Utilising untapped potential through waste management

The challenge
All over the world, we see waste in places where it does not belong. Islands of plastic floating around our oceans causing serious harm to marine life and mountains of garbage near cities that pollutes the air and ground. The negative impact of untreated waste on the environment is a challenge we cannot afford to neglect as the future wellbeing of our planet require us to take immediate action.

 

 

The future
Not only does untreated waste scattered across our globe pose a major threat to our environment, it also represents an unexploited source of useable material that potentially can reduce the need for virgin raw materials significantly. Efficient waste management addresses several global issues, including sanitation, climate action, sustainable cities and communities as well as responsible consumption and production. Consequently, it requires a substantial focus from the global community and decision makers.

Explore associated sectors

Global population growth will increase the strain on the planet’s resources as demand for commercial goods, among many other things, will increase. As consumption increases, so does the production of waste, which further underlines the necessity of creating the right strategies for managing waste in the most optimal way to increase utilisation of the resource potential that waste carries.

Efficient utilisation of waste requires collecting, sorting and treatment processes to be carried out in the right way, and waste management entails identifying the complimentary potential of these processes. Certain conditions must be in place to enable citizens and businesses to contribute to an efficient waste system, and policy makers bear a large part of the responsibility. However, public and private actors alike must also do their part if waste streams are to be exploited fully. This economic potential cannot be neglected and should serve as the driver that ultimately relieves our planet of the intense resource strain it is currently facing.

 

In many economies, waste incineration plays an important role in the waste management strategy as it can utilise waste streams, which are currently hard to recycle and otherwise would end up in landfills. Furthermore, with the right technology in place, waste incineration can be a valuable source of heat and electricity, replacing part of the energy production currently supplied by fossil fuels.

Ultimately, the world should move towards a circular economy in which there is no waste. However, the way to achieve this is long as it not only requires national and local governments to adapt efficient waste management systems. It also highly depends on companies across numerous industries to rethink the way products, buildings and materials are designed as this will be key in creating a circular future.

Connect with us: Gry Brostrøm, Senior Project Manager, gbr@stateofgreen.com