Sustainability and Waste Management

Main Components of the EPA’s Prescribed Waste Regulations and Role

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is guided by several components, namely

  1. classifications for reuse,
  2. classifications for contaminated soil,
  3. classifications for disposal (EPA Victoria para. 1).

The role of the first component in ensuring wastes are properly managed entails classifications that outlaw waste streams from landfills when alternative reuse or recycling options are identified, while the second component entails dealing with contaminated soil for possible reuse, recycling, recovery of resources, and treatment. The third component entails providing relevant stakeholders with general classifications related to the disposal of various types of waste.

Waste Product

Although there is no singular definition of what entails waste, an item/product should be considered a waste product when it is no longer needed or usable, or when it needs treatment/disposal.

Impediments to Establishing Effective Recycling Schemes

The three impediments include

  1. lack of financial and regulatory/legislative incentives,
  2. employment of ineffective systems,
  3. lack of public (or business) awareness and commitment.

The first impediment can be overcome by creating financial and regulatory incentives to ensure that prices match the outcomes you want, and also by developing systems that incentivize product producers to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The second impediment can be overcome by identifying and promoting best practice systems through, for example, ensuring that household waste collection operators are compensated for quality as well as volume, or by maximizing the quality of materials by separating waste streams as soon as possible. The last impediment can be overcome by raising awareness and providing guidance on recycling schemes (Uriarte 27-29).

Recycling or Reuse

Reusing, in my view, is better than recycling when it comes to waste reduction. The justification for assuming this perspective is predicated upon the fact that reusing waste products in their current state prevent pollution which may be caused by some of the processes involved in recycling products. Additionally, reusing allows products to be used to their fullest extent, assists in sustaining the environment for future generations, and reduces the production of greenhouse gas emissions that are known to contribute to global climate change (United States Protection Agency para. 2).

Accurate Information on Waste Generated

The effectiveness and efficiency of systems and processes put in place to manage waste in Victoria depend on the accuracy of the data collected regarding the waste generated, thus it is important to have accurate information on the waste generated. Additionally, accurate information is of paramount importance in making waste management decisions and assessing risk (Uriarte 16).

Barriers to Waste Minimisation Programme

The four barriers that need to be overcome include

  1. insufficient or inadequate government policies and regulations,
  2. lack of technological feasibility,
  3. inadequate economic viability, and
  4. lack of management commitment and support.

Life Cycle Approach

In the context of developing an approach to waste management, the “life cycle” approach means a rigorous method that takes into consideration the full range of factors that determine an environmental load of a product all through the life-cycle of the product’s existence, “from the extraction of natural resources through to material processing, manufacturing, distribution and use; and finally the re-use, recycling, energy recovery and the disposal of remaining waste” (Srivastava & Nema 268).

The life cycle approach can be implemented by following four processes, namely

  1. goal and scope definition involving defining the product or service to be evaluated and establishing a functional basis for comparison,
  2. inventory analysis involving establishing an inventory list of all the inputs and outputs of a product or service, especially in terms of extractions and emissions,
  3. impact assessment involving grouping and quantifying the effects of the resource use and emissions generated into a limited number of impact classifications, which may then be weighted for importance,
  4. interpretation involving reporting the results in the most informative manner possible, and also systematically assessing the need and opportunities to minimize the relative impact of the product or service on the environment (LCA Methodology para. 2).

Essay: Steps towards Effective Management of Factory Wastes

Because factories the world over produce a lot of wastes, it is only proper that those involved come up with processes and procedures to ensure the effective and efficient management of such wastes. The need to ensure that waste products being produced by factories are managed correctly is further reinforced by the fact that a considerable number of factories produce hazardous waste with the capacity to harm the environment (Anand 25). In this light, the present paper discusses the steps that should be taken into account to ensure that wastes produced at a factory are managed correctly.

Wastes must first be generated for them to be managed, thus the initial step involves waste generation at the factory level. A factory may generate considerable amounts of waste when extracting and processing raw materials into final products for end-users, or when the final products become redundant at the factory level (Anand 88).

Following waste generation, the second step in ensuring that a factory handles its wastes efficiently and effectively involves waste handling, separation, and on-site storage. In this step, waste management handlers are engaged in sorting the wastes, separating them for purposes of reduction, recycling, or reuse, and storing them in on-site locations.

Moving on, the third step involves collecting wastes from on-site storage locations in preparation for transfer and transport to treatment locations. This step also involves collecting wastes for separation, processing, and transformation into recyclable or reusable products, with the view to cutting down on costs and gaining additional capital not only by selling the products to brokers and other interested users but also by using them in their current form (Anand 128).

Waste treatment is the step that follows collection, transfer, and transport, along with separation, processing, and transformation. Here, the wastes are exposed to a multiplicity of treatment processes to ensure they do not harm the environment by, for example, releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere, therefore, contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer (Anand 153). Treatment of wastes is also an important undertaking for the factory in the context of complying with set regulations to avoid penalties associated with irresponsible waste management practices.

Following treatment, wastes from the factory are then disposed of by using available disposal techniques such as composting, landfills, and incineration not only to reduce their adverse effects on the environment and the surrounding ecosystem but also to comply with industry regulations regarding waste management (Anand 185). Disposal of factory wastes should be done using the most appropriate strategies to ensure such wastes do not present health and environmental challenges to society.

To conclude, it is important to underscore the fact that the discussed steps should follow an orderly manner if the factory expects that wastes being produced will be managed effectively and efficiently. As illuminated in the discussion, the right procedure should be (1) solid waste generation, (2) waste handling, separation, and on-site storage, (3) collection, (4), transfer and transport, as well as separation, processing, and transformation, (5) treatment, and (6) disposal. This way, the factory should be able to manage its wastes correctly.

Works Cited

Anand, Subhash. Solid Waste Management, New Delhi: Mittal Publications, 2010. Print.

EPA Victoria. Prescribed Industrial Waste Classifications 2013. Web.

LCA Methodology. n.d. Web.

Srivastava, Amitabh, and Arvind Kumar Nema. “Life Cycle Assessment of Integrated Solid Waste Management System of Delhi.” Towards Life Cycle Sustainability Management. Ed. Mathias Finkbeiner. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2011. 267-276. Print.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency. Reducing and Reusing Basics 2013. Web.

Uriarte, Filemon, A. Solid Waste Management: Principles and Practices: An Introduction to the Basic Functional Elements of Solid Waste Management, with Special Emphasis on the Needs of Developing Countries, London: UP Press, 2008. Print.