We should recycle garbage using biogas technology because it has tremendous economic and environmental benefits and also wins out over peers in terms of performance.
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The modern appearance of large cities seems to have become closely associated with the problem of trash recycling. While in central areas and historic districts of agglomerations, municipal governments try to maintain cleanliness by intensifying urban services, closer to the outskirts of the city, where most of the population traditionally lives, the proper garbage disposal is not a management priority. According to Brucker (2018), the average American resident generates up to 56 tons of food and industrial waste each year. Moreover, the amount of trash produced daily inherent throughout the United States is such that 63,000 garbage trucks are needed to transport them. It seems obvious that the lack of management of this problem has the potential to lead to a garbage crisis where large quantities of waste produced cannot physically be treated due to the low or insufficient processing capacity of recycling plants. As a result, a large number of landfills are concentrated within the city limits and are left to rot under the influence of solar or chemical decomposition. Liquid products of such natural processes enter groundwater, and gaseous substances tend to the atmosphere. Subsequently, this can cause contamination of municipal water systems and greatly impair the collective health of the population. Diarrhea, acute respiratory disease, combustion-related infections, and asthma are just some of the consequences of harmful waste management practices (Simmons, 2016). This proposal is aimed at discussing the effective solution that has the potential to inhibit the garbage crisis and offload local garbage stations.
The Effective Solution
Based on global waste management practices, it is possible to identify one remarkably working mechanism, which, apparently, due to several economic, social, and political factors, has not yet become widespread. Thus, the use of biogas plants is a successful strategy for the utilization of organic waste, attracting in two ways at once: the production of cheap electricity and highly efficient fertilizer. The principle of operation of any biogas plant is similar to what was traditionally implemented by our ancestors on farms: composting garbage to produce fertilizer. Organic products — whether food or household waste or agricultural garbage — are immersed in a tank where the biomass’s natural fermentation occurs under the influence of methanogenic bacteria. The result of such a method is the processing of garbage into a higher quality substance and the dissipation of large amounts of heat.
Engineered biogas plants are built in such a way as to collect all the emitted gas and send it to internal combustion engines. This entails the production of electrical and thermal energy, which can then be directed to ensure the viability of farms, housing associations, and entire cities. The quantitative characteristics of this method confirm its high economic and ecological efficiency. Thus, 1 kilogram of cow manure is equivalent to 40 liters of the produced biogas (Font-Palma, 2019). Given the number of cattle in the United States (94.4 million) and the average daily manure yield (7.3 kg), the following calculations are correct (Shahbandeh, 2020; Hidayati et al., 2019).
It becomes obvious that this amount of energy (as shown in Equation #3) could be enough to heat and power the entire region. It is worth noting that these calculations were only true for cow manure, but there are many more potential sources of clean electricity in the agricultural waste industry: chickens, sheep, pigs, or plants. Moreover, the solid product remaining after biomass anaerobic fermentation is a valuable resource for fertilizing crop areas. Thus, the action of biogas plants is comprehensive and highly effective.
It is fair to say that there are other mechanisms of waste disposal in this industry, demonstrating certain advantages. The traditional practice of destroying garbage accumulations in their incineration, which allows in a short time, significantly reducing the landfill space involved. However, in the case of combustion of some of the organic substances, large amounts of toxic gaseous compounds are produced, polluting the atmosphere in the region. Pyrolysis is also a method of thermal processing of waste, which provides its highly efficient decontamination and usage as a fuel, contributing to the creation of low-waste technologies. On the other hand, such recycling requires the purchase of expensive equipment and constant monitoring by specialists. Although landfill is not a classic recycling scheme, it is still widespread. Nevertheless, the deposition of garbage beds in the soil significantly inhibits the growth and development of organisms, and there is a threat that the dirt masses will penetrate groundwater. Finally, inorganic waste can be sorted and sent for remelting, crushing, or pressing. These are effective methods that cover the disadvantages of biogas plants. Thus, for organic raw materials, the use of biogas technologies is a very effective measure of waste recycling.
|#||Time required||Short description|
|1||1 to 3 months||Lobbying interests and obtaining state support for the implementation of the project.|
|2||3 to weeks||The widespread introduction of biogas stations on private farms.|
|3||6 to 12 months||The construction of large concentrating biogas plants that feed cities.|
|4||Every six months||Regular inspection and examination of the equipment.|
|5||Every year||Reconciliation of processing results, economic analysis of efficiency.|
|6||Every ten years||Complete or partial renewal of the equipment.|
|7||On-demand||Carrying out repair work.|
Although it requires a significant financial investment initially, the installation of biogas plants has significant benefits for farmers and cities. In particular, it allows those concerned to reduce the burden on waste treatment plants significantly in the short term. In the first year, farmers get not only clean energy that can heat their homes and provide electricity but also a valuable material for fertilizing plants. Generally speaking, a sort of cyclical, low-waste process is created. In the long term, the effect of implementing the plants can be a major benefit to the local economy, as the sale of cheap electricity and fertilizer are the prospects of this project. In addition, biogas plants can bind harmful methane and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions, which means a reduction of human-made load on the environment.
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Summarizing the above, it is important to note that the installation of biogas stations — whether they are large-scale services focused on entire cities or small mobile plants for farmers — is the right and promising solution to the problem of waste disposal. Such technologies offer several advantages at once and have virtually no disadvantages. In particular, a person who decides to use biogas receives clean and cheap electrical and thermal energy combined with a highly efficient concentrated fertilizer for plants. Furthermore, biogas plants reduce carbon emissions and bind methane. Although the stations are not without drawbacks, their implementation brings more pros and efficiencies than any of their existing counterparts. Thus, it is important to make a positive decision as soon as possible to switch to clean and cheap energy from organic waste.
Brucker, D. (2018). 40 reasons to think differently about your trash: Facts, statistics, & more. Rubicon. Web.
Font-Palma, C. (2019). Methods for the treatment of cattle manure – A review. Web.
Hidayati, S., Utomo, T. P., Suroso, E., & Maktub, Z. A. (2019). Technical and technology aspect assessment of biogas agroindustry from cow manure: a case study on cattle livestock industry in South Lampung District. Web.
Shahbandeh, M. (2020). Total number of all cattle and calves in the United States from 2001 to 2020. Statista. Web.
Simmons, A. M. (2016). The world’s trash crisis, and why many Americans are oblivious. Los Angeles Times. Web.