The problem with hazardous waste is that it is hardly even talked about.
Is it because people understand it well? Maybe it is, maybe it is only us who are looking for nonexistent problems?
But it feels like at the very least, that the categorization of hazardous waste is wrong. But it may be that the situation is much worse. Sometimes, it seems that we are living in an illusion of having solved this problem.
Here, let us explain why we think that.
What classifies as hazardous waste?
Hopefully, we don’t need to get in the core of the argument why hazardous waste is… hazardous and should be dealt with. This type of waste (namely, cleaners, stains, varnishes, batteries, automotive fluids, pesticides) can do terrifying amounts of damage to the nature and us.
There has been a debate whether plastic should also classify as hazardous waste. Now, as China announces a ban on plastic waste imports, once again the debate will again find its way to the auditoriums, radios and TVs.
We can’t answer that with certainty but due to slow degradation there is merit in adding plastic into the hazardous category.
Examples to learn from
What we should agree on is that we must manage our expectations. The world won’t heal itself in a day. So, the question is what countries deal with the hazardous waste best and learn from these policies.
In this regard, European Union does the best job with managing the problem. But even so, the policies talk mostly about the storage of the waste. It’s not bad, it’s simply unsustainable.
Let’s get Back to Plastic
We do hope the debate will come back. In a time when electronic waste is growing exponentially, plastic parts that hold batteries and whole computers together will be categorized contaminated. Another reason to put plastics among hazardous waste.
According to the statistics, people simply don’t know where to put their old computers. So, they dump it whole with the rest of the garbage.
While smartphones are small, the main concern is the shear amount of them thrown about. Remember, each of them has a battery full of corrosives.
We should talk about waste management. It’s not only that we don’t store it properly, often people don’t know what hazardous is and how to deal with it.
All we do now is burning it or dumping trash into the oceans, and then figuring out how to take them out. People need guidance. That’s the unfortunate truth but to make it a widespread trend, recycling hazardous waste must become easy for everyone to do.