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Waste Management

Everyone generates waste that requires efficient and environmentally acceptable management from its source to final disposal. As waste quantities and public interest in waste issues increase the sustainable waste management challenge has meant that governments, waste regulators, local authorities and waste management companies are all reviewing their future waste management policies, strategies or services.

Arising quality of life, and high rates of resource consumption patterns have had a unintended and negative impact on the urban environment - generation of wastes far beyond the handling capacities of urban governments and agencies. Cities are now grappling with the problems of high volumes of waste, the costs involved, the disposal technologies and methodologies, and the impact of wastes on the local and global environment.

But these problems have also provided a window of opportunity for cities to find solutions - involving the community and the private sector; involving innovative technologies and disposal methods; and involving behaviour changes and awareness raising. These issues have been amply demonstrated by good practices from many cities around the world.  There is a clear need for the current approach of waste disposal that is focussed on municipalities and uses high energy/high technology, to move more towards waste processing and waste recycling.

Waste minimisation and treatment

While waste can be managed through disposal, recycling or composting, the alternative and arguably the best solution is to reduce waste generation at source. This may be, for example, through educating householders or by introducing new business systems. If waste minimisation is not possible, waste treatment may provide alternative options:
bulletBiological treatment: Composting and anaerobic digestion are becoming increasingly important in the management of waste.
bulletEnergy from waste: There are a number of technologies to generate energy from waste, the most well known being incineration while less proven technologies include pyrolysis, gasification, and anaerobic digestion.
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Recycling

bulletWaste audits: Waste audits provide the essential starting point for developing options for process improvements and minimisation initatives, recycling and assessing the efficiency of all aspects of waste management services.
bulletWaste minimisation: While waste can be managed through disposal, recycling or composting, the alternative and arguably the best solution is to reduce waste generation at source.