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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Understanding Waste and Recycling: Four Tips to Be Eco-Friendly

Have you ever given a thought to the amount of waste generated everyday? People spend most of the day at their workplaces and think nothing of the paper that was thrown in the trash or those cans of cola and plastic wrapper that were discarded while having a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Businesses in the United States generate 35 percent of the trash in the waste stream.

Paper is a major component of the trash, closely followed by organic matter. Commercial waste also contains metal, plastic and wood. Out of this trash, 32.5 percent alone is recycled, 12.5 percent is burnt and 55 percent is discarded. Only 10 percent of paper in the waste is eco-friendly recycled. Trash that is not recycled goes on to pollute the ecosystem... maybe for years, depending on the material that it is made of. Recycling is the most eco-friendly option that can help reduce the environmental impact of commercial waste.

In addition to paper, organic waste is also detrimental to the ecology. Organic waste forms about 12.4 percent of the waste stream and is invariably dumped in landfills where it generates leachate and methane. The former is toxic sludge and the latter is a greenhouse gas that can cause several times more environmental damage than carbon dioxide. It is better to compost organic material. It is also a greener option as composting converts it to a natural fertilizer and reduces the eco-impact of this type of waste. A study estimates a reduction of 10 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions if the eco-friendly recycling rate is upped by a mere five percent annually.

Energy consumed by a product throughout its lifecycle - starting from sourcing raw material, manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal - the energy consumed may be direct or indirect. All this contributes to climate change. By eco-friendly recycling, people can mitigate the effects considerably and help make the ecology greener.

Some methods that apply environmentally sound policies to waste management are:

Eco-Friendly Recycling # Tip 1 - Reduce And Recycle Paper

An excellent green option is the reduction of paper usage and eco-friendly recycling paper. This saves the environment by reducing the number of trees cut down for manufacturing paper. These trees saved also help absorb carbon dioxide, a predominant greenhouse gas. This helps reduce climate change too. Also, you save on the energy required to dispose of the waste paper.

Eco-Friendly Recycling # Tip 2 - Go Green With Food At The Office

Most offices use paper cups and plates, along with disposable utensils. This can add considerably to the waste stream annually. Using reusable or recyclable food service items is a more eco-friendly option. Any office leftovers could be composted instead of just throwing it in the eco-friendly trash.

Eco-Friendly Recycling # Tip 3 - Donate E-waste, Do Not Dump

Old office appliances and computers are better off being donated for reuse where they could be useful to people rather than paying for hauling to the eco-friendly dump where they release toxins for years to come. This includes printers, toners, coffee machines and refrigerators.

Eco-Friendly Recycling # Tip 4 - Have A Waste Management Plan In Place

Waste management plans are an eco-friendly way to cut costs, reduce energy consumption and promote green jobs by eco-friendly recycling.

(Source: Supergreenme.com)

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