution that can contaminate other bodies of water.
14% of global plastic pollution is the result of plastic contamination of soil. Studies show that this could potentially pose a major threat to aquifers and drinking water supplies if not handled correctly. It’s easy to see why environmentalists are advocating for every business to have a proper waste management system in place. That way, we can reduce the risk of contamination.
More recyclables go to landfill
Pretty good materials, such as plastic, paper and metal often end up in landfills when they could be recovered or reused for another purpose instead. Recovering valuable materials such as these will help reduce the amount that is sent to landfill and negate the harmful impact of producing virgin plastics.
Landfills are a real problem when it comes to pollution. When waste is put in landfills, it is compacted down and covered, removing the oxygen. This leads to the release of carbon dioxide and methane. The latter of the two is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
That’s why it is important that we recycle and reuse valuable materials where we can – especially if we want a fighting chance at success against the climate crisis.
How can your business make a difference?
Recycling your plastic waste and investing in sustainable packaging materials is the answer! At Typer Packaging, we’re all about creating a circular economy. We design and produce a range of compostable pouches, which are more beneficial to the environment compared to mixed plastics. This is because compostable materials are 100% environmentally-friendly, breaking down fairly quickly without releasing any harmful chemicals into the environment. Not to mention, they help to reduce the reliance on landfills and promote biodiversity.
Proper waste management is also important when it comes to disposing of compostable packaging. Don’t just throw compostable materials in general waste as your business (and the environment) will not reap any benefits. Any compostable packaging should be put in a compost bin, which is the optimum environment for them to begin breaking down. To dispose of compost waste, simply place it in garden soil. Read our blog to learn more about why compostable packaging is so important.