General Waste Information
The amount of general waste we produce that simply gets dumped on landfill has reduced over the years because of better recycling measures and the rise of other specialist handling categories such as hazardous, clinical and industrial waste.
In the past, we were too quick to send our rubbish to landfill and use other methods such as incineration to keep control of it. In recent years, along with our desire to act more sustainably, new initiatives such as reusing, recycling and even turning waste into energy that can be supplied to local communities have become vitally important.
History of Waste Management
Evidence of the human race using dumps outside city limits goes back as far as the Greeks in Athens to around 500BC. However, for a long time, our relationship with waste management was a case of out of sight, out of mind. While some suspected there was a link between human health and the amount of rubbish we produce, including where we dispose of it, it wasn’t until the mid-19th Century that ideas began to change and we started to get dedicated waste management services.
Find out more about the history of waste management.
Types of Waste
Back in the old days much of the waste we produced was biodegradable which meant that we could push it aside and just wait for it to decompose. With the rise of the industrial age and the later development of materials such as plastics, disposing of waste certainly became more difficult. We produce a wide range of waste nowadays, from the normal paper and glass of households to hazardous waste and electronic and confidential waste, all of which needs to be handled in a sustainable way.
Find out more about types of waste.
Methods of General Waste Disposal
As the amount and diversity of the waste we produce has grown over the centuries, so has the way in which we manage waste disposal. This ranges from reusing what we have, recycling and using to create new products and even converting waste to energy and heat that can be used by local communities. Directives from the EU and new national legislation in the last couple of decades means the amount we send to landfill is being greatly reduced.
Find out more about methods of general waste disposal.
Energy Recovery from Waste
One of the more exciting developments in handling waste is the building of large scale energy recovery plants such as the one currently operating on the outskirts of Sheffield. This is an area of waste disposal that has had a lot of money and time invested into it, as we try to find ever more sustainable ways of producing something useful from the rubbish that we throw away every day.
Find out more about energy recovery from waste.
Recycling and General Waste
Recycling has not only become big business it is something that most households and businesses in the UK now treat as routine. We all have our different bins to put paper, plastic and glass in and councils are incentivised to provide collection and sorting services that help us all make the most of what we throw away. The onus is also on businesses and organisations to behave sustainably which means they have to be careful about the waste they produce.
Find out more about recycling and general waste.
Legislation and General Waste
As you might expect, the legal aspects of handling general waste are fairly comprehensive. Most of the initiatives come out of the EU Waste Framework Directive which is geared at sending less to landfill and incineration and more to reusing and recycling. All member states, including the UK, have to comply with this legislation and businesses in particular have to have the right processes for dealing with their waste, including monitoring and keeping the appropriate documentation.
Find out more about legislation and general waste.
Principles of Waste Management
Waste management in the UK and across large parts of the world nowadays is based on the waste hierarchy which states that we must first cut down on the rubbish we produce, then find ways to reuse what we have, after that incorporate recycling and methods of getting something out of our waste such as converting it to energy and only then consider sending it to a place such as a landfill site.
Find out more about the principles of waste management.
General Waste Equipment
Improvements in waste management, particularly recycling, have also led to the growth of waste disposal companies and services across the UK. Whether it’s the bins that we put our plastic bottles and newspapers in or the balers and compactors that process all that waste, there is plenty of equipment available to do the job.
Find out more about general waste equipment.
General Waste Disposal Services
Waste comes in various shapes and sizes and there is usually a collection and disposal service available to deal with it. Commercial enterprises and organisations in particular need access to companies that can handle things like confidential waste, hazardous waste and even electronic waste. You can now search our online data base to find a waste disposal service near you.
Find out more about general waste disposal services.