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The Waste Hierarchy
The evaluation of processes that protect the environment alongside resource and energy consumption to most favourable to least favourable actions. The hierarchy establishes preferred program priorities based on sustainability. To be sustainable, waste management cannot be solved only with technical end-of-pipe solutions and an integrated approach is necessary.
The waste management hierarchy indicates an order of preference for action to reduce and manage waste, and is usually presented diagrammatically in the form of a pyramid. The hierarchy captures the progression of a material or product through successive stages of waste management, and represents the latter part of the life-cycle for each product.
The aim of the waste hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste. The proper application of the waste hierarchy can have several benefits. It can help prevent emissions of greenhouse gases, reduces pollutants, save energy, conserves resources, create jobs and stimulate the development of green technologies.
Challenges for local and regional authorities
The task of implementing the waste hierarchy in waste management practices within a country must be clearly delegated to the different levels of government (national, regional, local) and to other possible actors including industry, private companies and households. Local and regional authorities can be particularly challenged by issues when applying the waste hierarchy approach.
Some of those issues or concerns may involve:
A coherent waste management strategy that must be set up and implemented. It would involve including management plans at all different management levels.
Separate collection and sorting systems for many different waste streams would have to be established
New or adequate treatment and disposal facilities being established.
An effective horizontal co-operation between local authorities and municipalities and a vertical co-operation between the different levels of government, local to regional and when beneficial, also at the national level being established;
Finding financing for the establishing or upgrading of expensive sustainable waste management infrastructure to address the needs of managing waste.
A lack of data available on waste management strategies must be overcome and extensive monitoring requirements must be met to successfully implement the waste programs.
The effective enforcement and control of sound business plans and practices be established and applied to maximize benefits to the environment and human health.
A lack of administrative capacity at the regional and local level. The lack of finances, information, and technical expertise must be overcome for effective implementation and success of the waste management policies.
Source reduction involves efforts to reduce hazardous waste and other materials by modifying industrial production. Source reduction methods involve changes in manufacturing technology, raw material inputs, and product formulation. At times, the term "pollution prevention" may refer to source reduction.
Another method of source reduction is to increase incentives for recycling. Many communities in the United States are implementing variable-rate pricing for waste disposal (also known as Pay As You Throw - PAYT) which has been effective in reducing the size of the municipal waste stream.
Source reduction is typically measured by efficiencies and cutbacks in waste. Toxics use reduction is a more controversial approach to source reduction that targets and measures reductions in the upstream use of toxic materials. Toxics use reduction emphasizes the more preventive aspects of source reduction but, due to its emphasis on toxic chemical inputs, has been opposed more vigorously by chemical manufacturers. Toxics use reduction programs have been set up by legislation in some states, e.g., Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Oregon.The 3 R 's represent the ' Waste Hierarchy ' which lists the best ways of managing waste from the most to the least desirable. Many of the things we currently throw away could be reused again with just a little thought and imagination.
Source of information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waste_hierarchy
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