How The Waste Management Industry Works

February 14, 2018 By envasns_org

In my opinion, there is a slight similarity in the way the waste industry works, and the way your body works, the way your body works is very simple. You consume something, your body gets what it needs, and you dispose of the waste/excess through bowel movements. In, the end what you consumed e.g. a plant turns into nutrients that are used by plants.

To understand how waste disposal works you must look at the life cycle of a product, the life cycle of all products starts with the design phase, it then goes to manufacturing, after that the product is used, and in the end, the product might be reused or recycled.

What Happens to Trash?

 Plastic

After plastics are collected, they are sorted and separated depending on types e.g. PET or HSPE, the plastics collected then used by companies that manufacture textiles, bottles, carpets, etc. to create new products. Usually, plastics are washed, ground up, melted, and then used to make whatever it is the manufacturer is producing.

Instead of throwing plastics out the window, you should put them in the trash. This will help reduce plastic pollution.

Paper

Most of the toilet papers you use are made of recycled paper; the process starts with a collection of papers after papers are collected they are usually separated into four categories namely:

  • Office Mix
  • Mixed papers
  • Old newspapers
  • Corrugated boxes

After that they are baled and sold to paper mills, paper mills recycle these bales into new products e.g. toilet paper, printing paper, etc.

Glass

What happens to glass is after being collected, glass is crushed to form what is known as a cullet, after this the glass is cleaned to remove contaminants and debris and shipped to manufacturers who need it. The crushed glass can be used to make new containers, countertops, to make road bedding, etc.

To make new containers glass is mixed with soda ash, sand, limestone, and feldspar. This mixture is then melted and molded into new bottles or containers.

Metal

Huge magnets are used to separate metals from trash with one exception aluminum; aluminum is separated by something known as an eddy current. After separation metals are crushed and transported to steel/aluminum mills. At the factory e.g. a steel mill, steel is separated from the other metals and melted into sheets.

These sheets are then used to create new products such as cans.

How Trash is Disposed

When trash is collected it may go to one of three places:

  • Landfill
  • Recycling facility
  • Waste to energy facility

If something ends up in a landfill, it will be compacted. In some places, landfills are used to produce energy. What happens is wastes such as food, and any other organic materials are broken down by bacteria to produce methane gas. The gas is then used to produce energy.

At a waste to energy facility high heat is used to break down the trash and convert it into energy that is used in homes, lastly at a recycling facility trash is repurposed for other uses e.g. a plastic bottle may be turned into a new product such as a jug. Questions?