The waste cycle can be divided into three main phases: collection and transport, treatment, and final disposal. Let’s see how it works.
COLLECTION AND TRANSPORT: the collection and transport of waste are the operations that make it possible to keep home and work environments healthy. In this regard, separate collection plays a fundamental role, as it allows a consistent recycling activity to be carried out. By collecting waste in a differentiated way, in fact, it is possible to proceed subsequently with a correct recycling and reuse of waste materials; The term “reuse” indicates the activity that can be carried out, for example, with intact glass bottles and containers. Recycling operations, on the other hand, concern waste materials of plastic, paper, metal or glass that are not intact. In addition, the composting of organic materials in agriculture is also part of the concept of waste recycling. All these activities make it possible to optimize resources and significantly reduce the amount of waste that must be disposed of.
THE TREATMENT: according to the definition given by article 2 of Directive 1999/31 / EC, waste treatment concerns the set of physical, thermal, chemical and biological processes, which can modify the characteristics of the materials discarded, reducing their volume or danger, and facilitating their transport and recovery. Depending on the type of collection that is carried out, different types of waste treatment can be performed, including: Separate collection: recycling or composting, unsorted collection: energy recovery.
The term “recycling” refers to the collection, reprocessing and reuse of previously discarded material. A large variety of materials can now be recycled, such as paper, glass, plastic and cans.
Composting, on the other hand, consists of a biological technique that is used to transform organic waste into natural fertilizer to be used in agriculture. What about waste that cannot be collected separately? The treatment of this type of waste is certainly much more difficult and complex. Generally speaking, three types of treatment can be applied: cold treatment (consists in the separation and partial recovery of materials, through the biological oxidation technique), hot treatment (includes incineration, pyrolysis and gasification activities), delivery of waste to landfill.
DISPOSAL: the disposal phase is the final part of the waste cycle and consists of its transfer to landfills. All the phases indicated above inevitably leave residues of urban or special waste that must be treated through the final disposal phase, which takes place in landfills.
In conclusion, by knowing the waste cycle better, we have understood that the smartest way to manage it is to contain as much as possible their impact on the environment, while at the same time trying to derive useful and profitable resources. This is the only way to protect our environment and our health, avoiding being submerged in the waste that we ourselves produce.