Saturday, September 30, 2023

Waste Management: Recycling as a business

Staff Reporter

Solid waste pollution has become a serious environmental and planetary threat, affecting nearly every terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems globally. Local authorities in Zimbabwe are struggling to manage current volumes of municipal solid waste and heavy plastic pollution that has characterized the natural environment. Plastic pollution poses various serious threats to the environment, which include loss of aesthetic value of the environment, death of aquatic life, decrease in domestic and international tourism, death of livestock and soil biota leading to a decrease in biodiversity. Plastics are products of industrial polymerization reactions, and unlike other polymers plastics cannot be broken down by hydrolytic enzymes present in most bacteria and other microorganisms. Because most microorganisms fail to feed on plastic, it results in plastics persisting in the environment for undefined periods of time. Plastic waste is a waste type in municipal solid waste yet a number of challenges still exist in its management. Rapid and unplanned urbanization leaves municipalities largely overwhelmed when it comes to the collection and disposal of increasing amounts of waste. Municipal solid waste management remain one of the most neglected areas of urban development and this has called for sustainable means of management.
In a bid to fight this increasing global problem, the nation has taken various stances that aim at completely eradicating plastic from the natural environment. The government is in this day drifting from the common linear economy, where natural resources are extracted from environment, processed into products and in turn produce a lot of solid waste that ends up being disposed in the environment. However, the linear economy is currently being replaced by the circular economy model. This model ensures that all waste generated from the extraction of natural resources up to production process is reintegrated back in the production process. This has benefits that outweigh the linear process and these include reduced rate of natural resource extraction there by reducing resource overexploitation, improved energy use efficiency and most importantly improve solid waste management. It is through the adoption of the circular economy that the government has intensified its efforts to promote recycling as a business.
The recycling process is now a livelihood for many people. Various people are realizing the importance of approaching recycling more as a business than a waste management strategy. To date, a number of people have upgraded their standards of living after adopting the recycling as a business. The process has various stages, which include (i) collection and sorting of waste (ii) transportation (iii) waste processing. All these three stages offer business opportunities for many, as recycling is an upcoming and highly income generating business. In a bid to ensure the recycling as a business gains adequate momentum, the government through the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) embarked on an intense nationwide program on training people about the recycling as a business course. In Masvingo province training was conducted across all the seven districts and a total of 522 people devoted themselves and successfully completed the course. These people where awarded with certificates, at the recycling as a business graduation ceremony that was officiated by the First Lady, Dr. Auxilia Mnangagwa on August 2 2023 at Masvingo Polytechnic. Also present at the graduation ceremony was Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Hon Ezra Chadzamira, Acting secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Clever Chingwara, ZANU PF Provincial Chairperson Robson Mavenyengwa. Recyclers exhibited products made from waste, and these include irrigation pipes, bin liners, packaging plastics, 3 legged pots, artefacts and baskets.
Waste recycling is becoming a livelihood for the marginalized societies in Zimbabwe and now quite a number of individuals, community-based organisations and companies are participating in waste collection and sorting for recycling. Recycling is considered as one of the best options in solid waste management hierarchy to reduce threats posed by plastic wastes. Other than contributing to municipal solid waste management by diverting materials which have economic value from the main waste flow, thus reducing quantities of waste to be collected and disposed recycling also provides the opportunity to use recovered plastics to manufacture new products.
For these reasons, recycling is presenting to everyone opportunities for recovered polymers to cascade through multiple stages throughout various production cycles hence contributing to sustainable manufacturing. Recycling is now being recognized as the “most environmentally sound’’ strategy for dealing with municipal solid waste following only the preventive strategy of source reduction and reuse.

Lastest Articles

Related Articles