Why Waste Management is More Important Than You Think
Imagine what Disneyland might look like after the busiest day of the summer if it only had one garbage can. Most likely, the solitary disposal station wouldn’t even be visible under the piles of hotdog wrappers, cotton candy sticks, and used tickets. Litter would be everywhere. It would look more like a dump than a theme park.
Walt Disney knew that waste management was vital to a successful theme park. So he set about finding out how close the nearest trash can needed to be for most people to bother using them. Thanks to his forethought, you can find a trash can within 30-feet of your location anywhere in the park. Disneyland is known for being one of the cleanest parks in the world. Is it a coincidence it’s also one of the most popular?
What is waste management?
Waste management describes the movement of garbage from creation to disposal. Just like a supply chain, if you have a weak link along the chain where waste is poorly handled, the entire system will experience delays and cause frustration. Some businesses, homes, and apartments don’t realize the negative impacts of poor waste management. Let’s take a moment to consider how much better life would be with a robust system in place.
Life’s not all about money, but handling money well makes all aspects of running a business better. Poor waste management wastes money in several ways, including:
- Inefficient workflow and lower productivity. For example, employees may have to go out of their way to find suitable trash cans.
- The need for unexpected and expensive clean-ups, as when a wind storm blows garbage from an overfilled construction dumpster all over the property.
- Dirty outward appearance leads to decreased brand performance. E.g., not having a plan for replacing old advertisement posters, broken furniture, etc.
Savvy businessmen and women avoid these costs and benefit from going the extra mile in their waste management. Dumping garbage in landfills is heavily taxed. By implementing food, paper, and plastic recycling systems, companies avoid paying as many fees and dealing with overfilled trash cans.
In general, proper waste management is like building a fence at the top of a cliff rather than paying for an ambulance at the bottom. A fence, like waste management, might take some extra forethought, but in the end, it saves you time and money. Waste management doesn’t only help the flow of garbage; it helps everything run more smoothly.
There are two main ways proper waste management benefits health.
1. Decreases the chance of spreading diseases
When a work cafeteria, shared kitchen, or coffee room has quality waste management, there is much less of a chance that old food, an ideal carrier of bacteria, will come in contact with employees. If garbage cans and dumpsters are emptied and cleaned regularly, mold won’t have the chance to grow in the area.
2. Decreases hazards in the workplace and at home
Often parodied by banana peel slips, waste items can cause hazards in businesses and residential buildings. Poorly managed waste can block fire exits and drains, increasing the risk of flooding and preventing egress. Smaller items can be a risk for small children, while broken glass can injure people of all ages. Being on top of your waste management game decreases the likelihood of all these mishaps occurring.
Managing waste effectively benefits the environment in many ways. For example, plastic waste is less likely to end up as litter on the street when trash cans are conveniently located nearby. While this outcome is excellent, if you make an effort to have accessible recycling containers, less plastic will need to be produced using fossil fuels, and the plastic will not litter the street.
Likewise, dumping leftover food into landfills causes methane emissions which accelerate global warming. Investing in food scrap collection bins decreases your carbon footprint. You can also redirect food waste to use as compost material and biofuels, which directly combat climate change rather than adding to the problem.
Recent innovations in recycling and waste management mean there are countless ways to change your waste management system to benefit the environment. Some simple ways to save on waste and help the environment include:
- Reducing single-use plastics
- Encouraging employees, residents, and visitors to bring reusable food and drink containers
- Sharing documents online, rather than distributing hardcopies
A Final Note
A common excuse for poor waste management is that it’s only for the super-rich. You might have the perception that Apple headquarters, Disneyland, and Hollywood are all so clean because they make so much money. Their wealth is the only reason they can afford seamless waste management systems. The truth is, it’s the other way around. Waste management is a catalyst that creates success, not a happy after-effect. Start focusing on details like top-notch waste management and recycling, and you’ll see the benefits immediately.