World Cities contemporary sustainablitity issues in urban areas waste management

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World Cities
Contemporary sustainability issues in urban areas: Waste management
The average person in the UK produces 517kg of household waste every year
Waste disposal in the UK is efficient so many people are not aware if the problems waste is
creating.
Recycling and alternatives
Reduction
Best way of managing waste is to prevent it
Businesses are encourage to reduce the amount of packaging being used
Customers can help by refusing plastic bags or opting for products that don't use
excessive packaging
Governments can act to help reduce waster
E.g. in Ireland there has been a 0.15Euro levy on plastic bags since 2002
Reuse
Reuse of milk containers, soft drink bottles and jam jars
`Bags for life'
Shops charge cash deposits on glass bottles to encourage their return
Recycling
Waste products such as paper, glass, metal cans, plastics and clothes can be
recycled if they are collected economically
Startup costs of recycling schemes can be high and the Markey value of the
material produced low
Some householders are unwilling to sort recyclables from other household waste
More complex electronics can be recycled but it more difficult due to needing to
dismantle.
Energy recovery
Waste material can be converted into energy
Main method is incineration
This adds to carbon emissions and releases pollutants into the atmosphere as well as
concentrating substances such as dioxins in the ash
Modern incinerators generate electricity of power neighbourhood heating schemes
Composting
Small scale, organic waste such as kitchen scraps and garden waste can be used to
fertilise gardens or farmland
On a bigger scale, anaerobic digestion is a form of composting that takes place in an
enclosed reactor
Biological treatment of organic waste speeds up the breakdown process
Gases produced (methane) can be burnt to generate electricity and solid residue
used as a soil conditioner

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In the UK dried sewage has been used in pellet form as a form of biomass fuel at a
cement works in Derbyshire
Landfill
Waste is dumped in old quarries or hollows
Nappies account for 15% of household waste and cost £40 million a year to
remove
Positives
Convenient and cheap
Properly designed and wellmanaged can be hygienic and inexpensive
Negatives
Unsightly and has a serious threat to groundwater and river quality toxic chemicals
can leach out and contaminate water
Attract Vermin
Windblown litter
Decaying…read more

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Recycling is an important part of everyday economy ­ people collect and make use
of other people's rubbish
Waste tips are scavenged for any recoverable or recyclable materials
Old tyres are cut up and used to make sandals
Washing machine doors are used as kitchen bowls and the drums as storage units
Glass bottles collected and returned to stores for refilling
Food waste collected and fed to animals of composted for use on vegetable plots
Tin cans and old oil drums used to make charcoal…read more

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