With the global population reaching to a whopping 7.9 billion (tripled within the last 70 years), 2.01 billion tons of waste is being generated annually. Unless it is dealt with in some sustainable fashion, the consequences can be catastrophic for the living organisms on planet earth. Zero waste is one such set of principles, laying its foundation on 3Rs i.e., Reduce, Re-use and Recycle, thus encouraging optimal levels of consumption across all strata of the society.
Building Blocks of Zero Waste
Zero Waste International Alliance defines the subject as:
“The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of all products, packaging and materials, without burning them and without discharges to land, water or air that threaten the environment or human health”.
The comprehensive definition points to the fact that zero waste, rather than a single end-of-pipe management, is a very comprehensive idea that entails change at every point of the waste management supply chain. The concept not only encapsulates reduce, reuse and recycle but goes a step ahead and support alternative ways to use the waste for many other societal needs e.g., energy production, biomass, organic fertilizers and much more. In this manner, no waste goes to incinerators or landfills, thus reducing the health and environmental hazards for the masses. It primarily invokes the idea of circular economy, where nothing goes out of the existence, rather all the waste resources can be fully incorporated into the system.
Impacts of Zero Waste
According to a World Bank report, 47% of the total waste generated is organic which points to the fact that there is a window of opportunity that can be utilized. Zero waste can help reduce the negative impacts of the use of landfills and incinerators. Landfills are toxic and are responsible for the methane gas emissions into the atmosphere. The toxins can lead into the underground waterbodies, and subsequently to the rivers and oceans, thus posing a significant threat of being added to the food value chain of living-beings and casting serious health impacts. The process of waste incineration is further toxic as the significant pollutants like particulate matters, oxides of Sulphur and nitrogen, and acid oxides are released into the air which can cause cancer, respiratory diseases, congenital abnormalities and hormonal defects etc.
Zero Waste Cities
As the horrific manifestations of climate change grow, there is an increasing voice to move towards sustainable living, both on individual and government levels. Many cities across the globe have initiated the programs to become the zero waste cities, e.g., Austin TX, San Diego, Auckland and San Francisco etc. These cities really are a trend setter for the rest of the lot to follow, as climate change is being derived by the human consumption pattern and is the most imminent threat which mankind faces in today’s age. For more information about zero waste cities Sustainable city wikipedia
Aco Recycling – One Stop Shop for Waste Management
As the concept of sustainable living is gaining traction, multiple enterprises have capitalized on the opportunity to offer the solution in the domain of waste management. Aco Recycling, established in 2016, is such Turkish organization, offering high tech solutions for waste management and recycling, thus serving as an enabler for the masses and other stakeholders to follow. It offers innovative product-line including smart reverse vending machines, on lab smart waste management solutions, underground and semi-underground waste containers etc.
The human race is using the resources of plant earth at far greater pace, than they are being replenished resulting in climate change, global warming and the associated catastrophic events. Zero waste puts forth the ideology of using the resources in a sustainable manner to ensure a livable planet for the coming generations. A unified and consolidated effort is the hallmark of being a zero-waste community, which will certainly bring efficiency, effectiveness, optimization and above all sustainability into the consumption chain of the living beings.