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Efficient Waste Management Is Good Business

In the current concentration on the impacts on the environment worldwide by the things mankind is doing there are a number of initiatives constantly being put forward as solutions. But
23 Jun 2018 10:00
Efficient Waste Management Is Good Business

In the current concentration on the impacts on the environment worldwide by the things mankind is doing there are a number of initiatives constantly being put forward as solutions.

But a common thread through the whole conversation is the residue left behind by business and industrial production activity problem and the common solution is to put in place actions or processes that will recognise the residue and minimise the damage it does to the environment.

 

Cost of proposals

Some of the proposals are very difficult to activate, either because of the cost, because of the limitations imposed on the normal day to day activities of businesses by the solution or because of a complexity that makes people ignore the proposal rather than incorporate it into their business plans.

And if any activity is not fully and easily included in normal activity there is almost no likelihood that it will start, let alone become a long term operation.

Waste from business and industrial activities is a major cause of pollution simply because it is not handled in the most efficient and least environmentally damaging way.

Certainly some types of waste, such as that from the daily activities of businesses have for centuries been disposed of efficiently and, in truth, a lot of business waste itself is not a bad polluter because it degrades easily and harmlessly.

 

Landscape pollution

But there are other segments of waste and refuse that contribute to the pollution of the landscape that are more difficult to control but are an unavoidable part of the production or industrial process

As an example, consider the issues with glass containers for wine, beer and soft drink.

The old way to handle the problem was to bury them, but they started to take up a lot of land space that could be better used, so they were then smashed into tiny pieces and buried, taking up less space.

But the glass was still there and would be for at least four thousand years, the time it takes to degrade.

Electric batteries are another case in point.

They are extremely damaging to the environment and indeed highly poisonous to humans so they are generally disposed of in landfill.

And over time they leach acid and other toxic substances into the soil that join the water system and flow down streams to the ocean.

 

Recycling systems

But in most cases, for business waste recycling is the preferred option.

In highly developed countries the national recycling systems are well established and the population is totally supportive and dedicated users.

Government provides places where the different styles of waste can be placed and they collect and recycle.

The recycling can produce new material the same as the waste, the most obvious ones being class and paper.

In Australia almost all beer and wine bottles are made from recycled glass with new glass being manufactured only to meet the demand for growing markets and even some of the finest writing and printing paper stock is made with  recycled fibre from old paper and cardboard.

Recycling in Fiji

For Fiji, recycling is particularly important, especially for the island tourist resorts where landfill facilities are very limited.

Even on the larger islands, suitable landfill space is becoming scarce.

It was because of this need that several companies have built  strong businesses.

There are now a good number of waste collection operations in the market, but not all recycle everything they collect.

In Fiji there are almost no recycling plants, except for a very successful toilet paper producer in Suva.

 

Off shore recycling

So anything that is actually recycled needs to be shipped off shore, usually to Australia or New Zealand.

To do this, a company takes all the waste to the local recycle plant where it is sorted into the different categories.

Then it is crushed into small and very compacted bundles prior to shipment to reduce the volume, packed into containers a (separate container for each type of waste as required by the overseas recyclers).

Then dispatched to off shore locations.

Because the off shore recyclers do not pay for the waste, a fee is charges at source.

In the last ten years, one company alone has exported close to two thousand twenty -foot equivalent containers.

Uncompressed this waste would be at least five times that volume, a huge amount of rubbish.

The companies provide collection bags or containers, (depending on the sort of waste being collected) and in many cases goes to the collection point often in the outer islands, to load the containers, which are then taken to the local recycle plant.

The whole process is well organised and efficient and costs are kept low.

 

Management of waste

Since the introduction of the collection and recycling services, there has been constant growth and is now an accepted part of the management of waste in most resorts and hotels.

The tourism industry knows the importance of a clean environment to the growth of the industry, particularly now, when the whole world is struggling with the degradation of their own surroundings and are actively engaging in measures to mitigate the impact.

There are other industries and operations that are now seeing the need to handle waste more responsibly and the waste business expects that growth over the next few years will be huge.

 

Proper disposal

They also warn that new customers should make sure that the company they are using is genuinely recycling the waste, and that has to be done by sending it off shore.

And not just collecting it from them and placing it in landfill on the mainland, or worse still, burning it and adding more carbon to the atmosphere.

As well as recycling waste some companies also offer a wheelie bin service for wet kitchen waste, a skip bin service for green and dry waste and a Bail Out service for grease trap and septic tank waste.

There is also a specialised service to handle one of the most damaging waste products for the ocean, oil in all its forms.

So now, waste management needs to be considered carefully and regarded by business as a part of the cost of doing business because mishandling waste disposal can not only foul the local environment, it can result in very heavy fines and even imprisonment.

Feedback:  maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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