Throughout our daily lives, we perform a variety of tasks that generate waste as a by-product. This may be opening a frozen package of corn or replacing the batteries in your television remote. As environmentally conscious humans we need to understand that the more waste we create, the more waste we must somehow dispose of.
Waste disposal has developed into an industry larger than just removing waste. Organic waste is separated from inorganic and non-recyclable waste. This allows cities to use organic waste to mulch or create compost for public areas. Some cities even package and sell the compost to generate further revenues. The items that can be recycled are re-processed, and the materials are used to create new products. This method reduces the further consumption of natural resources and lowers the ultimate waste disposal needs.
It was once a common practice to burn waste either in your own backyard or at a landfill. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, when household garbage and plastics are burned, they release particulate matter which are solid compounds suspended in air. Being exposed to particulate matter increases heart disease, asthma, emphysema and respiratory disease incident rates. Waste disposal relocates waste to an area where it can be safely left, incinerated or otherwise disposed of. Removing waste from public areas reduces overall health risks, decreases pest infestation in urban areas and lowers exposures to biohazards.
Waste energy is a by-product of some methods of waste incineration. While incineration can release large amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, there have been modern advances that capture the energy produced in incineration and use it to generate electricity. The result is a complex method of re-using items to lower the need of future waste. While this is still being done on a small scale by industrial factories, it is a start and huge advantage of proper waste disposal.