Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Sustainable Waste Criteria for Built Environments




Can waste be sustainable? Is it possible to have 'sustainable waste streams'?  'Sustainable waste streams' can be defined as waste streams which enable overall personal Ecological Footprint of less than 1.8gha to be achieved.

Achieving this in households and neighbourhoods can be determined through an analysis of  the amount and types of waste produced,  the energy intensity of the waste, and the extent to which waste is reused and recycled (Lehmann, 2011; Beigl et al, 2008).

This analysis indicates that it may be possible to have sustainable waste streams. This, however, would require particular consumption, packaging, reuse and recycling patterns to be achieved. Some of these are indicated briefly below.
  • Aluminium and glass are used in durable products, where their high energy intensity can be discounted over their lifespan. Aluminium and glass would not be used in disposable products, such as food packaging. 
  • Transportation and storage of household products, such as food and cleaning products use  durable, reusable containers rather than disposable ones. 
  • Disposable packaging is avoided as far as possible. However, where packaging is required, used, only paper, paperboard and plastic packaging is used.  
  • All waste, including organic waste, is recycled.
These patterns represent a significant departure from current practice and would require radical changes in product design, manufacturing and packaging processes as well as different retail models. Attitudes and the behaviours of consumers, manufacturers and retailers would also need to change (Sidique et al, 2010; Henry et al., 2006).

Built environments would also need to change. They would need to ensure that the patterns which achieve sustainable waste streams are easy to achieve and discourage other practices. Simple requirements for household and neighbourhood built environments that enable this are being developed and are outlined below. 


Ref
Area
Criteria
WA1
Durable products
A local retailer exists within 2km of the household that sells durable furniture, equipment and containers. Durable furniture consists, as a minimum, of dining table(s), chair(s), bed(s) and cupboard(s). Durable equipment consists, as a minimum, of 5 items of household equipment used in households locally such as a TV, a DVD player, a computer, an electrical kettle and lamps. Containers include, as a minimum, containers for potable liquids such as water, milk and juice, containers for fresh vegetables and fruit, containers for bakery products, containers for beans and pulses, containers for eggs and dairy products such as cheese, containers for cereal products such as maize meal, oats and flour and containers for cleaning products such as soaps.  Durability is defined as products that are designed to last at least 5 years in normal use. Durable equipment is defined as equipment that has a guarantee that covers repairs and maintenance from the manufacturer for this period. 
WA2
Retail reusable containers
A local retailer within 2km of the household provides the following products: water, milk and juice, fresh vegetables and fruit, bakery products, beans and pulses, eggs and dairy products such as cheese, cereal products such as maize meal, oats and flour and cleaning products such as soaps without packaging. Purchasers of these products are able to obtain the quantities of product they require, decant and transport these in their own reusable containers.  
WA3
Household reusable containers
Households have facilities in the form of space and reusable containers to store water, milk and juice, fresh vegetables and fruit, bakery products, beans and pulses, eggs and dairy products such as cheese, cereal products such as maize meal, oats and flour and cleaning products such as soaps. The capacity of the space and containers provided should be adequate for at least 1 week’s consumption of these products. Facilities in the form of sink and a drying area of 0.5m2 should also be provided to clean and dry reusable containers.
WA4
Avoidance of  aluminium and glass waste
Grocery retailers within 2km of the household do not have products that use aluminium or class as packaging.
WA5
Household recycling
Households should have at least 1m3 of accessible volume with recycling containers for waste streams in the kitchen or within 10m of the kitchen.
A recycling space with 1m3 volume per household should be provided within 2km of each household.  Containers should be provided for at least the following types of waste; paper and paperboard aluminium, other metal, glass, plastic, organic waste. The space should be covered, well-ventilated, protected from vermin, provided with a water supply and have surfaces that can be readily cleaned. The location should be within 10m of a public highway and easily accessed by both households and recycling contractors.
WA6
Retail recycling
Grocery retailers should have a recycling area with at least 1m3 volume per 100m2 of retail space.  Containers should be provided for at least the following types of waste; paper and paperboard aluminium, other metal, glass, plastic, organic waste. The space should be covered, well-ventilated, protected from vermin, provided with a water supply and have surfaces that can be readily cleaned. The location should be within 10m of a public highway and easily accessed by both the retailer and recycling contractors.

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