Australia NSW - Household Waste Management

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INTRODUCTION

The issue of Waste Management is relevant to everyone. Wastes are substances that have no further economic use, and if disposed of in land, water, or air are potentially harmful to humans and/or the environment. Wastes include solid waste (litter, household garbage, industrial & commercial wastes), liquid wastes (sewage, stormwater), and air pollutants (greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide). Much of the waste created by humans cannot be naturally recycled & most of it is not managed in a sustainable manner. Most wastes take a long time to break down - plastic bags take up to 20 years, and cigarette butts take 1-5. Continuing to dump wastes in the manner we are using now is something, which is ecologically unstable and must be dealt with.

ANALYSIS OF THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLDS 'WHEELIE BIN'

Glass - 7.5%

Plastics - 4.9%

Steel & Aluminium - 2.5%

Food Waste - 26%

Paper Products - 24.6%

Garden Waste - 21%

Misc. (textiles, ceramics, other metals etc) - 13.5%

GEOLOGICAL PROCESSES

The first and most obvious geographical process that relates to household waste management is the creation of that original waste through human activities such as packaging, product usage, the consuming of fuel, and physical human waste. Each individual contributes huge amounts of waste, making Australia the second highest waste-producing nation in the world.

Another process involved with household waste management is the collection and organisation of the waste. In regard to general household waste, local councils usually have a weekly collection system for each household, and recyclables are often collected separately from general waste. These items, such as containers and paper, are recycled, which is much more helpful for the environment. Liquid waste from homes is organised by a sewerage system.

The last main process related to this issue is the disposal of that waste. The general household waste, which will take a long time to breakdown, is sent to landfill sites or sometimes burned. The liquid waste runs to a treatment plant, and is then dumped back into our water system. However an issue here is that sometimes the chemicals in the rubbish may pollute the water system or leak through the ground to the water table. Also, when rubbish is burned, dangerous chemicals can escape into the atmosphere. This is why waste must be managed carefully.

PERCEPTION OF DIFFERENT GROUPS

One main group involved in this issue is the New South Wales government, who is the body in charge of waste management in New South Wales. The government can affect waste management by creating new laws and concepts for manufacturers or even consumers. For example, a recent Bill that is being considered is the idea that all shopping centres charge for each plastic bag, to encourage the use of environment friendly, re-usable bags for shopping. The state government is also trying to encourage producers to use environment friendly materials for packaging and consumers into environmentally friendly attitudes.

Another group previously mentioned that is involved are the local governments, who manage the household waste on a small scale. Their organisation of the rubbish can change waste management by whether of not they provide recyclable bins, and their own environment campaigns.

Also, an often forgotten group that is related to this issue are the local communities of landfill, or proposed landfill sites. These communities may often be staunchly opposed to a landfill site, knowing the problem sit can cause, or may want better management of the waste so as to not affect their environment.

The last group involved is the individual citizen, which basically means everyone else. However, while many people may not care about the effect their rubbish is having on the environment, every citizen to should consider the role that we play in our environment and take the easy steps to help with waste management. This includes actions like...
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