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Source Reduction – Definition and Advantages In Waste Management

Solid waste management strategies have changed from end-of-pipe treatment technology to end-of-pipe waste reduction, in order to minimize environmental degradation. At the United Nation Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, an agreement among the participating nations emphasized the reducing waste, maximizing environmentally sound waste recycling and reuse should be the first step in waste management.

Advantages of Source Reduction

Source reduction has a very significant impact on a waste management system as it reduces both the quantity and the toxicity of the waste. It helps to promote the efficient use of discarded products and resources, as they have not been contaminated by the toxic or contaminated waste removed at source. This saves the cost of construction, operation and maintenance of centralized waste treatment and disposal options. It has other beneficial consequences in relation to climate change issues:

  • It reduces the consumption of energy through reuse of goods by consumers and use of minimum quantities of materials in industry. This leads to the production of fewer products, which ultimately saves the energy require to collect raw materials, to produce the products, and to transport them to the consumers.
  • Emission at treatment and disposal sites are reduced.
  • Pressures on vegetative cover and trees are decreased as source reduction minimizes the demand of raw materials for new products.

Current lifestyle, particularly in weather societies, have increased the demand for convince and time -saving goods, and the demand for new products. This has led countries to generate huge quantity of solid waste and there is great potential for reducing much of this waste at sources in wealthier communities, particularly in industrialized countries. Some governments and private industries in industrialized countries now sponsor education campaigns about waste minimization and hazard reduction. Some governments provide subsidies for a wide range of intensities for waste minimization and hazard reduction. There are lows and policies favoring the  reuse and recycling of products in industrialized countries. Extensive waste reduction strategies using traditional practices of repair, reuse, and waste trading and recycling by the informal sector, in poorer parts of the developing world, play a remarkable role in source reduction. In most countries the informal sectors is not part of the national management plants. For example, as in other developing countries, the recycling of solid waste materials from the waste stem is carried out at various stage in most of the urban areas in Bangladesh. The first stage is at individual household level, where housewives separate refuse with a good market value, such as clean papers, bottles,containers,old cloth, shoes, etc. and sell it directly to waste material shops or to street hawkers. In developing countries, more attention needs to be paid to design stratagem plans to regulate percentage practices, and to change the behavior and attitude to different actors involved in waste management. This is needed to improve  the environment safety of traditional practices of refuse, recycling and waste treading by the informal sectors.