It is no secret that waste is becoming a more significant issue with the consumer-based mindset our world has fallen into. There was already a dire need in place to start reducing and reusing before the pandemic. Still, reports have shown that a higher waste volume has explicitly occurred in the residential areas since the pandemic began.
With single-use masks and gloves taking the limelight of trash bins, there is no question this is a problem area that needs a more sustainable answer, and what is a solution for commercial waste services?
Where Do Companies Start?
With 368 million metric tons of plastic produced, this leaves a problem of epic proportions to be addressed. With its need for protective gear, the healthcare industry, in particular, has become a large part of the contributor with a bit of study on the long-term consequences of disposable items.
With sanitary landfills, incinerators, and autoclaves as the primary source of disinfection and storage for the waste, workers are at a higher risk in these environments. Putting convenient safety over a sustainable long-term solution has created a much larger issue, and the single-use mindset needs to change.
Extra Challenges for Waste Management
Waste management is the main barrier to preventing diseases; this increases its need to run efficiently in our society.
The increased pressure from panic buying, stockpiling, and PPE disposal creates a higher demand for companies to perform at higher levels. In addition, the level of food and plastic waste from take-out only environments has increased exponentially.
Part of the challenge of keeping the impact low is the handling of the waste individuals are producing. Even with disinfectants used, there still poses a problem for the workers who are directly picking up and sorting through the debris. This issue is posed further with inadequate resources and training around the dangers of handling the infected waste and proper disposal.
The International Solid Waste Association has goals to help with management during the pandemic.
● The emphasis is on the need to increase the capacities of the waste processing
facilities. The bio waste should be disposed of properly to prevent secondary infection.
● Recycling activities need to be implemented more aggressively to avoid cross-contamination and promote sustainability.
● Workers are the priority and should be well protected while handling the waste.
● Companies are ensuring that the recyclables get separated at the source.
● Individuals need to be replaced with mechanical alternatives to reduce transmission.
In some countries, the separation depends on sectors and places them in low, medium, and high brackets. This system works to create a categorization of hazardous materials to maintain hygienic environments and reduce the impact on the environment.
In Austria, the residents are encouraged with recycling services to minimize waste generation and avoid overloading facilities. In addition, Lago prohibits individuals from gathering waste from dumpsites due to it leading to community transmission.
What Are the Alternatives?
One company named Revolution-Zero is working to reduce the single-use option with an alternative that is more sustainable. Bringing to light the understanding of creating a socially responsible and eco-friendly choice for the healthcare industry will help to encourage a change.
With medical waste up 40% and industrial waste falling, there needs to be an adjustment in recycling plastics.
Cities are beginning to take more initiative in removing recyclables from the incoming waste, and there is special storage and disposal of the hazardous waste. International funding is taking place to increase tariffs on waste producers, more participation in the waste sector, and more financial support to help structure more collection and disposal projects.
What Lies Ahead for Sustainable Waste Management
With the pandemic expected to continue beyond 2025, there is a need to have a sustainable and long-term solution for the waste management system. Adding in options like reusable masks and protective gear that individuals can sterilize to use are a starting point.
In addition, having a continuous staff onsite at the management facility for waste management procedures until the use slows. Also, educating individuals regularly to bring awareness to the negatives of single-use items can reduce.
Companies need to be encouraged to implement new strategies to increase alternative recycling methods. Raising awareness and creating zero landfill options is the primary goal in the main design. In addition, having an adequate management system that keeps track of the conditions and lessening the reliance on bioplastics are starting points.
LJP Waste Solutions offers alternative options based on sustainability goals achieved through services like sorting, shredding, and proven results from our waste-to-energy methods.
If you are looking for a way to create a more sustainable company, give us a call at 507-625-1968 or go online here to find out more information!