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Organic Waste: Creating a Sustainable Future

Organic Waste Creating a Sustainable Future

Organic waste has an interesting place in our modern effort to build a more sustainable, eco-friendly future.

While organic waste is able to break down into natural, organic material, some of these do pose a threat.

Take cow manure, for instance. It is a great fertiliser for crops, but manure itself is a leading contributor to climate change. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a primary goal in building a sustainable future.

Similarly, just because waste is organic does not mean that people want to, or should, come into contact with it. Again, cow manure is a good example of this. Most people don’t want to smell it in their daily life!

The human aversion to waste is well documented in history. Even early scientists had the basic understanding that something that smells bad has the potential to cause negative effects on human health. 

The naturalness of organic waste does not mean that it should not be disposed of in a safe and secure method, away from human contact. Like other forms of waste, organic waste requires a waste management system. 

This blog unpacks the unique position of organic waste and how its disposal creates a unique insight into how an eco-friendly and sustainable future might come about. 

What is Organic Waste?

Organic waste refers to all organic materials that can be broken down into a variety of natural chemicals and compounds. 

Common examples of organic waste include compost heaps and other food scraps. 

The degree to which something is or is not organic is difficult to judge. 

Some food in the 21st century contains antibiotics and other potentially harmful chemicals that can be dispersed during the decomposition stage. It’s important that a team of professional waste management specialists deal with these issues. 

The Importance of Organic Waste

In many ways, organic waste is one of the oldest, more basic forms of waste. Humans have been eating food even before humans existed. 

Most societies understand that rotting and decomposing food must be separated from human everyday life. Failure to do so can lead to contamination, disease, and sickness. 

Traditional methods of organic waste disposal focused on returning the food scraps back to the soil. In this model, the earth’s soil gains nutrients from the decomposition process. 

This harmonic stasis highlights the importance of organic waste. In a nutshell, it is one of the most primal ways for humans to give back to Mother Nature. 

Modern Day Organic Waste

Modern-day organic waste disposal methods focus on more than the older, more primal idea of a sort of circle of life. Nowadays, managing organic waste is a large-scale endeavour. 

Like other waste management methods, organic waste management focuses on reducing, reusing, recycling, repurposing, and overall lessening the total amount of waste produced. 

Modern waste management seeks to have as little waste as possible end up in landfill sites. This is no different when it comes to organic waste. 

Organic Waste Examples

There are many examples of organic waste. Here are some of the most common.

  • Food remains: fruit, vegetables, eggshells, animal bones
  • Plant remains: leaves, wood, branches
  • Nature remains: organic cotton from clothing
  • Animal waste: animal bones, skins, and faecal matter
  • Paper waste: office paper, cardboard, paper towels

Interested in managing paper waste in a sustainable way? Check out Cleanway’s blog on Cardboard Recycling ideas. 

Food Waste

Food waste refers to food scraps and other food organics. It’s essential to treat food waste in their appropriate waste streams. Vegetable scraps, for instance, can end up in a compost bin.

However, managing food waste entails more than just dealing with its end. Australia alone produces 7.6 million tonnes of food each year. Unfortunately, many of these end up in local landfill sites and add to the total greenhouse gas emissions through carbon dioxide.

Waste reduction means reducing the waste produced. Restaurants should not produce more than they need. Often, food waste is a byproduct of overproduction.

Like most waste types, food waste is sometimes the result of our modern tendency towards excess. This does not even consider the waste from agriculture and other organic waste.

Organic Materials

Organic materials form a major part of organic waste. It is important to divert organic waste from landfill sites and other municipal waste sites.

Local governments play a role in ensuring that organic matter and other biodegradable materials are properly dealt with.

Organic waste takes many forms. Coffee grounds and grass clippings are common examples.

Improper disposal of organic waste can lead to bad odours during the composting process.

Organic Waste vs Green Waste

Is there a difference between organic waste and green waste? Surely both of them are good for the environment, right?

No, green waste is distinct from organic waste. Remember that organic waste merely refers to waste that can be broken down into organic material compounds. Some of these are not in and of themselves good for the environment. 

Green waste refers to general garden waste from things like plants and grass cuttings. It is a subset of organic waste, but the two terms cannot be used interchangeably. 

Managing Organic Waste

Organic waste management involves processes very similar to standard waste management. The general rule, as always, is to streamline the process. 

In an ideal world, very little rubbish should end up in landfills and dumpsites. It’s far more effective and sustainable for them to re-enter the market in a different form. 

Compost heaps are one of the most common methods of organic waste management. They’re so easy that the average household can do it. 

The compost heap example also works to highlight the potential hazards of organic waste management. 

The Dangers of Organic Waste

While most organic waste is itself safe, it does pose some degree of danger to human health and the environment.

Take the average compost heap outside of a person’s house. They’re great for food scraps, but the decomposition stage is not without its smells. This is why we suggest keeping it away from your dining room window!

Additionally, compost heaps can attract flies, mosquitoes, and other insects. Sometimes, small animals, like rats and other rodents, will want to get in on the feast. 

This speaks to more than the necessary precautions for compost heaps. It actually speaks to what the breakdown of organic waste entails. Natural products entail natural solutions. Sometimes, this involves things that people living in cities aren’t used to. 

Contamination and Organic Waste

Contamination occurs when the natural equilibrium of a substance, like soil, is disrupted by an outside chemical. 

A great example is soil contamination. 

Organic waste can contribute to the contamination process. Even organic materials contain potentially harmful microorganisms.

What’s important to note is that this type of contamination involves two seemingly natural substances. Why would we call this contamination?

The reason is fairly simple. The contamination might still pose a threat to human well-being. Think of soil decay as a result of a dead animal or tree nearby? The short-term effects of the decomposition process will make the site almost unbearable to walk through.

Recycling organic waste

Recycling organic waste helps to lessen the effects of climate change and carbon dioxide emissions. Garden organics, for instance, should be recycled organic products or otherwise composted.

It is important to recycle organic waste in a safe and secure manner. Doing so will promote its use beyond the recycling process. 

When it comes to organic waste, building a sustainable future is very possible. The main way to do this is to follow correct, safe, environmentally friendly, and efficient waste management practices.