It’s now clear that solid waste management in urban areas is a big problem that needs innovative solutions. Most urban authorities don’t seem to have a comprehensive solution for the problem. It’s expensive, complicated and also characterized with decades of poor planning and mismanagement.
Without dwelling on the reasons that got us where we are today, its’s now time to identify some comprehensive solutions to urban waste management. As we go about this, it’s also important to appreciate the impact on the climate and our ecosystems. Here are some five practical solutions to solid waste management thatwill work well going forward.
Solution 1- Recycling Waste
Many experts concur that recycling is by the best way to manage our solid waste in urban areas. With recycling, we can turn our trash into treasure and get rid of the landfills at the same time. Recycling might be more expensive than landfills and incinerators but is more sustainable.
It’s only through recycling that governments can get private entities interested in the management of waste at a higher level than we’ve seen before. The ability to create new products and hence new streams of income will always get private sector innovators interested regardless of the cost. Indeed, we’ve seen great examples of uco industries that have come on board to create new products from solid waste.
Solution 2-Using Renewable Models
The biggest contributor to the solid problem is the use of non-renewable solutions. The use of fossil fuels that create plastics and other toxic chemicals need to be put under scrutiny. We need to move away from non -renewable models and adopt greener and more sustainable models at a much higher level.
We’ve already seen big steps being taken across the world to address this problem. In a bid to reduce our over-reliance on fossil fuels, countries and companies are adopting green, renewable energy solutions such as wind, geothermal, biofuels and much more. Renewable models and solid waste management are tied at the hip. Decrease one and the other becomes easier to solve.
Solution 3-Reducing the Use Toxins on Common Items
To make it easier for municipalities and private recyclers, we need to cut down on the use of toxins on FMCGs. Believe it or not but most, if not all, of the fast-moving consumer goods produced out there contain toxic chemicals. They may not be a problem on an individual basis but combine a million products in a landfill and you have a big problem.
It is time for governments and regulators to be stricter in monitoring the kind of chemicals used in FMCGs. It has been common for decades for huge companies to cheat regulators that they are not using toxic chemicals in such items. Some also bribe corrupt officials who turn a blind eye on the real composition of the manufacturers’ production process. This needs to be stopped since toxic is much more expensive to manage.
Solution 4- Less Packaging
Almost sixty percent or more of the solid waste we have today consists of packaging materials. A good way to reduce the solid waste in our cities is, therefore, cutting down on packaging from the manufacturer to the consumers. How do we do this? By encouraging bulk packaging and purchasing of common items where possible. We can also encourage producers to use recyclable packaging materials.
Solution 5-The Three Rs Of Waste Management
“Reduce, Recycle and Recycle; we need to bring the three Rs of waste management to a larger audience. We can greatly reduce our solid waste by encouraging individuals to use the three Rs in their daily lives.
- Reuse- Not every time you use need to be disposed of immediately. Use it until you can’t use it anymore.
- Reduce- Cut down on the things you use every day.
- Recycle- Try to recycle at and individual level or organize your trash in a way that will make it easier for recyclers when they collect.
It’s obvious that more effort and research needs to go into the management of solid waste going forward Just like ignoring a disease in the hope that it will go away, creating more landfills just won’t cut it going forward.