Passing through the desk was a publication titled “Waste & Recycling News.” We couldn’t miss the headline that said, “Study Sees Global Trash Avalanche.” The story was a warning about the growth of solid waste.
The story reported that the World Bank researchers have predicted “a staggering increase” in municipal solid waste in the next 13 years and beyond. The study said municipal solid waste will increase from 1.43 billion tons per year to 2.42 billion tons per year in 2025. The cost to deal with the increase is expected to double to $375 billion annually.
It is clear that cities will face a challenge in waste management in the future even more than today as it already is costly to deal with. Collecting and hauling waste to a landfill, where it has to be managed also, is costly. Landfills have to meet governmental environmental requirements that can add to the cost. Landfills fill up and other sites have to be sought.
We are amazed at the solid waste that is along streets and roads — set out for collection. Households generate an incredible amount of waste due to people’s lifestyles. Almost everything we purchase creates waste. We have a question every time we take the plastic bags filled with waste that we place at the edge of the street. How can two people generate that much waste in a week? When the grandchildren visit, the more bags we set out. The same situation exists in millions of households across the country.
When you add the commercial and industrial waste, along with the residential, the waste is mind-boggling. Will the lack of landfill sites lead to other ways, or places, to dispose of waste? Such as burning it? Recycling helps and is a growing business.
We see no end of solid waste and while it has always been a problem, the challenge in the future is going to be much greater, and we’re going to pay more to rid ourselves of the trash generated by our way of life.