Putting waste to work

Recently, Middlesex County, New Jersey took steps towards establishing a facility to convert food waste into fertilizer.

This is yet another example of the growing push for communities across the country to become more and more involved in recycling, conservation, and responsible waste management.

Communities and businesses are continually realizing the effect that they can have on the environment by taking a look at how they can put their solid waste to work.

Understanding recycling

More than ever, recycling has become much more than a good thing to do – it has become clear that it is something that must be done.

Facilities like the one in New Jersey will undoubtedly be established across the country – offering businesses more opportunities than ever to be a positive force on the environment, at no cost.

The bulk of fertilizer is composed of recycled paper and food. How many businesses produce solid food and paper waste? And how much of that waste is wasted?

Businesses can avoid spending too much money to have their waste simply sit in a landfill. They can put their waste to work and benefit at the same time by allowing us to help them find industries who can use their waste.

Just as new opportunities are becoming available to more effectively manage solid waste, we are constantly keeping a finger on the pulse of the waste industry. Our affiliates are provided with all of the expertise needed to remain an authority on waste management, allowing them to be both a resource for their clients as well as the greater community.

It has never been easier and it has never been more necessary. Affiliates break down the barrier between businesses and efficient waste management. The result? Savings for the client, profit for the affiliate, and a better environment for everyone else.

Profit in Waste

Wherever we get our news, it’s not a stretch to say that we read, hear, and see just about the same thing every day.

The pandemic, the economy, and the environment are perhaps the top three issues that we are continually bombarded with. However, the environment is one issue that we can have a hand in resolving, and it’s not hard.

Every day, businesses across the country (and the world) are becoming aware of the actual possibilities that can be found in waste.

Businesses are realizing that the waste they produce doesn’t have to be waste. In fact, it can be gain. Businesses can put their waste to work in industries that have sprouted across the country to get a handle on the problems that face our environment.

Take for instance the continued growth of the Bio-fuel industry.

Bio-fuel producers across the country take advantage of various waste streams in order to produce environmentally friendly fuel.

While helping the environment is great, the businesses that contribute waste also benefit by more effectively managing their waste and even profiting from it.

This is what we offer our clients – the knowledge, experience, and motivation to find the outlets our clients need to realize tremendous savings on waste management.

By scrutinizing waste streams and exploring the possibilities for disposal alternatives, waste management companies are capable of offering businesses the options that they never knew they had, while earning an attractive residual income in the process.

The dumpster rental service offer is one that businesses are eager to take advantage of. Additionally, given that the cost for businesses is essentially nothing, affiliates won’t have a hard time finding clients.

Waste Management and Greenhouse Gases

In addition to the CO2 issue, other incineration byproducts involved in the waste treatment material balance show the porosity of the border between disposal and recovery. This is the case with clinkers: recovered in the form of road underlayers, saving the use of aggregates, they allow a positive balance to be drawn in the chain between incoming waste and recoverable by-products.

Considered waste from waste treatment, to which are added the residues from the purification of smoke from the incineration of household waste, the balance of waste produced and waste created is then, if not reversed, at least reduced. Through these struggles for definition between elimination and recovery, it is the boundaries of the concept of waste that are at stake.

Added to this is the question of risks and different forms of pollution: atmospheric emissions, of which dioxins are the best known, but also the substances contained in bottom ash and in household waste from the incineration of household waste incinerations which must be treated specific (burial in class 1 storage centers). The fear of the dilution of pollutants in the environment and in the human body refers to another form of the border of waste: incineration is akin to a machine for transforming harmless and circumscribed garbage into particularly harmful waste because of their toxicity and their spread.

Apprehended as a link in the global waste management chain, incineration is denounced on the grounds that it contradicts the stated objectives of reducing production, which in fact condemns the establishment of a system prioritizing material recovery. Combustion, in addition to being a waste of raw materials, would doom any hope of advanced material recovery and reduction at source: by investing in expensive equipment, communities are committed to providing the waste necessary for operation and the profitability of the equipment.

Also, it is by providing a solution that this technique would prevent the debate of the problem and its management upstream. It is the use of a solution that brings closure to the debate, which would hinder the establishment of an integrated policy characterized by taking charge of the problem in its entirety and in a hierarchical manner.

This dissonance regarding the status of the solution is reflected in the preferences and expectations in terms of equipment configuration on both sides of the actors involved. Treatment based on high technicality, in this case incinerators, induces for reasons of economic profitability, technical and environmental reliability, large equipment serving a large area.

On the other hand, the associations engaged against such projects display a preference for equipment offering access and reversibility criteria. Small reversible landfills or temporary landfills, even if it means multiplying them is one way to do it. In addition to the possibilities of surveillance and spatial equity, it is a question of keeping open the waste problem, condition of taking into account the upstream production and the search for alternative solutions, considering that proximity allows to maintain a societal awareness of waste.
Localized development, by combining technical and territorial integration objectives, does not meet the expectations of its promoters in terms of social acceptance. The arguments advanced against this process are based on a broader understanding of the question of waste, placed beyond local benefits and impacts.

This argumentative construction, which is part of a generalization mechanism, is also part of a strategy to circumvent the NIMBY disqualification which threatens opponents of cremation. Energy recovery, however considered as a factor of acceptance, is perceived as a greening operation of a technique criticized for its perverse effects in terms of waste management, and its health and environmental risks.

The Waste Management Crisis

Some figures show the world will soon collapse under garbage.

Terrifying! 70% more waste in 30 years: this is the warning cry launched by the World Bank in its latest report. This increase is all the more alarming as it will largely occur in developing countries, where waste is often poorly taken care of and a great source of pollution. Below are some numbers to understand everything about the upcoming garbage crisis.

Packaging, expired food, old clothes and obsolete appliances … The more we consume, the more waste we generate. This is not without consequences for our health and the environment, because if these billions of tonnes of garbage are relatively well managed in rich countries, they most often end up in open dumps in countries that do not have the capacity to collect and process them. The World Bank is appealing to respond.

3.4 billion tonnes of waste per year are expectd in 2050. The annual production of municipal waste (household waste and other waste taken in charge by a town or a local authority) already exceeds 2 billion tonnes per year. Due to rapid urbanization, rising living standards and population growth, this volume is likely to increase by 70% to 3.4 billion tonnes in 2050, according to the World Bank. In sub-Saharan Africa, countries will even have to face a tripling of the mass of waste, with more than 516 million tonnes compared to 174 today. A disaster, especially since these countries have little infrastructure to manage this influx.

0.74 kg of waste per day for each inhabitant of the planet, it is possible? Each inhabitant produces on average 0.74 kg of waste per day. A figure that hides wide disparities, from 0.11 kg in Lesotho to 4.50 kg in the Bermuda. These differences are strongly linked to the level of development: the higher the standard of living, the more the population consumes prepared products, generating more packaging to throw away. Although they represent only 16% of the world’s population, developed countries generate 34% of the world’s waste. This production is also progressing with urbanization.

Food or plant waste represents the largest part (44%) of the total volume. Plastic comes second, with 17% of the volume of waste. Again, large disparities can be observed depending on the level of development. Low-income countries produce more food waste, while developed countries produce more dry waste (plastic, paper, metal, or glass), mainly from industry and consumer products.

39% of the waste is collected in developing countries. In developed countries, it is usual to see the garbage truck passing several times a week outside your home. Alas, this is far from being a generality elsewhere in the world. Barely 39% of the waste is collected in low-income countries. Very often, they are burned at the back of a house or thrown into the street by households, which leads to traffic problems in cities and promotes the spread of disease.

19% of the waste is recycled or composted. Today, the vast majority of municipal waste is landfilled: 37% is buried and 33% is left in the open. Barely 19% is recycled or composted and 11% is incinerated. Recycling is still a prerogative of the rich countries: in low-income countries, it only concerns 4% of waste, the overwhelming majority (93%) ending up in open-air dumps more or less well managed, with sometimes a leakage of toxic compounds into the soil, dangerously harmful to the environment and human health.

The collection and treatment of waste generates 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon equivalent per year, or 5% of total greenhouse gas emissions. If nothing is done, this figure could reach 2.6 billion tonnes in 2050, further aggravating global warming, essentially warns the World Bank. These emissions come mainly from the methane released by the decomposition of garbage in landfills. A waste all the more revolting that this methane could be recovered as an energy resource for heating buildings.

Between 100 and 1,000 years, this is the lifespan of a plastic bottle in nature. Plastic represents only 12% of municipal waste, but it has a particularly long lifespan. While plant waste disappears in a few days or weeks, a plastic bottle takes between 100 and 1,000 years to degrade. In addition, plastic bags can suffocate animals if ingested, microplastic particles contaminate the oceans and marine organisms. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans in 2050 if no action is taken.

Waste management tales up to one fifth of the municipal budget. If so much waste is still abandoned, it is because its management represents a high cost for municipalities: up to 20% of their total budget in developing countries (against 4% for cities in rich countries). Consequently, cities with few resources often turn to the least expensive solution, in this case, simple landfill. In addition, it is a sector highly subject to corruption, where funding is often diverted for other purposes.

15 million people live on waste. The informal market for garbage employs 15 million people. It is often the poorest and most vulnerable populations (women, children, immigrants …) who collect, sort and resell the garbage in exchange for some small change. These workers feed, in some cases, a real local economy which deprives children of education and exposes them to dangerous products and diseases.

There is 18 times more industrial waste than household waste. Households are not by far the primary source of waste. The industry thus generates 18 times more, or 12.7 kg of waste per day and per inhabitant. This non-hazardous waste (scrap, paper-cardboard, glass, textile, wood, plastic …) can be recovered, for example as a fuel to replace petroleum. The problem comes mainly from hazardous waste (materials containing asbestos, medical waste, devices containing PCBs and PCTs, etc.), which are particularly difficult to treat and which have a high level of toxicity for the environment. Agriculture is also a major producer of waste, but it is often organic waste that is collected separately and can be reused as fertilizer or for animal feed.