Climate change is real and it is already affecting global businesses, ecosystems, communities and our way of life. According to a joint report by the U.N. Development Programme along with the International Labour Organization, Climate Vulnerable Forum and other agencies, searing temperatures will cost emerging economies up to 10 percent in lost daytime working hours. Even with more stringent limits, that were agreed to in the Paris Agreement, by 2030, key regions will face almost an entire month of added extreme heat each year. Such heat reduces work productivity, increases the need for work breaks and elevates risks to health and occupational injuries and their corresponding consequences.
Another report from the World Bank shows that the global community is not prepared for a rapid increase in climate change-related natural disasters. By 2050, it is estimated that natural disasters will impact the lives of 1.3 billion people. The planet and its inhabitants are already experiencing the consequences of Climate Change. For example in Ghoramara, an island near Kolkata, India, over 600 families had to be relocated because of rising sea levels.
A recent report from Climate Council found that rising global ocean temperatures has been the cause of a severe coral bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Another report, from researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia, found that sections of North Africa and the Middle East – already incredibly hot in the summer – could become so warm that human habitability could be soon compromised.
How waste management can address climate change
More trash in landfills means more greenhouse gas emissions
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that landfills are the third-leading cause of methane (CH4) emissions in the United States. Nearly a fifth of methane emissions come from landfills. According to the EPA, pound for pound, during a 100-year period, methane emissions are 25 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.
It is estimated that, today, the average person creates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. Solid waste will keep growing because of increases in per capita consumption exasperated by a larger population. According to the journal Nature Climate Change, in 2012, Americans disposed a total of 262 million tons of solid waste.
Waste-to-products recycling initiatives are being considered as a more sustainable alternative to traditional waste disposal methods such as landfilling because they recover higher value products from waste that can be used to manufacture other products.
Ecolomondo’s Thermal Decomposition Process (TDP), for example, is a green technology that uses a pyrolytic platform to decompose and recover commodity products from hydrocarbon waste to be reused. Today, hydrocarbon waste represents approximately 34% of all landfilled matter. The most common types are tires, rubber, plastics, asphalt roof shingles, automobile shred residue and disposed diapers.
TDP is a green technology that allows its entire reactor payload to be completely recycled with little impact on the carbon footprint.
Recycling will help reverse the negative consequences caused by global warming. It will also ensure a steady supply of commodity products required to achieve sustainability. Take action with us. Follow us on Linkedin.