How Much Waste Produced Each Year in the World?

waste in worldAccording to a report published last year, global waste volume generation increased from 20,955.5 to 22,072.1 million tons between 2015 and 2016. The estimations on the report indicate that industrial waste takes up the biggest percentage of the overall waste generation, with about 15,790 million tons. The others include municipal solid waste, construction and demolition, and waste electrical/electronic equipment. The Asia-Pacific and Europe produced the highest volume of industrial waste followed by United Sates, Middle East, and Africa.

The increasing rate of waste generation is influenced by high economic development, high level of industrialization, public habits, and climatic conditions. Basically, if the economic development and urbanization continue to increase, more volume of waste will be produced. The income level and urbanization are much correlated, meaning that the increase in living standards and disposable incomes, more goods will be consumed. So, high consumption of goods leads to the high generation of waste. The report shows that urban residents produced twice as much as the rural residents.

Two Main Sources of Waste

Industrial waste

waste in the worldThis is waste generated during energy, chemical, agriculture, or metallurgy productions. Industrial manufacture of rubber, petrochemicals, plastic, and pharmaceuticals generate huge wastes. Also, industries producing fabricated metal, ferrous and non-ferrous materials release waste. Other waste sources include the cement industries, textile, and pulp & paper factories. Even the manufacturers of tobacco, food & beverages and health products usually produce a significant amount of waste.

Municipal solid waste

This is the waste generated in urban areas including commercial and residential settings. Most of the solid waste from these areas includes food materials from restaurants, hotels, food cafes, and residential areas among others. However, the hazardous waste is not included in the municipal solid waste as it is handled differently before reaching the landfills or dumpsites.

Domestic Waste Management

Domestic waste management is an important issue for every urban area. The absence of a functional waste disposal system poses risks of disease to the residents of a city, which may have negative economic impacts over time. There are various ways through which domestic waste can be managed. These include; use of landfills, incineration, recycling, and use of garbage disposals.

Landfill waste disposal

Using a modern landfill is more efficient compared to a simple dumpsite. Landfills allow a controlled fashion of handling waste materials, and therefore the quality of groundwater and soil is preserved. Lighter waste materials are put in the bottom because the majority of them contain toxic chemical compounds. Every time new waste is added to the landfill, a layer of soil is applied to cover the waste. The idea is backed up by hopes that the waste will break down before the barrier between the groundwater and the landfill breaks. For the sanitary landfill to stay ‘healthy’, the wastewater should be treated and toxic gases recovered. However, sanitary landfills have a drawback – it consumes a huge piece of land, as well as damaging the ecological balance.

Incineration waste disposal

waste typesIncineration is usually used where there is a limited space to construct a landfill. Even areas where land is highly valuable (prime land) to build a landfill, incinerators are seen as the better alternatives to dispose solid wastes. It helps in reducing the bulkiness of waste, but it does not eliminate the waste entirely. For instance, toxic heavy metals cannot be eliminated completely through burning, as the ash containing traces of heavy metals will be left all over the environment.

Material-recovery

This is basically recycling to a new level where the waste is sorted by material and reprocessed. The project is typically daunting and expensive, but nowadays there is an advanced technology to help in sorting the waste. For instance, many developed countries are using automated robots to sort the waste without direct human involvement. The recovered materials are sold while others are reprocessed to make new products. This keeps the system running sustainably and economically beneficial to the government.

Garbage disposals

Garbage disposals are domestic appliances used for disposing of waste food materials. They grind the waste and then water is added to flash the materials down into the drain pipes. There are two basic types of garbage disposals; continuous feed and batch feed. Continuous feed models are easy and simple to use. Once the switch is turned over, you can comfortably start cleaning the dishes as the waste drops down into the disposal. It is important to note that, this type of disposal can cause injuries if you insert fingers while it is running.

On the other hand, batch feed disposal is designed to counter the limitation of the continuous feed model. It can only work if the magnetic lid cover is put on, and thus eliminating the potential injuries if someone inserts fingers to remove something that dropped accidentally.

In conclusion, the enormous waste generation globally is a critical concern. As much as technology and innovations are being identified to address the issue, homeowners with garbage disposals can play a major role to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills. More importantly, the liquid waste generated by the garbage disposal is transported to sewage treatment plants where it can be processed to produce methane and organic fertilizers.

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