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Waste management

After the Industrial Revolution took place, our world started growing and evolving at an exponential rate. Our life started evolving and growing. Growth in every aspect, accelerated at a very high pace. The advancements and ingenious innovations in the field of science and technology has made our lives very much easier. However, every benefit comes with a cost. Due to profit maximizing and selfish nature of humans, we became ignorant towards the deadly consequences of our actions. We did not consider the fact that such high rates of urbanization taking place would create more and more waste material. This buildup of waste material can cause the quality of urban life to deteriorate. The standards of sanitation can also worsen due to piling up of waste. Terri Swearingen an award winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize said”,

“We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.”

Only pursuing self-interest and neglecting the environmental damages to society could prove to be fatal for the humanity as Dr. Guy McPherson said”,

“If you really think economy is more important than the environment, try holding your breath whilst you count on your money.”

Waste Management refers to the actions and tasks required to manage all types of waste material. It involves several steps that include collection of waste, its treatment, transport and finally its disposal while carefully monitoring the whole process to avoid any violations of regulatory policies. Waste has different methods of treatments according to what state of matter it is. It can be liquid, gaseous or in solid form. Throughout different areas of the world, the waste management techniques and practices are not entirely the same. The most common waste disposal/management strategies include the Basic Waste Hierarchy, set by the European Union Waste Framework. The Waste Hierarchy is the linchpin of majority of the waste reduction schemes. It comprises of the 3 R’s:

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• Reduce; involves the minimization of waste production.

• Reuse; making sure, the products have a long life cycle.

• Recycle; utilizing the waste in production of new materials.

There are some more steps involved as well, but the above-mentioned are the most important ones. After recycling of the waste, energy recovered from it by burning it is further utilized in other processes. Then it is carefully disposed in landfills either temporarily or permanently.

Global Status

In China, the waste disposal through landfills replaced by the waste incineration methods due to development and urbanization. Waste incineration is a more environment friendly method of treating the waste material and China has switched from old landfill method to the incineration method, which conserves and protects our environment. It also promotes economic growth and several industrial opportunities (Li et al., 2015)

(Tencati et al., 2016) Observing some emerging trends regarding the packaging waste in various countries showed that although it raised a lot of awareness by making firms more accountable for their actions but still this study was not successful in covering all the policies that are adopted worldwide. The mainstream interventions have a significant role but they are insufficient to solve the sustainability challenge.

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