The environment in which we live is composed of people, vehicles, industries, animals, machines, and other enterprises, which in the end, produce wastes to the environment. These wastes may take the form of solid, liquid, gaseous, or radioactive agents. Most of these wastes become hazardous to the environment and should therefore be managed to avoid pollution and as it is a requirement by the law (Hunt, 1991, p. 7).
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The three R’s of waste reduction
There are many methods of waste reduction, although the three common methods are reducing, recycling, and re-using. Recycling of wastes is one of the major ways of managing wastes in the environment. Recycling is the reprocessing of the disposed of materials into other new products in most cases of lesser value. A good example is the reprocessing of waste plastics to manufacture electric poles. This method of reducing wastes is mostly used by production companies since they want to minimize losses as possible by making sure that what goes through the sewage or incinerator is minimal.
However, not all substances may be recycled as there are some that deteriorate in quality while we have others that may be indefinitely recycled. Another method of reducing wastes from the environment is that of re-using the material in a different form other than it was used earlier on. Reusing as a way of reducing wastes mostly occurs to products that are valuable and have a long life-span such that these products may partly be destroyed or obsolete. An example is changing the damaged or worn out external features of an electronic device such as a video decoder while maintaining the internal ones like the chip or motherboard instead of disposing of the whole unit.
Reducing the volume of waste is another alternative way of minimizing waste from the environment. Wastes that have been disposed of are recovered from the dumpsites and used in other ways after sorting them (Cunningham and Cunningham, 2008). Of all the three methods, the most important and efficient method is re-using the wastes since it saves both cost and energy. However, reducing the volume of waste in the environment is always the best alternative.
Steps taken to reduce personal wastes
Reduction of personal wastes can be in other terms said to be minimising the quantity of wastes a person produces to the environment. This is important as it shows compliance with the laid down legislations on the environment, reducing costs thus saving money for the company as well as meliorating their reputation among their stakeholders. There are various steps that can be taken to ensure that the volume of waste disposed is reduced.
Quality control and process monitoring is an important way of reducing waste by making sure that everything runs as expected thus avoiding rejects (Cunningham and Cunningham, 2008). By knowing the amount of wastes generated during production one is able to implement a waste reduction technique. Efficient use of raw materials minimises the volume of waste produced in the long run. For example, if making different products from a given starting raw material off cuts should be avoided.
Creation of educational and awareness programmes to enlighten people on the effects of various types of wastes to the environment at the same time educating them on the available ways of waste disposal. In cases where people are reluctant to take care of the environment, punishments should be imposed on the people that fail to comply with the environmental legislations (Cunningham and Cunningham, 2008, p. 19). This is an effective way of ensuring that waste disposed is accounted for thus minimised. Other ways of reducing the waste produced include minimal use of the non-biodegradable materials in production and households or recycling your own rubbish.
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Cunningham, W & Cunningham, M. (2008). Principles of environmental science: inquiry and applications (Custom 5th ed.) New York. McGraw-Hill.
Hunt, G. (1991). Waste reduction techniques: An overview. Web.