Recycling and Trash Collection in Modern Countries
Garbage becomes a community problem in many countries. The household contributes a big part of the national municipal solid waste, but indeed the bigger part comes from the industry and business operations. For the U.S., this waste product has hit a very astonishing count. Goldstein, N. And Madtes, C. (2000) claimed that the states had produced around 409,029,000 tons of municipal solid waste in 2000.
Trash stacks travel through several paths, addressing mostly to their final destination in local landfills or recycling centers. Although there are different methods applied and researched properly, the field execution differs in each country. Many countries have implemented different policies depending on the amount of garbage piling in concentrated location, open landfill availability, and at the same time, they also work on developing certain infrastructures to suffice the landfill location shortage, environmental concern and also the applicable funding system for the community.
Capital cities and industrial areas are where the topmost waste management problems occur. Big cities often have complicated situations dealing with urban issues, limitation of safe space for final disposal area, pollution, and the high living cost that results in the increasing trash collection and disposal fees.
The major approaches of trash come into three common categories: landfills, incineration, and recycling. The implementation of each procedure varies depending on the place and local policy. However, in general, landfill is the most commonly used to eat the trash in many regions.
In Facing America's Trash (1989), landfill use is considered inappropriate in the future. When a landfill is open, sometimes the function as "open dumping" is the only practice carried out, while close supervision on the sanitary control to the neighborhood and the soil pollution is rarely well implemented. Many landfills have contaminated the soil and groundwater; on the other hand, gases material as the result of prolonged decomposition process under the ground may explode poisonous gas like methane that endanger the living things in the area. For this reason, it is difficult to establish new landfills nowadays that meet the hygiene and esthetic requirement of the surrounding community (p. 271).
While technical matters relate directly to the effectiveness of implemented program, certain orders also play critical role as they determine exactly how a waste management practice is controlled, and how they apply in suitable manner for the country. It will ensure the constant accomplishment of the program and build strong basic for future development.
In different regions, governments apply diverse policies. This is quite understandable, since they naturally set specific goals in the plans that differ from each other. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report, as cited in Mohninger (1999), Canada, for example, has an exclusive goal on its "No Waste" program to reduce landfills. Therefore the country also applies the subsequent implementation design to apply in the community, such as encouraging employees from business and industry offices to do recycling themselves, which also takes the consequences to provide them enough infrastructures and required skills or trainings to utilize the equipments effectively.
Major countries with special concerns on solid waste management have been working under specified government rules within continuous overseeing and program development. At least, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
OECD) reported that several countries including Germany, Canada, and the U.S. have developed consistent programs.
From this review, solid wastes are categorized differently to provide enough background information for every country's government to develop strategic pattern, which is suitable with each specific issue in the local dumping areas. OECD report mentioned that governments currently work on five types of wastes as follows: "to reduce paper consumption, paper recycling, the reduction and recycling of office products, the recycling of construction and demolition debris, and the composting of organic waste." (Mohninger, 1999).
Not only the U.S., European countries and Japan also pay full attention to apposite management in handling such refuse. The governments establish certain regulations to deal with the production and closely monitor the development in technology to support the remediation programs. Although some practices are similar, the condition in each country may differ from others. It depends on the background and awareness of the citizens, as well as the available resources in every country.
The Japanese had started practicing careful management in solid waste since the 17th century. Although the regulation in this Edo (government) age did not address specifically to solid trash, they had put waste under several categories, which encouraged them to manage each type of the refuse properly. "Household waste," belonged to the first criteria, followed by road and drain garbage, "floating junks" in the waterways, and "waste from fire" (Hanley, 2001, par. 13).
They had employed official rules, especially when dealing with human waste, which seemed to be a very important priority, to keep the environment clean, not only by encouragement, but also by law. As the result of the policy, many proper waste disposals were established to replace the riverbank makeshift toilets, as early as in the middle of the 17th century (Hanley, 2001, par. 14).
In "Separation of Garbage Is the Global Citizen's Habit" (2001), the Japanese agreed for their inherited care for the environment cleanliness, even admitted that they once used to be "a totally recycling society" at that time. It is reported that the system really made use of all thrown-away materials, which then reprocessed into another functional items. Apparently, new approaches and innovation in technology have been invented to renew the benefit from human used clothes to human waste.
In the present time, the number of wastes disposed increase rapidly, sometimes makes it unmanageable to handle if one wants to meet the hygiene capacity in the past. The government started to encourage people to use the trash sorting facilities. They also set a certain goal to reduce the amount of national waste. The first place to start is within the government organization, where according to 1996 OECD Document cited by Mohninger (1999), would be released from the traditional method of waste sorting and dumping. The government planned to provide internal paper recycling equipment that the offices would be able to participate directly in waste reduction and recycling program, as well as to control their own use of paper.
One of the UN's programs in Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific noted that Japan has instigated a good practice in encouraging its people in solving the garbage problem.
Trash problem is serious in Japan. Many of the solid and paper wastes come from the wrapping in the industry. The Japanese are used to the sophisticated wrapping of merchandise products that often consume a lot of paper and plastic packaging.
Traditionally, the waste always ends up in the landfills like what happens in other countries. Recently, the scientists also found out that some parts of the garbage were drifted away by the stream and sea waves to the Pacific.
Before 1997 there were three collections made weekly in households, but later the government decided to change the policy into fortnight-collections and one recycling session. They began to apply the pay-as-you-throw system, using trash collection stickers to put on each trash bag in every house. People need to pay every time they need to dump their waste. In this way, people would manage to produce less - and controlled - rubbish than they used to do. This system also allows the community to fund their own garbage collection and management.
B. The United Kingdom
During the period of 1998-1999, the United Kingdom chose to have appropriate assignment for waste management, as nowadays England commonly produces 28 million municipal wastes, out of 400 million tones annual figure. Most of them (about 83%) went directly to landfills, while the other eight percent were processed to incinerator. Only nine percent got the way to the recycling plants (Pellaumail, K. 2001).
Landfills seem to be the only place where the country set to vanish the garbage out of the way, but from the available place, it seems that England will be short of free new dumping ground within a decade. As for the alternative, incinerator has not gained much popularity either, since many people still suspect for its potentially lung damaging smoke (Kirby, 2002, par. 13-14).
The government had improved the regulation, by strictly setting target to suppress the landfill approach and moving forward to encourage recycling. A White Paper released in 1995 had included the government's long-term goal, as they said that "the proportion of controlled waste being sent to landfill to 60% of 1995 levels by 2005" (UK DETR, 1998 as cited in Mohninger, 1999).
To this positive movement, a wave of environmental awareness swept parts of the departments that they began carrying out annual waste audit, worked out strategies to solve trash problems in every department, as well as encouraged internal process and provided the facilities to anticipate outdated trash piles. Facilities also improved with the availability of multi-colored trash bins so that people would be able to…