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Image Credit:Enviroguides.US

Image Credit:Enviroguides.US

Until now, you must have read different life histories and stories of famous people and personalities. Now, it is time to analyze the life story of the one of the most prominent entities in our lives, the garbage in your trash can. Do you find the topic funny? No, it is certainly not a funny topic as knowing about waste and garbage is critical for everyone today.

It is quite understandable that waste generation is one of the most serious matters prevailing in the world right now. For people who think that it is not a big issue to throw each and every thing in the trash can, it becomes really important to understand the life story of garbage.

Garbage Generation
The generation of garbage happens from homes, industries, offices, schools, colleges, municipalities, hospitals, and many other places. An analysis of these places is very important to understand the kind of garbage being generated.

  • Hospitals: These places are known for the generation of toxic waste like patient swabs, infected syringes, discarded blood samples, used bandages, expired medicines, empty solution bottles, contaminated lab samples and many other related things.
  • Industries: The generation of chemical, hazardous, and toxic waste is what industries are known for. Different industries discard different types of waste material. Hazardous waste can include different types of liquids and chemicals, along with electronic waste. Apart from this, chemical waste is generally discarded from various types of chemical factories. Toxic waste is generally a combination of these two.
  • Schools, colleges and offices: These places generally generate different kinds of paper and food waste. Apart from this, they also generate different types of electronic waste like computers, printers, and CPUs.
  • Municipalities: Taking care of the entire town or city, these places generate a waste called municipal solid waste. This waste type generally comprises every other waste accumulated from different parts of the city.

Disposal of Garbage
There are many ways by which garbage is disposed off in different cities and countries. However, there are only two places where the garbage generally lands.

  • Recycling centers: Different companies and government organizations set up various types of recycling centers. These centers are generally located outside the city limits to ensure less population and contamination of the city environment.

Degradable and Non-degradable Elements in Waste

When a particular material is thrown in a trash can, it takes time for that material to degrade. However, generally, people do not know the different time frames for biodegradability of various items. Some of them are:

Material

Time taken to biodegrade

Aluminum

500 years

Plastic bottles

450 years

Nylon Fabric

30-40 years

Leather

50 years

Orange or Banana Peel

2-5 weeks

Apple Core

2 months

Plastic Film Container

20-30 years

Paper Towel

2-4 weeks

Disposable Diapers

450 years

From the above table, it is easy to decipher, which of the materials should be sent to the recycling centers and which should be kept in the compost heap.

The Final Destination of Waste: Our Food Chain

Now, it is not difficult for waste material to reach our food chain. Some may reach the food chain as manure, while some as contamination.

  • Electronic waste: This waste classification consists of various types of motherboards, computers, CPUs, monitors, printer cartridges and many other things. Now, the landfills, that these materials are dumped in, are usually near different water bodies. Eventually, these materials reach the seas and rivers and get decomposed due to the minerals and chemicals in the water. Toxic material is released from these waste products, which are eventually eaten by the fish. These fish are then eaten by us, which creates a vicious, yet normal food cycle.

 

One of the best ways of reversing this story is to ensure that every waste reaches the recycling center, rather than the landfills. In the effort to achieve and cleaner and greener planet, each one of us needs to be conscious about the waste generated in our homes and workplaces and make sure that it is recycled efficiently.