Waste management is the set of activities necessary for the treatment of waste, from its generation to its disposal or reuse. This includes the collection of waste, its transportation, the management of those that are especially dangerous, the recycling of usable materials…
Over time, waste management has become very important for ecological and economic reasons. From the earliest times, when waste management was based on transporting it to a remote place and using incineration as a method of destruction, we have gone through a whole recycling process. In addition, awareness of waste generation has been improved, which has influenced the design of products, and their consumption, to generate less waste.
On the other hand, laws with the aim of generating less waste, such as charging for plastic bags, or plans to ban that plastic in 2021 in the European Union, have radically changed waste management. In this way, the current objectives of waste management are:
- Minimize their generation as much as possible.
- Reuse the materials of these residues to the maximum, through recycling.
- Awareness and education on waste management.
- Improve the scope of comprehensive waste management so that it reaches everywhere.
- Use treatment and disposal methods that allow energy recovery and fuel creation. Two examples of meeting these targets are Sweden and Norway, which become importers of waste to generate energy.
- Maximize the reuse of waste for compost and fertilization tasks.
- Promote new disposal technologies, more ecological and less harmful than traditional methods, such as incineration.
Among these objectives, the most important are to prevent the generation of waste and minimize it when it occurs. Next, we would find the ones to reuse and recycle to the maximum to save materials, generate energy and fertilizer. Finally, it would be to dispose of non-recycled waste in the least harmful way possible.
As we can see, these objectives connect with the concept of Circular Economy, which is so important today.