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International status quo with references

International status quo with references 

The old saying, “Waste not, want not” always rings so true in the contemporary world, as local communities and global leaders alike growingly call for a fix  for the so-called, ‘throwaway culture (The World Bank 2018).’ However, past households and individuals, waste is further representing a wider challenge/problem which affects the human livelihoods and health, prosperity and the environment. Solid waste management remains a universal concern that matters to each single individual in the globe. With more than ninety percent of waste openly dumped/burned in low-income economies, it remains the poor as well as most vulnerable populace that is affected disproportionately (Yousefi et al. 2021).  

Landslides of waste dumps, in recently years, have subsequently buried people and homes under the waste piles. Indeed, it remains the poorest who usually reside adjacent to waste dumps and power recycling system of their city via waste picking, thereby leaving them vulnerable to severe health consequences. Poorly managed waste contaminates the global oceans, clogs drains and triggers flooding transmit illness, surge respiratory problems from burning, harm animals that unknowingly consume waste, and affect development of the economy, like via tourism (The WorldBank 2018).  

Managing solid waste remains a business for all. Guaranteeing proper and effective solid waste management is essential to the accomplishment of the SDGs. When burned or dumped solid waste are left unmanaged, it will severely harm the human health, hurt the climate and environment, and hinder growth of economy in rich and poor economies alike. Waste generation is rising at a shocking rate despite the knowledge of “What a Waste 2.0” concept (The World Bank 2018). Economies are fast developing devoid of sufficient systems in place for managing the fluctuating waste composition of the residents. Cities, home to more than 50% of the humanity and generating over eighty percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), stay at the forefront of addressing the challenge of global waste. As per the World Bank “What a Waste 2.0” report  the globe generates 2.01B tons of municipal solid waste each year, with at least  thirty-three percent never managed in an environmentally safe way (https://www.worldbank.org/what-a-waste) (TheWorldBank, 2018). An update to the past edition, the 2018 report further anticipate that rapid urbanization populace growth besides economic development shall drive the global waste to surge by seventy percent over the coming thirty years-to an overwhelming 3.4B tons of waste annually generated (TheWorldBank, 2018).

National (United Kingdom) status quo with references

The graph below shows past and projected global waste generation

The graph below shows past and projected global waste generation.

The United Kingdom is trying to alter its culture of throwaway into a zero-waste economy, whereby waste materials get reused, recycled or even recovered, and are solely disposed of in case of no other alternatives. Waste management in the United Kingdom has rapidly altered in the recent past (Populationatters.org. nd). Most UK’s waste in the past century found their way in landfills, and recycling procedures stood rarely used. The United Kingdom saw its recycling rate surge to forty percent in year 2011 from about fifteen percent in the year 2001. Notwithstanding this increase, it remained yet far behind economies like Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, and further fell beneath the EU average. In the year 2012, the United Kingdom generated 200M tons of waste, of which 5.90M tones remained hazardous (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs 2021).

above shows the waste from Household, UK & country split 215-2019

Table 1 above shows the waste from Household, UK & country split 215-2019

The UK is following the European Union 5-step waste hierarchy model whereby waste reduction alongside disposal remain ordered premised on desirability as seen below

The waste problem has been a big issue with me based on my life style. I have realized that I have been seriously contributing to the problem in my country. One of these ways is that I have never preferred using a reusable bottle/cup for beverage on-the-go. While I already have reusable water bottle, I have never taken it upon myself to use it every time. I have always failed to put this reusable bottle to use, save money and reduce waste. Another lifestyle choice through which I have failed to reduce waste problem is through failure to use reusable grocery bags and not merely for groceries (Lorenzen 2012). While it is true that I have a reusable grocery bag, I have always forgotten it at home. I have failed to write BAGS on the top of my grocery list to assists me recall and keep my reusable bag in the back seat where it cannot forget it easily. Another lifestyle choice contributing to waste is my failure to purchase wisely and recycle. I have failed to reduce the amount of waste I generate by failing to buy products that come with less packaging and or come in packaging that are recyclable (Savelli, Francioni and Curina 2019). For example, I have failed to always recognize that not every plastic is recyclable in Delaware, due to failure to check labels before I purchase.

Own lifestyle choices with references

Prevention 

I have decided to reduce my waste through the use of a reusable bottle/cup for beverages on-the-go. This is because I already have a reusable water bottle, but it is only that I have never used it all the time. Therefore, I will be henceforth putting my reusable bottle to use, and this will not only save me money, but significantly help me reduce my waste generation. I will do this by taking my own water with me, and this will further reduce my likelihood of buying additional expensive beverage on-the-go. This will significantly remove the one-time use containers they come in (TheNatureConservancy 2022). Whereas I am aware that several of bottles and cans can get recycled, they need a lot of energy to get produced, shipped to the bottling facilities and subsequently to the store for purchase.

I will further reduce the waste through evading single-use food and drink utensils and containers. Whenever feasible, I have taken it upon myself to henceforth attempt to avoid single-use coffee cups, straws, disposable utensils and napkins. Certain enterprises shall even offer me a discount on my coffee for bringing my own mug. Thus, I will keep a set of silverware at my work alongside a plate, cup and bowl which I will be able to wash and reuse. I will further skip the plastic straw altogether or even purchase reusable metals ones in their place. I will always recall that most of these items are produced from plastic, and had to be delivered by a truck, and also shall end up in a landfill upon being used one time (TheNatureConservancy 2022). Thus, I will always avoid using these items since this will significantly add up to me making a huge impact on waste reduction. I managed to save use of 10, 2 litter PET bottles for the period by reusing a reusable bottle. But, 1, 2 liter bottle weighs 42grams or 0.042kg, thus, 10 bottles saved= 0.42kg. Thus, amount of CO2 save=0.42kg x 1.578=0.6628kgCO2e

I will further reduce my waste through reuse and prepare for reuse by using reusable grocery bags, not only for groceries. Just like the reusable water bottles, I already have reusable grocery bags, but I have always failed to carry it always. Therefore, going forward, I will start by writing “BAGS” on the top of my grocery list thereby assisting me in remembering, or keeping them in the back of my set where I will not be able to easily forget. This will be even more beneficial to me since most of the grocery stores shall be offering a five cent per bag refund thus I will be saving a few cents whereas reducing my usage of one-time plastic bags (TheNatureConservancy 2022).  One reusable saved me the use of plastic bags. Thus, I avoided the use of 10 plastic bags. Each bag weighs approximately 10.02 grams. The total global warming potential of (GWP) of HDPE bag is 1.578kgCO2e. Thus, for 10 bags which is circa, 0.1002kg, 0.1581kg of CO2e was prevented from contaminating the environment.    

Chosen actions: Explain and contextualize each action

I have decided that I will be reducing waste by purchasing wisely and recycling. This will make me significantly lower the amount of waste I am generating via purchase of products that with less packaging and or those coming in packaging which can be easily recycled (Brotosusilo et al. 2020). I will always acknowledge the fact that not every plastic is recyclable in Delaware. Therefore, I have henceforth taken it upon myself to ensure that I check every label before I make a purchase. As per Delaware’s Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances website, I have realized that containers labelled using a 1 or a 2 are almost always accepted since they are the highest value resins. Moreover, resins 4, 5 and 7 are also presently accepted in many programs in Delaware.  However, plastics that are labelled with a 3/PVC alongside 6/PS are never generally never recyclable in Delaware (TheNatureConservancy 2022). Therefore, I will take it upon myself never to purchase those containers with labels that are never recycled. From my action, I will be able to save 10 plastic packages. But, weight of 1 plastic package= 0.059 kg. Therefore, weight of 10 plastic packages= 10x0.059= 0.59kg. Accordingly weight of carbon saved= 0.59x 1.578kgCO2e=0.93102kgCO2e

Recovery 

I have also decided to recover through composting waste. For example, I have come to appreciate the need to change my lifestyle by composting waste. This is because I now know that more than 25 percent of the items in my trash can easily be recovered or potentially be eliminated from the waste stream and then composted in my yard (TheNatureConservancy 2022). For example, my vegetable and fruit scraps, egg shells, grass clippings, coffee grounds and leaves will be all composted going forward (Chen, Zhang and Yuan, 2020). Whereas I know that composting will demand more effort than other lifestyle changes above (Collins 2018), it will still offer me a beneficial return on my investment of time as well as effort. Based on the circumstances, I might have to compost in three to twelve months (Bashir et al. 2018) to utilize in my gardens. I will have saved on fertilizers and in case I grow my own vegetables, I will probably see enhanced yields. Moreover, the organic matter shall further serve as a sponge for absorbing additional water, implying I might never need to water my plants as much, thereby saving my time and money. From this action, I would be able to save 1 fertilizer bag. But, 1k of fertilizer bags emits 5.6 kg CO2-eqv per kg applied N. Thus, 1 fertilizer bag weighs 22.6796kg. Thus, amount of CO2 saved from reaching environment = 127.0058kgCO2.

I will also reduce by waste by buying secondhand items and donating the used goods. Prior to going to purchase something new, I have decided to always consider purchasing it used which will further save me lots of money (TheNatureConservancy 2022). This will imply purchasing secondhand clothes at Goodwill, used furniture as well as repurposed construction materials at Habitat for Humanity’s Resource, or even searching Craigslist for a bicycle deal. Through purchase of these secondhand goods I will be supporting local charities besides saving items from ending up in the dump (Vollmer et al. 2020). Furthermore, I will be giving out and donating my used items to the people and even to the charity organizations like children homes and orphanage rather than disposing them on to the landfills which would only lead to piling of waste and hence expounding the waste problem (Aschemann-Witzel et al. 2018).   I managed to save the use of 1 bale of new clothes for this period. But 1 bale=42 kilograms. Therefore, mount of CO2 saved = 42kgs x 1.578= 66.276kgCO2

Evaluate, assess and quantify the likely environmental benefits of each of your chosen action with data and references  

No.

Waste Tier

Chosen Action

Material

Quantity

Environmental Impact

References

1.

Prevention

1. Using reusable bottle/cup for beverages on-the-go

2. Avoiding single-use food & drink utensils and containers

Reusable bottle/cups

Single use food & drink utensils and containersx10

10 bottles (2 litter) saved

2 litter PET botte=

42grams or 0.042kg

Amount of CO2 saved=

0.42kg x 1.578=

0.6628kgCO2e

TheNatureConservancy, 2022

2

Reuse & Prepare for Reuse

Using reusable grocery bags, not only for groceries.

Reusable grocery bags x10

10 bags saved

1 bag=10.02g or 0.01002kg

10x0.01002=

0.1002kgx1.578=0.1581kgCO2e

TheNatureConservancy, 2022

3

Recycling

Purchasing wisely and recycling

Products with less packaging/recycled packaging x10

Saved 10 plastic packages

Weight of 1 plastic package= 0.059 kg

Weight of 10= 10x0.059= 0.59kg

Weight of CO2 saved= 0.59x 1.578kgCO2e=0.93102kgCO2e

TheNatureConservancy, 2022

4

Recovery

Composting waste

Fruit & vegetable scraps, leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, egg shellx1

1 fertilizer bag saved

But, 1k of fertilizer bags emits 5.6 kg CO2-eqv per kg applied N

Thus, 1 fertilizer bag weighs 22.6796kg

Thus, amount of CO2 saved from reaching environment = 5.6kgx 22.6796kg=127.0058kgCO2e

Hernandez, Miranda, and Goñi  2020

5

Disposal

Buying  secondhand items and donating the used goods

Secondhand clothes, used furniture and repurposed construction materials x4

Saved 1 bale of new clothes

1 bale=42 kilograms

Amount of CO2 saved = 42kgs x 1.578= 66.276kgCO2e

TheNatureConservancy, 2022

Having come to the end of this four-week period whereby I carried out the exercise on waste problem and ways through which I can reduce waste based on the Inverted Pyramid model, I have identified various barriers and also identified something that was easier for me doing than I initially thought. I am now in a better position to provider a self-reflection on whether this is a change which I am likely to carry on.  

In undertaking this action, one of the main barriers I identified on how to quantify the actions I had taken. Whereas, I had easily identified the actions I needed to undertake to change my lifestyle towards those than can significantly help me reduce the waste, the main problem came when I was tasked to quantify the impacts of my actions to the environment. However, I had to undertake analysis so as to understand the best way I could quantify these impacts.

As seen in the table above, I had several actions taken based on the Inverted Pyramid model which included actions that do with prevention, reuse and prepare for reuse, recycling, recovery and disposal. From these actions, I realized by changing my disposal lifestyle, I reduced waste by 66.276kgCO2e whereas 127.0058kgCO2e was saved through recovery lifestyle changes. Recycling lifestyle changes enabled me reduce carbon emission by 0.93102kgCO2e while prevention and reuse and prepare for reuse lifestyle changes adopted saved 0.6628kgCO2e and 0.1581kgCO2e correspondingly. However, I was faced a challenge in understanding whether the impacts needed to be strictly looked at in terms of environment or even personal impacts like cost saving and even time saving as most of my actions led to me saving both time and cost and improving the yield of my vegetable garden through the use of recovery (via composting).

Another barrier I faced was with respect to composting action that I undertook as part of my recovery action. The barrier was that it took about 12 months and I did not have this whole time to prepare for effective composting process. However, I appreciated the benefits were worth than the cost and hence I decided to continue with this action.

However, I realized that it was easier to change my lifestyle to reduce the waste than I expected. First, it became so easier for me to adopt the actions I had south to do. For example, having realized that I initially played a big role in waste pilling in my area, I decided to undo and change my lifestyle in terms of buying secondhand items and donating my used items; avoiding single-use food and drink utensils and containers, composting (removing nearly 26% of my items in my trash), purchasing wisely and recycling and using reusable bottle or cup for beverage on-the-go (Schanes, Giljum and Hertwich 2016).

I would like to carry on with this lifestyle change. This is because my participation in this exercise has helped me realized my value in waste reduction and management. Initially, I never knew that by merely taking a lifestyle change, I would be significantly keeping my surrounding safe. Indeed, I initially never knew the benefits attached to some of the actions I took. I originally thought that the only benefit was to reduce waste which I never gave much attention. However, I have no come to appreciate the various personal gains attributable to my lifestyle change including saving on cost, money and time (Thieme et al. 2012). Thus, I will thrive to become an ambassador of change in order that I continue to identify other effective ways through which I can reduce waste in my country.  

Conclusions

The waste menace is an issue that must be everyone’s business. With the increasing economic growth and development, the projections of waste levels are worrying and everyone must take it upon themselves to contribute towards waste management and reduction for sustainable living. As from this report, it is quite clear that small lifestyle changes can significantly contribute to massive waste reduction, besides personal benefits like saving on cost and money and even time. For example, using disposal technique, 66.276kgCO2e was saved from contaminating the environment whereas 127.0058kgCO2e was saved through recovery techniques. Moreover, using recycling lifestyle changes saved 0.93102kgCO2e from being emitted whereas prevention and reuse and prepare for reuse lifestyle changes adopted saved 0.6628kgCO2e and 0.1581kgCO2e respectively.  It is a call to action that everyone should take a step towards lifestyle changes through adoption of the actions identified in this paper.

References

Aschemann-Witzel, J., de Hooge, I.E., Almli, V.L. and Oostindjer, M., 2018. Fine-tuning the fight against food waste. Journal of Macromarketing, 38(2), pp.168-184.

Bashir, M.J.K., Tao, G.H., Abu Amr, S.S. and Tan, K.W., 2018. Public concerns and behaviors towards solid waste minimization using composting in Kampar district, Malaysia. Global NEST Journal, 20(2), pp.316-323.

Brotosusilo, A., Nabila, S.H., Negoro, H.A. and Utari, D., 2020. The level of individual participation of community in implementing effective solid waste management policies. Global Journal of Environmental Science and Management, 6(3), pp.341-354.

Chen, T., Zhang, S. and Yuan, Z., 2020. Adoption of solid organic waste composting products: A critical review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 272, p.122712.

Collins, L.M., 2018. Composting: Apparently, It Isn't Easy Being Green. The New York Times, pp.7-L.

Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs. 15 July 2021. UK Statistics on Waste. Government Stastical Service. Pp. 1-25. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002246/UK_stats_on_waste_statistical_notice_July2021_accessible_FINAL.pdf 

Hernandez, R.J., Miranda, C. and Goñi, J., 2020. Empowering sustainable consumption by giving back to consumers the ‘right to repair’. Sustainability, 12(3), p.850.

Lorenzen, J.A., 2012, March. Going Green: the process of lifestyle change 1. In Sociological Forum (Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 94-116). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Populationatters.org. (nd). Waste in the UK and The World. Population Matters for Sustainable Future. Pp. 1-10. https://populationmatters.org/sites/default/files/waste_in_the_uk_and_the_world.pdf 

Savelli, E., Francioni, B. and Curina, I., 2019. Healthy lifestyle and food waste behavior. Journal of Consumer Marketing.

Schanes, K., Giljum, S. and Hertwich, E., 2016. Low carbon lifestyles: A framework to structure consumption strategies and options to reduce carbon footprints. Journal of Cleaner Production, 139, pp.1033-1043.

TheNatureConservancy, 2022. Eight Ways to Reduce Waste: Learn how you can make small changes that are eco-friendly and will have a lasting impact.. nature.org, 10 March.pp. 1-3. https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/where-we-work/united-states/delaware/stories-in-delaware/delaware-eight-ways-to-reduce-waste/ 

TheWorldBank, 2018. What a Waste: An Updated Look into the Future of Solid Waste Management. THE WORLD BANK, 20 SEPTEMBER.pp. 1-4. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2018/09/20/what-a-waste-an-updated-look-into-the-future-of-solid-waste-management#:~:text=%E2%80%9CPoorly%20managed%20waste%20is%20contaminating,Wahba%2C%20World%20Bank%20Director%20for 

Thieme, A., Comber, R., Miebach, J., Weeden, J., Kraemer, N., Lawson, S. and Olivier, P., 2012, May. " We've bin watching you" designing for reflection and social persuasion to promote sustainable lifestyles. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2337-2346).

Vollmer, I., Jenks, M.J., Roelands, M.C., White, R.J., van Harmelen, T., de Wild, P., van Der Laan, G.P., Meirer, F., Keurentjes, J.T. and Weckhuysen, B.M., 2020. Beyond mechanical recycling: Giving new life to plastic waste. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 59(36), pp.15402-15423.

Yousefi, M., Oskoei, V., Jonidi Jafari, A., Farzadkia, M., Hasham Firooz, M., Abdollahinejad, B. and Torkashvand, J., 2021. Municipal solid waste management during COVID-19 pandemic: effects and repercussions. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 28(25), pp.32200-32209.

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