Waste management solutions
how to shape the future of waste?
Find out more about the importance of waste management, solutions for sustainable waste disposal and how you can contribute to it.
With the increasing urbanization, waste management is a major global issue that governments face daily. The overproduction of waste has been causing negative impacts on our environment.
Waste reduction and valorization need to be taken to the next level. What are sustainable solutions for waste disposal & management?
Waste management solutions
The Solar Impulse Label is granted to innovative waste management solutions that meet high standards of sustainability and profitability.
Each solution goes through a strict assessment process performed by independent experts.
Prototype in lab
A scalable gasifier for decentralised waste management generating ecologically-minded energy.
Solution to eradicate the use of disposable cups and improve the way of drinking in professional environment.
Acid regeneration system enabling recovery of waste acid components created through pickling of stainless steel.
An eco-designed mobile thermal storage solution for industrial waste heat recovery and renewable storage in recycled ceramics.
What can you do?
What is waste management?
First of all, there are many types of waste: municipal (household, commercial and demolition waste), hazardous (industrial), biomedical, electronic (e-waste), radioactive, etc. Waste management includes the collection, transport, valorization and disposal of these waste. More broadly, it includes any activity involved in the organization of waste management from production to final treatment.
The main principles of waste management are:
- 1. Waste hierarchy, referring to the “3Rs rule” Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, waste prevention and minimisation being the most desirable goal.
- 2. Extended producer responsibility, adding all the environmental costs to the market price of a product, including end-of-life disposal.
- 3. The polluter pays principle, requiring that a waste generator pays for the appropriate disposal of the waste.
Waste disposal methods
Each type of waste corresponds to a management process. To properly manage waste, pre-sorting is necessary. This sorting allows the separation of recyclable from non-recyclable waste, and subsequently the energy recovery.
Waste management techniques include:
A landfill, sometimes referred to as a garbage dump, is a place where waste is generally stored on the ground. Landfills are the most common and cheapest method for waste disposal in the world.
Incineration of waste is a technique of transformation by the action of fire. Waste combustion can be used to produce electricity and heat, but also is an important source of air pollution.
Recycling is the physical reprocessing of old materials such as metals, plastics and e-waste - industrial or household - into new products. The type of material collected for recycling can vary depending on the city and country.
Composting is a process of conversion and recovery of organic matter into a stabilized, hygienic, soil-like product rich in humic compounds: the compost. Anaerobic digestion is a process similar to composting, that allows the treatment of organic waste and sludge by fermentation in the absence of oxygen.
The collection of household waste is usually done by means of garbage trucks, which go to each point of garbage production to collect garbage. There are also collection systems where a network centralizes waste, such as automated vacuum collection.
Energy recovery from waste, often called waste-to-energy, is the process converting non-recyclable waste materials into usable heat, fuel or electricity through combustion, anaerobic digestion, gasification, pyrolyzation, etc.
Waste management benefits
Sustainable waste management is a key concept of the circular economy and offers many opportunities:
Waste management involves collecting, sorting, treating, recycling, and when properly facilitated providing a source of energy and resources. Therefore, it has a huge economic potential that needs to be leveraged by public and private entities.
Besides creating jobs, improved waste management leads to a better quality of life for local populations, by improving hygiene conditions and reducing health risks related to illegal dumping and inadequate garbage collection.
The main advantage of sustainable waste management is to lessen the impact on the environment, by improving air and water quality and contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Besides, reducing food waste also helps reduce the heavy environmental cost of producing more.
Challenges & disadvantages
The first one while promoting recycling is to make sure both consumers and recyclers are protected from toxic and dangerous substances that can be found in waste.
Moreover, this cannot be seen as a short-term lucrative investment as it obviously requires a lot of money to implement sustainable waste management strategies.
3.Quality of recycled products
Downcycling, the recycling process that turns waste into products of inferior quality, can cause a problem regarding the quality of secondary products.
A challenge, #1000 Solutions to change the world
For the first time a label proves the economic profitability of solutions that protect the environment. The Solar Impulse Foundation is selecting 1,000 solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way and awarding them the Solar Impulse Efficient Solutions Label.
Collaborating with independent experts and with renowned institutions, the World Alliance proposes to evaluate its members solutions free of charge.
The Solar Impulse Efficient Solutions label will offer a competitive edge to innovators and a guarantee of quality to solution seekers.