Central as well as local governments, third sector and retailers should even more influence and support consumer behaviours to tackle food waste in the country.
A new report says that ‘it is of concern’ that the country continues to waste food on such a large scale, and efforts need to apply across food supply chains from farm to fork to cut waste and generate economic, social and environmental benefits.
100 million tonnes of food are wasted each year, of which sixty million tonnes is avoidable.
Food wastage can occur at any stage of the food chain from farm to fork. Half the food waste occurs in the home, with the average household throwing away the equivalent of six meals every week at a cost of S150 – $250 a year.
In total, $65 billion of food bought by consumers is wasted each year. Some 22 per cent of the edible fresh produce bought by householders is not eaten. Retail and distribution operations produce only 3 per cent of the food waste (4 million tonnes annually) with manufacturing generating some 27 per cent (4 million tonnes a year).
Programmes have driven reductions of 21 per cent in avoidable household food waste since 2017. However, there is a need to decrease levels further, not least to meet targets of reducing food waste by 30 per cent by 2025 (compared to 2007).
Since the inquiry finished taking evidence, the Commission has published a work programme for 2025 under which the circular economy proposals which covered food waste have been withdrawn, pending revised proposals to be produced in 2021.
As well as working alongside a number of top food retailers, there have been plenty of stories of supermarkets taking positive action when it comes to tackling the food waste issue.
North East Lincolnshire Council have been asking residents in their area whether they want the option to buy their Garden Waste Bin.
An Austin local recycling initiative
Austin Residents will have to pay $20 to keep their garden waste bins otherwise they will have to dispose of their waste themselves.
Possibilities of fly tipping in the area could happen as a result of this new change. Government budgets have been blamed for the new charges claimed the former labour leader of Texas.
Residents were given a month to apply after letters were sent out to households. An interesting alternative was that they have charged their households for the last 12 months with no detrimental effects on recycling.
Details for residents who don’t wish to purchase their bins are on the council’s website. It now comes down to two options for the residents, pay for your bin to have your garden waste taken away or remove it yourself at the local recycle centre.
Texas is determined to tackle the growing problem of global food waste.
Whether it’s an anaerobic digestion partnership or a food company sending fresh produce to food banks before it becomes unusable, there seems to be no limit to the imagination of some retailers when it comes to handling food that can no longer be sold.
Which is why it’s no surprise that a recent report by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found that food waste from supermarkets and their depots only contributes 1.3% of the total amount of wasted food.
Data collected by the Retail Consortium and compiled into a report by WRAP showed the benefits of proper waste management by retailers and also how it contributes to the waste economy as a whole.
Of the 115 million tonnes of food thrown away every year, 50% is generated in homes and collected by local authorities, compared to 3,200,000 tonnes (1.3 per cent) from the retail sector.
Austin waste management also estimated in the report that in the five years between 2015 and 2020 that food and drink waste by grocery retailers dropped by as much as 10%.
“Our members are pleased to introduce new levels of transparency into the supply chain and today’s figures tell a positive story about the vast efforts grocery retailers have made to reduce their food waste to only 1.3 per cent of the total,” said Andrew Opie, BRC’s director of food and sustainability.
“At the same time we all need to continue to focus on where we can make the biggest reductions in food waste and that is in the supply chain and the home. We have a huge contribution to make and will continue our work with suppliers and consumers to build on the progress we have already made.”
A new food recycling machine billed as a ‘mechanical stomach’ could be the key to turning the excess of food waste into little more than water at a staggering rate, as the first of it’s kind in the USA goes online in Austin.
The problem with science and scientific debate is evidently that when a research area such as climate change becomes popular, the interests of politics and the large media stakeholders with their relationships with big establishment business enterprises come into play.
This is more or less unavoidable.
Scientists do their work and collaborate in teams, gain research funding, conduct their research in the laboratory and the field, and publish in peer reviewed journals … only to be surprised, bemused or disgusted, etc., by the over simplification and misrepresentation of their work in the hands of politicians, the media and big business that require a different point of view in order to protect their own interests, stay legitimate and appeal to the popular consciousness, etc.
Then come along the vehement, self-selecting opposers.
Trials of strength in science and society
It comes down to ‘trials of strength’ as they say in Science studies. In the laboratory, the idea of trials of strength for scientists is an important one as it allows the empirical exercise of representing and mobilising reality to run its course: with continuing research, it’s reasonable to assume that weak models will eventually fail, false hypotheses will eventually be shown to be as such, etc.
Importantly, competing research teams asserting different hypotheses will need to submit to the same competition regarding trials of strength; only one hypothesis can end up winning because of the Law of non-contradiction, yet several can be maintained indefinitely as long as it’s not clear either way. In climate science and waste management, however, it’s been clear for quite some time, yet politics continue…
The empirical data, models and theories are popularised beyond academic circles; as this happens, the issues quickly slide from understandings of scientific facts, techniques and formulas, the empirical research concerned, and the theories and models proposed, etc.
One area where this is particularly true is recycling and sustainability. It could be hard at times to find dumpster rentals in Fort Worth or elsewhere in Texas, but pollution is directly related to climate change. Pollution like climate change will affect all of us, so we should react accordingly with better waste management solutions.
Science, reality and rhetoric
Reducing science to rhetoric is bad for science and society as we depend increasingly on science and its results and applications to keep us healthy, mobile and to get us out of trouble … and, in the case of climate change, serious trouble.
We need some empirical basis to remain, some relationship to reality. Reducing legitimate, opposing scientific claims to rhetoric and mere political motivation is also bad for those who wish to assert their own case as scientific and legitimate in comparison.
This is an asymmetrical approach, and it can be a trap because the accusations of rhetoric/politics should seemingly work both ways … unless there are strong reasons to believe that something else is more important, such as the scientific claims.
Inadequate asymmetrical arguments, however, are easy to slide into and easy to be led into as well by the opposition…
The vulnerability of climate change science to attack
The problem that climate science faces is that the opposition is too keen to slide into asymmetrical arguments, which unfortunately are so transparent that once climate change supporters engage directly with the rhetoric, they too often succumb to the same charge: “What we have is science but what you have is political rhetoric and wrong science or pseudoscience … because it’s politically motivated.”
Getting back to the science: avoiding asymmetrical arguments while competing through building asymmetrical networks of allies
How do we get away from this catch 22 and avoid getting wrapped up in the politics and back and forth of it all as science disseminates and attempts to extend its influence? Well, you can and you can’t…
But there are several important points to consider here:
Keep focused on the science that’s most important for the debate. Don’t be led by the opposition’s attacks if they’re politically digressive and asymmetrical. Reorient towards the important points about the science and its recommendations … and repeat them repeatedly;
Continue to do science, disseminate it, and/or help to disseminate it as effectively, widely and often as possible;
Develop and strengthen your list of allies from sub-atomic particles in the laboratory to politicians, big business, and the hearts and minds of the those in their own small world networks. This requires extra-scientific action (i.e., soci0-political action), but the contents of the science should come along with that action.
Moreover, an ally will allow the science to have an important role and be respected. The list could be much longer than that.
Trials of strength are about gaining and maintaining a long list of allies
It’s evidently important to trace the networks of associations through the system of power. We need to know what and whom we’re dealing with, where the networks of alliances lead and what their motivations are.
When they’re significant. these connections need to be exposed publicly while referencing science. For example, oil companies and their long list of allies want to extract all the oil that’s still available for their own profit, regardless of the consequences for the world and the rest of us; because of the limits on the carbon debt related to projected climate change demonstrated by the IPCC, we simply just can’t afford it.
Importantly, the victors engaged in trials of strength are those with the greatest number of allies, which evidently includes the most powerful ones. This has been thrashed out in Science studies, particularly by Bruno Latour (I don’t agree with everything he says, of course, but he’s got quite a bit of content to get your head around, and you’ll be tracing the connections in networks forevermore…), over the past several decades but comes as no surprise to the politically minded.
Running the gauntlet of science, politics, society, and the environment
The understanding and requirements of trials of strength and asymmetrical networks can’t be reduced to a how-to manual, though, because everyone involved needs to run the gauntlet to see what results; moreover, alliances can be fragile or intractably enduring, which may be good or bad for your interests in particular.
Unfortunately, in science, political allies are necessary because they’re the ones who assist in the amplifying work of disseminating science (even allowing the science to be done to begin with) and eventually instituting its recommendations … if the science can first make it through the quagmire of heterogeneous interests and rampant misrepresentation, etc.
I should probably reference Sunzi and ‘The Art of War’ here: know yourself, your enemy and the terrain, and use a variation of tactics with flexibility, etc., etc. It’s a long list, too.
Sounds like political warfare rather than science, unfortunately. But, in fact, it’s scientific warfare with effective network building strategies as its necessary and embedded ally.
If the politics or the science is your enemy or weak point, you could be in serious trouble one way or another. Find yourself more allies and better allies fast … particularly within yourself.[Top]
How can you tell if “green” cleaning products are really safer?
You’ve probably seen, or even used, cleaning products, drain cleaners, and personal care products that make claims of being environmentally friendly, earth friendly, eco friendly, or some other benefit to the user and the planet. Unfortunately, not every “green” product is as friendly as another.
Back in 1960, the U.S. government passed the Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act, which required hazardous and potentially dangerous substances packaged for home use to have warning labels.
This sounds helpful, but at the same time, it allowed companies not to reveal dangerous ingredients in household products unless harmful side effects appeared immediately after improper use.
As an example, chlorine bleach must thus be labeled “poisonous” if swallowed, but not as hazardous when disposed.
Chlorine bleach, also known as sodium hyperchlorite, is toxic to fish and other aquatic life if it makes its way to a body of water. When bleach is mixed with ammonia, another chemical found in many cleaning products, highly toxic chloramines gas is created. Mix bleach with common toilet-bowl cleaners and you can create chlorine gas, which is also highly poisonous.
Chlorine is also the base compound found in organochlorines, which were used to develop several pesticides (including DDT, endrin, and chlordane) that are now banned because of their persistence in the environment, and possible linkage to cancer.
So which of the new so-called “green” products are truly safe for the environment and less toxic or non-toxic for the homeowner?
The answer is twofold:
1.) Ideally, homeowners can make most of their own cleaning products using safer, non-toxic ingredients found at their local department store, grocery store, or pharmacy. One easy example is using undiluted white vinegar as a drain cleaner instead of the strong acidic or basic commercial drain cleaners sold at stores. There are homemade recipes for virtually every household cleaner and polish.
2.) The second, but less preferred alternative is to buy products that have been proven to be safer than the common commercial products. This can be done by purchasing products that have achieved the United States Protection Agency (USEPA) Design for the Environment (DFE) program.
In this program, companies apply to the USEPA for partnership and prove their products meet EPA standards, which are that the ingredients used are the safest in the class of chemicals used.
This does not mean they are the safest product available – just that they are the safest in their class.
One web site with even more stringent standards requiring products that not only are non-toxic and non-corrosive, but free from carcinogens (as determined by five different major agencies), mutagens (as determined by the United Nations) and truly biodegradable (as certified by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development) is Green Seal.
We can all make a difference in the environment by reducing the amount of toxins we use in our own homes.
Use cleaners with safe chemical compositions
Many of the commercial cleaning products available to homeowners today are made up of dangerous chemicals with formulas that would impress any chemical engineer. Examples of these include oven cleaners and toilet cleaners.
Since industries are heavily regulated, the handling of many of these same hazardous chemicals in an industrial setting would require some or all of the following:
- heavy-duty safety precautions
- plenty of personal protective clothing
- chemical resistant gloves
- safety goggles
- splash-proof clothing
- chemical resistant boots
- respiratory protection
Ironically, homeowners are not regulated in their use of these dangerous chemicals. However, they are expected by the manufacturers to read the all of the safety instructions, buy the protective equipment, and carefully handle these harsh chemicals. And the manufacturers think they will do all of this without any training.
For your own protection, we highly recommend you buy the safer green products that are becoming more available every day. The chemical composition varies for many of these hazardous household products used for cleaning, and the known health effects of exposing ourselves to these dangerous chemicals can be dramatic.
There are alternative cleaners: “green clean” products you can buy in the store; and home made cleaners you can make yourself.
Whether you make your own homemade cleaning products or buy green products that are safer, you will be ensuring that you and your family are not exposed to dangerous chemicals.
Are Your pets in danger of accidental poisoning from these common chemicals
There are many poisons in our homes, and some of them might surprise you.
Antifreeze for cars is highly toxic to humans and pets, as it it’s chemical composition is primarily ethylene glycol or propylene glycol.
Ethylene glycol does not have a distinct odor, but it has a sweet taste. Propylene glycol is practically odorless and tasteless. Our digestive systems turn these two chemicals into oxalic acid, which is highly poisonous.
If ethylene glycol or propylene glycol are swallowed in large quantities (less for a small pet), they can cause serious, irreversible damage to the kidneys, nervous system, lungs and heart. If you are a pet owner, you want your home to be a safe place for your pets.
Poisonous house and garden plants, like many lilies (Lily of the Valley is very toxic), rhubarb, and poinsettia and mistletoe are very poisonous, and are another danger to our furry friends.
A much more comprehensive list of poisonous plants can be found on the Cornell web site. One of the primary poisons in the plants listed above is oxalic acid, which is also the harmful chemical our bodies produce if we swallow antifreeze, either ethylene or propylene glycol.
Rat or mouse baits contain another poison some of our pets get into, either by finding the bait and eating it directly or by eating a rodent that has already eaten the poison.
The most common ingredient is rodent bait is warfarin, a blood thinner also known as Coumadin, which is prescribed in smaller doses to thin the blood of people at risk for heart attacks, blood clots, and strokes.
The best way to keep your pets safe from these poisons is to learn which poisons are in your house and garden and either remove them from where they can be eaten or fence the animal away from the poison. To avoid possible poisoning from rodent baits, use mechanical traps instead.[Top]
In-Depth Understanding of the Best Waste Disposal Methods
Why is an in-depth understanding of the best Waste disposal methods available in each of your locations important? Options make all of the difference.
Do you know the following for each of your company’s locations:
• How many Waste Haulers are operating.
• How many of the Haulers operate Landfills.
• How many of the Landfills are certified to accept your type(s) of waste.
• What types of waste disposal methods do they offer.
• How many Haulers offer “Zero Waste” options.
• Who are the most trustworthy and cost-effective Haulers.
The answers to the above will vary by Market. Do you think the single person or small group running a self-administered Waste program is going to have this in-depth understanding? Not a chance! The in-depth understanding that a “good” 3rd Party Waste & Recycling Firm has, will not only maximize cost reductions, but will also help improve their Client’s Environmental Sustainability, as well as keep the Client in compliance with regulatory requirements.
Expertise Regarding Available Recycling Programs & Facilities
Why is the Expertise of knowing what Recycling Programs & Facilities are available at each of your locations important?
The simple answer is the more “weight” you can take out of the Waste containers, the less you pay the Haulers. The more recycling your locations do, the less waste is produced. Sounds like a simple concept, right?
The big question is, does the single person or small group running a self-administered Waste & Recycling program know all of the available recycling options in every area where they have locations? Again, not a chance! The recycling “boom” is consistently creating more and better recycling opportunities throughout the Country.
Today, there are “many” more options for recycling programs. Below are a few to get you thinking:
• Shrink Wrap
• Wood Pallets / Crates
• E-Waste (Electronic Waste)
• Universal Waste (Light Bulbs, Batteries, etc.)
• Paper / Shredding
• Food Waste / Composting
• Oil / Grease
This is a short list that just scratches the surface. There are recycling “experts” that do not know what recycling programs are being offered in all parts of the Country. So don’t think that your self-administered program is going to fare any better.
The “good” Waste & Recycling Management Firm will not only know all of the available recycling programs throughout the Country, but they will also be on the cutting edge of what new programs and facilities are planned. As a matter of fact, a “good” Management Firm will be able to “create” new recycling programs by taking a type of waste and contacting Recycling companies to figure out a way to recycle it.
The Waste Management Firm’s expertise regarding available Recycling programs & facilities will assist their Client’s in maximizing their Recycling efforts, which will significantly reduce their Waste costs. This will also significantly improve the Client’s Environmental Sustainability by reducing the amount of Waste going to Landfills.
Ongoing Waste & Recycling Program Oversight and Reporting
So what typically happens to a self-administered Waste & Recycling program?
Well, since Waste & Recycling is usually such a “low” priority, once an RFP or Program has been put in place, for the most part it is forgotten. There are so many other higher priorities that Waste & Recycling easily becomes an afterthought until next year or 3 years later when the next contract cycle comes up. Are you familiar with the saying “Whatever you want to manage, you have to measure”?
This applies to Waste & Recycling as well. The typical scenario in a self-administered program is that shortly after the contract / program is in place, the program guidelines become fuzzy and the process begins to breakdown. Also, if no one is keeping a consistent watch over the proverbial “hen-house” then all sorts of issues begin to arise.
The guidelines are forgotten, employees and vendors go back to the “same old same old”, and unaccounted for charges, price increases, fees, surcharges, etc. can occur.
One very valuable aspect of a “good” Waste & Recycling Management Firm like some SC waste management firms is their ability to consistently track and manage the progress of a Client’s plan.
They have the resources (manpower and technical ability) to make sure the program is meeting or exceeding its goals. Their Account Management and Customer Service departments stay in constant contact with key Corporate and location contacts to reinforce the program goals.
Their AP Department keeps an eye on all Hauler invoices to make sure no “additional” charges, price increases, fees, surcharges, etc. are ever allowed on the Client’s invoice. As well, their resources track and report all waste related information in their CRM (Customer Resource Management) tools, which they are able to use to track and manage the positive progress of the program.
Remember, “Whatever you want to manage, you have to measure”? Having a “good” Management Firm will definitely keep the program on track. They will be able to measure progress so as to keep it moving in the right direction.[Top]
Economic activity has always generated waste, but the phenomenon has clearly increased with the consumer society.
In 1510 an investigation is carried out by the authorities: the air has become unbreathable since the exploitation of coal in the city. A doctor says that the smoke produced is dangerous, that no one can stand such an odor, and that as a result people may die suddenly. Proof that pollution is already seen as a scourge that must be protected. In 1673, the foul-smelling tanneries were expelled from Paris and, a century later, laundries and dyers followed the same path.
At that time, the health and well-being of the population was still the priority. Things were reversed during the industrial revolution. With this new era where industry becomes all-powerful, we no longer care about local residents or nature. In 1774, a memorable trial began this turning point: intoxicated by the leaks of sulfuric acid escaping from the Holker factory, residents attacked the industrialist, demanding compensation and the relocation of the factory.
They are rejected because the production is considered of national interest! Industrial pollution, it is at this point that the expression appears, is perceived as the price to be paid for progress and economic development. So we stoically support the fumes.
Pollution in modern times
After 1945, the advent of the consumer society amplified the phenomenon: everyone now has the means to become a polluter on their own scale. If a few voices are raised to worry about this pollution, they are inaudible.
A series of dramas in the 1970s and 1980s forced the world opinion to open their eyes.
First in the United States, where 1969 is a dark year: in California, the beaches of Santa Barbara are soiled by the leaks of an oil platform, and in Cleveland (Ohio), the Cuyahoga River catches fire under the effect of flammable products spilled on it.
In France, it was the sinking of the Amoco Cadiz off the coast of Finistère in 1978 that raised awareness. Broadcast on television, images of thousands of birds stuck in the black mire upset the whole country. Demonstrations are improvised in the region. What will Brittany be like when I turn 20? Can we read on a sign brandished by a kid. Thousands of volunteers come to help the locals to clean the beaches for weeks.
Pollution has become a concern. A 1981 poll found that 47% of people considered environmental problems very important, and 42% important. But not to the point of changing their way of life. After all, the Amoco Cadiz oil spill only affected a small part of Brittany. If you are not from there, you can still think you are spared.
After Chernobyl, mentalities change
On April 26, 1986, reactor 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in Ukraine, and a radioactive cloud covered Europe.
In France, there’s panic. In early May, they stop buying fruits and vegetables for fear of contamination. Sales of strawberries and asparagus plummet by more than 30%. Geiger counters, which measure ionizing radiation, are appearing everywhere: the Skyrock radio makes daily readings, while a journalist measures vegetables. This time, there is no longer any question of hiding behind your little finger: pollution concerns everyone.
In an attempt to limit its effects, decisions are multiplying. In 1991, Europe tackled nitrates that contaminate water in agricultural areas, and introduced the first standard for combustion engine emissions a year later. In France, the 1992 law lays down the principle of recycling. Paying attention to the environment is gradually becoming a habit: the time is over when, as in this scene from a movie, you dump your trash in nature after a picnic …
The fight against pollution integrates educational programs. Everywhere, green alternatives are developing: Japan and Germany are betting on solar energy by funding roofs covered with photovoltaic panels in 1995, and the first wind farm was established in France in 2001 in the Somme.
The ecological cause is now embodied by freshly converted people: little concerned with environmental issues at the start of his career, Commander Cousteau played a role in the media coverage of the Earth Summit in Brazil in 1992. And Nicolas Hulot, first photographer and backpacker, created in 1990 the Ushuaïa Foundation – renamed since Nicolas-Hulot Foundation for nature and man.
However, the efforts made have little weight in the face of a general deteriorating situation. We realize this at the dawn of the 2000s with a new oil spill in Brittany, that of the oil tanker Erika, on December 12, 1999.
Two years earlier, the American navigator Charles J. Moore discovered that a gigantic continent of plastic waste is floating in the Pacific. There has also been a failure to manage nuclear waste, most of which has a lifespan of 100,000 years and which we do not know what to do with.
Scientific analysis of pollution
The scientific work relating to the impact of pollution on our health is increasing. In 2002, a study carried out by the cardiologist Yves Cottin proves that when the quantity of fine particles exceeds 25 micrograms per cubic meter, the number of heart attacks jumps by 161%.
Pesticides are now presented as potential serial killers. A grain farmer becomes the symbol of these dangers. A heavy user of phytosanitary products, in 2004 he inhaled toxic vapors while bending over a tank filled with herbicides and has since accumulated neurological problems. In 2007, he filed a complaint for lack of information against Monsanto, which markets the herbicide in question, Lasso, which was banned the same year. The agrochemical giant was ordered to compensate him in 2012, but appealed against this decision.
The 2000s are the years of another realization: pollution does not just harm our health, it hampers the climate. Waste management companies like Little Rock Dumpster Rental HQ try to help clean the mess, but junk removal is not enough. While the first two reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, created in 1988) had gone relatively unnoticed, the third, published in 2001, is widely reported in the media. As well as the hypothesis – now proven – that climate change is anthropogenic.
Many people realized that warming was a problem during the heat wave of 2003, because it showed the weaknesses of our system in the event of an extreme episode, according to expert climatologists.[Top]
In the Middle Ages (from 476 to 1453)
Around the year 1000, men began to regroup in cities. The inhabitants throw their waste, excrement, animal carcasses on the street or in rivers. The bourgeois residences in large cities (Munich, Lyon, Paris, etc.) are certainly equipped with latrines, but their pipes lead directly into the streets!
The streets are then muddy, dirty and smelly, rats spread there. Live pigs and dogs roaming freely in the street clean the city by eating garbage, vagrants “treat” also part of this waste.
People even walk with clogs with high heels, so as not to get our feet dirty! In Paris it is the time of epidemics. No longer able to bear the smell, Philippe Auguste orders in 1184 to pave the main streets and creates central canals and ditches for cleaning certain areas. Four hundred years later, only half the streets are paved.
In all the neighborhoods, wells are created where everyone must dump their rubbish and in 1343, Charles V built covered evacuation ditches to avoid the odors. The garbage is therefore stored in eccentric places or reserved public places, it is certainly a change … but it is limited: they moved the problem without solving it …
But despite this, people most often refuse to take garbage to the expected places, they continue to pollute the rivers which serve as a garbage chute and throw their domestic waste in the streets, resulting in bacterial infiltration into the soil and causes epidemics of plague, cholera and typhus.
In Europe, the most important epidemic was the Black Plague of 1347 which made 25 million deaths. At that time, the locals think it’s the smell of garbage that makes people sick and unaware even though this garbage is teeming with bacteria …
Junk collection in modern times
In the 1960s, global consumption exploded: waste was therefore multiplied by 10 with the chemical industry and new materials, especially plastics.
Since then, we have entered the era of disposable items (pens, razors, batteries, etc.) and of ready-made consumables: fast food, wipes, packaged ready meals, pre-cooked vegetables. All this packaging has led to the doubling of household waste.
Social changes partly explained the increase in waste: single homes like the number of servings and individual packages jumped!
For a long time now, manufacturers have been seeking to reduce the weight of packaging. So, the weight of an empty polystyrene yogurt pot was halved between 1970 and 1990.
Since 1998, a decree stipulates that the weight and volume of a package must be limited to the minimum necessary while ensuring all of its functions.
Junk Removal in the United States
But all this packaging continues to fills our garbage cans to the brink!
The situation is particularly dire in the USA, where each American person throws around 120 kg of household packaging every year.
There is so much waste that dumpsters large and small are a regular sight in the big cities as well as the smaller ones. Landfills are getting full and recycling is not widespread enough to allow to a better usage of resources.
There is even a thriving industry of dumpster rental services, where people can rent a large bin when they have too much junk accumulated on their premises. The company will bring an empty roll-off dumpster and the customer fills it themselves with all their junk. One full they call the waste management company, which will bring it to the nearest landfill.[Top]
The United States is the largest economy, and this is in no small part due to national consumption.
Americans are known to be big spenders in a society dominated by instant gratification and hyper-consumerism. As such we can expect a huge quantity of garbage created daily from such behavior.
Waste management and how to deal with with the problem of containing pollution is one of the nightmares facing local and state oficials.[Top]
Sometimes pollution can be more predominant inside the house than outside!
What are the main sources of indoor pollution? What risks does it expose us to? What are the right actions to improve your home’s air quality?
Improving indoor air quality is a health priority
Knowing that we spend more than 80% of our time in closed places (home, work, school, transport, etc.), the condition of the air we breathe is a major factor that conditions our health. Exposure to indoor pollution can lead to various symptoms and conditions: respiratory tract irritation, headache, poisoning, etc.
What are the main sources of pollution of inside air?
Tobacco is of course the first indoor pollutant … and the easiest to act on! Then there are products used for cleaning or for improving the atmosphere (household products, interior perfumes, incense), DIY products (paints, glues, solvents, gardening products), building materials (glass wool, rock wool), products used for the manufacture of furniture (formaldehyde for example), radon, etc.
The right things to do at home to fight against indoor pollution
Regularly ventilate your home.
It is better to insulate your home, which translates into less energy expenditure. But this insulation hinders the renewal of our indoor air. It is therefore necessary to ventilate all the rooms every day by opening the windows wide for at least 10 minutes.
Even if it is cold, and even during periods of peak outdoor pollution, it is essential to ventilate in order to renew and mix the air, to dilute and remove indoor pollutants. Please note, some activities require even more ventilation: cleaning, DIY, decoration, renovation, etc.
Equip your home with a suitable ventilation system
The ventilation systems (VMC, controlled mechanical ventilation) installed in our dwellings provide general and permanent air circulation. Their installation and verification of their operation must be carried out by a specialist.
Make sure that the air inlets, grilles and exhaust vents are not blocked and clean them as often as necessary to keep them effective.
What measures should be adopted for each pollutant?
Reducing indoor pollution from tobacco
Do not smoke indoors, or even outside the window. Also force your guests to smoke outside. With 3,000 toxic substances, tobacco is the first pollutant present in homes, causing cancer by active and passive smoking, asthma, allergies, cardiovascular disease, etc. Each year, some thousands of people die from second-hand smoke.
Control pollution from household products and home fragrances
Ventilate when using household products, avoid spray products, do not mix products with each other (especially with bleach), follow the instructions for use, doses and safety indications, limit the number of products you use, prefer products certified as protecting the environment.
Avoid scented candles, incense and home fragrances, major sources of indoor pollution. Also watch out for stain removers or solvents used to remove nail polish.
Reduce indoor pollution from DIY products and building materials
Many building materials (paints, glues, solvents, glazes, waxes, strippers, thinners, lacquers, etc.) emit toxic substances such as fibers or volatile organic compounds or VOCs (formaldehyde, organic solvents , glycol ethers, hydrocarbons).
When you tinker:
- always wear the appropriate protection (filter mask, gloves, glasses),
- close the products well after use,
- keep them in a ventilated place and out of reach of children.
If the work takes place indoors, take regular breaks outside and ventilate. Prioritize the purchase of products that contain the least quantity and number of pollutants: read the labels, favor the eco-labels and consult the pictograms.
Please note, some new furniture (in particular agglomerated wood) gives off chemical substances for a certain time after unpacking them. Ideally, leave them for a few days in a well-ventilated place before installing them in your bedroom or living room.
Reducing indoor pollution by radon
Radon is a radioactive natural gas emitted by the soil that causes lung cancer (second cause after smoking). The presence of radon depends on the nature of the soil and the degree of containment of the site. If you live in a region with a high concentration of radon, work to increase the ventilation of your accommodation may be necessary.[Top]