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With the improving life standards, our needs are growing, which we try to satisfy by increasing consumption. Simultaneously, we produce more waste and rubbish, the collection, treatment, disposal or use of which is a very complex task, the task of waste management.
One possibility of reducing the number of dangerous piles of waste is selective waste collection, which, amongst other things, helps us get rid of things that have become excessive and useless in an environment-friendly way.
The name ’waste’ is given to materials that become useless at the place of their production (household, industrial area, agriculture, etc.), but can be further used as secondary raw materials when collected and treated separately according to the material types. Rubbish is a material that has become useless and cannot be reused or whose owner does not want to use it any more. Rubbish (as a material) is placed outside of the cycle of economy and is disposed of and stored unseparated.
Nowadays, in Hungary, there is still a massive amount of reusable material going to waste, which would be better off on selective waste collection islands, because on these, their re-use is ensured. In Hungary, annually the amount of waste produced equals three times the Gellért hill. A big proportion of this is production waste and the part produced by the population is only its 5,3-5,5% (4,2-4,4 million tons), which amounts to 1 kg of rubbish per person per day. According to the summaries done by the organisations dealing with waste management, in Hungary only about 1-1,1 million people collect rubbish selectively, although a further 9,1 million would have the option to do so. However, it is true, too, that today there are not enough conveniently approachable collection points – according to the law, Hungarians have to wait for this until 2015. We do not have to wait until 2015! Let’s not be too lazy to collect our rubbish selectively! Let’s not be too lazy to walk further to the collection points – because it’s worth it! While collecting rubbish, we think of environment-consciousness as a trendy nuisance or we do not even perceive the weight of the importance of selective waste collection, we throw away 300 billion worth of recyclable waste annually, thereby polluting the Earth.
From 1st January, 2015 the selective collection of paper, metal, plastic and glass waste will be made compulsory within all the member states of the European Union, according to the 2008/98/EK directive of the European Parliament and the European Council. The full adherence to the European Union’s waste policy would create 400 thousand new workplaces within the EU and would generate an additional annual turnover of 42 billion Euros according to the expectations.
Are you interested in a fantastic programme? Collect the wrapping materials and send them back at the cost of the company so that it can manufacture various products from it: this process is called upcycling. This business model made Tom Szaky a billionaire, who founded the company called TerraCycle in 2001. In the beginning, they produced organic manure from liquid worm excrement; this was then filled into used beverage bottles. TerraCycle has since become one of the world’s fastest growing green companies. The collected waste is now turned into various trendy items: first they produced pens, children’s backpacks, later they created numerous useful products from mobile phone and laptop cases to post-boxes - thereby significantly reducing the waste production of companies. Among others Mars, Capri Sun and Honest Kids joined the TerraCycle recycling company with the aim of producing affordable and quality consumer goods, using the wrapping materials of products. The list of goods produced from waste is endless. The products can be purchased in big American chains, like Walmart, or in the biggest chain store selling organic products, called Whole Foods Market.
Last year, Arsenal, which was celebrating its 125th birthday, surprised its players with recycled shirts made of PET bottles. The shirts were manufactured by Nike within the frames of the Considered Design campaign. Nike has already produced shirts for numerous football teams with this new technology based on recycling, for which 13 million bottles were used, and that meant the recycling of 254.000 kg of waste.
This year, the National Waste Management Agency (OHÜ) is organising the Hungarian campaign connected to the European Waste Reduction Week between 16-24th November. Make sure you do not miss it!
Translated by Judit Molnár