The disposal of our waste is something most of us take for granted. Disposing of all our waste into landfill is not sustainable hence managing waste sustainably is the focus here. Sustainable Waste Management promotes the management hierarchy in the following order of priority:
■Reducing (selective human consumption),
■Reusing or waste prevention at source,
■Recycling or resource recovering,
■Energy recovery facilities/refuse derived fuel and,
■Landfills (non-recyclables, incinerator ash etc)
Reducing: this is an approach that changes the way products are made, purchased and used so that less solid waste is generated. One can ask community members to generate less waste by reusing plastic/paper bag, use long life and energy efficient products, avoid disposable products, using mulching mowers so that grass does not have to be bagged.
Waste prevention: this is defined as actions taken or choices made to either reduce or prevent the generation of waste or toxic substances through the combined efforts of prevention, reuse, commercial and home onsite composting practices Waste and pollution prevention are the most environmentally beneficial waste management strategies, it is more advantageous to, where practical, to avoid producing waste in the first place. State legislation should prioritize this as the preferred waste management strategy and serious encouragement given to it. For this to work, it must ensure the development and implementation of an aggressive and sophisticated waste prevention program, and further ensure its integration into other waste related activities by distributing tips and by encouraging people in local newspaper ads, city and newsletters, cable access programs, and presentations to service clubs, the general public and the business community
Recycling or resource recovering: source separation is the preferred option here for ensuring quality secondary material for recycling market. Segregation and reuse of reprocessing of paper, wood, plastic, textiles, leather, metal, rubber, and glass is done right from the point of generation. Wastes are sorted, transported to where it is recycled for a fee.
Composting: yard waste (leaves, grass, weeds and animal remains) can easily be decomposed by bacteria or fungi to form humus and reused.
Energy recovery facilities/refuse derived fuel: waste transformation involves the physical, chemical or biological transformation in the presence of heat to generate fuel.
Landfilling; solid waste that cannot be recycled and are of no further use or the residual matter remaining after the recovering or separation of conversion products or energy can be disposed of in sanitary landfill site, or at sea or ocean bottom as long as it does not have toxic substances.