Are We Disposing of Our Waste Efficiently Enough?
In the UK we have a real problem with waste, both how much of it we create and how we subsequently dispose of it. The amount we produce is rapidly increasing and that, versus the amount we actually recycle, is not proportionate. And the main ways in which we do dispose of our waste are beleaguered with environmental and monetary concerns. In light of all this, it’s important to ask: are we doing enough to ensure we’re disposing of our waste efficiently?
It’s an unavoidable truth: now more than ever, the amount of waste we produce in the UK is on the rise, increasing steadily at a rate of 3% a year. This means that the amount we create is doubled every 25 years. 100 million tonnes of waste is disposed of in the UK each year, without about 31 million tonnes of that coming from the UK householder. On average, statistics show that we throw away our bodyweight in rubbish every seven weeks. We create enough to fill up the Albert Hall every two hours. On top of that, it’s thought that 80% of what goes into our dustbins could be recycled or composted. Instead, it will likely end up in landfills or incinerators, wasting energy and materials and polluting our planet.
Waste tends to have three options when it comes to how it is ultimately disposed of. Either it will go into an incinerator, a landfill or a dump. Each comes with its own issues.
The concerns of a planet completely overrun with waste are very real and we’re subjected to images of this enough, whether its by environmentalists campaigning or images of overflowing landfills on the news, which is why there is such controversy surrounding landfills, also one of the most common ways to dispose of waste. In these instances, the rubbish is deposited into areas that have been designated for waste. Eventually, it will be buried over to help prevent wildlife from coming into contact with the harmful waste. When full, the next area will be moved onto. However, there is not an infinite resource of land available for this. Obviously burying waste can seriously pollute the land it’s put into. Toxic chemicals can seep out into the surrounding area and when some of the waste biodegrades, it then creates harmful gases, which are released into the atmosphere. From a practical and financial aspect, this is a hugely wasteful (excuse the pun) use of land, especially in areas where it is a precious commodity. Factor in the cost of running the landfill and the ensuing fees can be high, which makes this option less financially viable.
The same issues with hazardous waste apply with dumps, except in these cases, the waste is largely left exposed. Unlike landfills, which have precautions in place to reduce the damage caused, such as lining the ground beforehand to limit the amount of waste that can seep out, dumps have no such strictures in place, which makes them even more hazardous and harmful for the surrounding environment and wildlife. Nor are they covered over each day, as landfills are.
Incinerators obviously do not face this same problem. The waste is burned, which saves it from being put into the ground. But here there is the issue of pollution that goes into the atmosphere. Figures show that for every 200,000 tonnes of waste incinerated, it in turn creates the equivalent of 385 million miles’ worth of pollution from vehicles.
This is where galvanised wire comes into the equation and why it is so important for an efficient disposal of our waste. Galvanised wire is a form of steel wire that has been subject to the galvanising process. This can be done in a number of ways, but most commonly it means it has been systematically dipped in a molten solution that encases the wire in a think, zinc coating. By doing so, a protective layer has been cast on to the wire, increasing its strength and acting as a sacrificial anode: more hardwearing than the wire underneath that also protects it from erosion. The outer coating of zinc is worn away before the wire underneath is subject to outside forces. This makes it an incredibly useful tool and one that is often employed in recycling and the waste disposal process.
Coming in the form of galvanised formers and used in conjunction with a baling press, the waste is encompassed in the wire, compressing it into bales of material. This obviously has the effect of reducing the overall mass of the waste and makes it far easier to handle, as any potentially dangerous materials are sufficiently covered and packaged. When the waste is then taken to the incinerator, dump or landfill, it also allows for more to be transported at once, making the process much more efficient than it otherwise would have been and most importantly of all, it also renders the final disposal of the waste far more efficient.
Compacted bales of waste going into the incinerator is going to use less energy, and therefore create less pollution, than if larger masses were going in separately and it also means that the waste that is put into landfills is also more compressed therefore theoretically uses less space than it would have otherwise. Properly packaged waste is also important when going into a dump, where the waste is left uncovered, as any damaging, dangerous or harmful materials are still covered. Regardless of how efficient our waste disposal process is as a whole at the moment, there’s no denying that properly containing it before it goes into the incinerator or landfill, with galvanised formers, is helping to increase its efficiency.
In light of these issues, we need to face up to some basic facts and properly address them: the amount of waste we are creating is ever on the increase and we have yet to find a viable solution to the matter of how we dispose of it. At the moment, we are risking great damage to our planet as we continue to pollute it with our waste. Though we are taking steps to making the process more efficient, it seems obvious that we’re still not doing enough, and this is something that we need to do something about, before it’s too late.
To find out more about D R Baling Wire's galvanised wire products, or to place your order, please call us on 01226 766775 or visit our website: www.drbalingwire.co.uk/galvanised-wire