Waste Management : Waste management requires a holistic approach

Gewerbeabfälle commercial waste
© Andi Karg

By 2050, plastic will outnumber fish in oceans unless the waste management sector makes some changes to its industry practices.

Axil Integrated Services, a waste management solutions provider, recently released a report on the newest industry trends within the field.

‘At your disposal: Getting waste to work harder for your business’ details strategies for unlocking the potential of waste.

One of these methods entails putting a value to and essentially commodifying municipal solid waste.

As such, companies are already making profit by storing waste safely and selling it when the market price is highest.

The report points out that investment in know-how as well as in waste processing technologies, which are necessary for eliminating contaminants from the waste stream, can help waste management firms generate extra revenue.

Effective waste segregation is also identified by Axil as a means of ensuring better recyclability-in this way, waste management providers can help reduce carbon emissions and contribute to a more circular economy.

With regards to solid waste, plastic makes up a significant proportion of it. By 2050, plastic waste is also expected to account for 5-10% of global greenhouse gases. In the waste management sector, product innovations increasingly focus on plastic waste, with investment going to the development of bioplastics (both biobased as well as biodegradable) as well as to so called ‘advanced’ recycling technologies such as thermal recycling (ex.pyrolysis), which promise greater success when it comes to recycling mixed plastics.

Currently, manufacturers are also keen on converting their plastic waste into a high-quality resin that can compete with conventional plastics, especially with regards to properties such as durability, permeability as well as flexibility while not compromising on sustainability.

The trends and strategies forecast by Axil are timely, as traditional waste management methods which entail the dumping of waste output on landfills are falling out of favour for their generation of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas known for exacerbating atmospheric warming.

The importance of oversight in effectively managing as waste management strategy is also highlighted in the report.

A contract manager who leads an on-site team can serve to streamline processes as well as monitor daily tasks, ranging from communicating with local supply chains to bin dives.

The main takeaway of Axil report is the idea that a successful waste management strategy requires a holistic approach, one that ‘takes into account continual improvements for disposal, compliance, recycling and rebate’.