Research finds apartments present additional challenges for waste production, collection, sorting and disposal News-thread


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The harsh realities of managing the waste we produce are in the news: the municipalities reject the new glass containers, more plastic is produced per person in the world other Overflowing Sydney bins. And the growth in apartment living in Australia it threatens to exacerbate these problems. Apartments all over the world have lower recycling rates than independent houses.

Our research on apartments and plastic use in four cities (Melbourne, London, Barcelona and Perth) found apartments present additional challenges for waste production, collection, sorting and disposal. our continuum investigation project is exploring ways to minimize curbside litter and maximize recycling. Problems with apartments arise from issues of space, design, infrastructure (such as bins, landfills, and bin and hard waste collectors), and the resources that are invested in managing your waste.

However, there are examples in cities in Australia and abroad of schemes that have improved waste recycling from apartments to match, if not exceed, that from detached houses.

What is being done with these problems?

In Victoria, the state government ordered a new, separate container to collect glass waste from homes. Glass is a high-impact packaging material, due to the energy and water it uses both in its production and in its recycling.

Broken glass is also a significant contaminant to paper and board in today’s mixed waste streams. he container storage system The introduction in Victoria, along with glass bins, will help separate glass from this recycling stream.

However, challenges lie ahead. Some municipalities are showing signs of rejection to provide containers for glass. Lack of space for multiple containers is a key reason. Multi-unit developments and apartments are simply not designed for such infrastructure.

COVID-19 caused an explosion in the amount of packaging waste due to online ordering and delivery. Plastic waste in particular appears to be largely out of control, despite growing fears and even bans on the use of some plastics.

But waste management has been a problem for apartment buildings around the world since long before the pandemic.

For example, 30 apartment buildings in Seattle they are exempt from providing recycling bins due to lack of space. And in Sydney, residents of the Waterloo public housing development they have been surprised to be completely excluded from the city’s recycling plan due to the contamination of recycled waste streams.

Research in the United States found that a recycling gap between apartments of different socioeconomic status was due to lower service levels (care and concierge) in low-income buildings.

We can't keep putting apartment residents' waste in the bin that's too hard

Some apartments have chutes that make it easy for residents to dispose of landfill waste and recyclable waste separately. Credit: Bhavna Middha, provided by the author

It is not just an individual responsibility.

So far, action on waste production and prevention is limited to voluntary agreements for packaging producers and programs that promote changes in individual behaviour.

Households bear most of the responsibility, especially in apartments, where the space to manage different containers, their smells and their aesthetics is scarce. However, it is manufacturers and retailers who design and manufacture highly packaged, non-recyclable materials.

As the trash continues to pile up, the mostly ineffective voluntary agreements of producers sit on virtual shelves. An example of this is the Sydney Council Blame the shortage of workers and the spillover of COVID-19 from the accumulation of garbage, rather than the original producers of waste.

our ongoing research is exploring the issues associated with the apartments. These issues include how waste is produced, for example through the demand created for packaging, and the space available, as well as how legislators, architects, builders, and homeowners conceive of everyday life in an apartment.

In the shared spaces of the apartments, the production, collection, classification and disposal of waste depend on the design of these spaces and the organization of the infrastructure for collection and disposal.

What else can be done?

We are exploring examples that try to break free from blaming individual choices and behaviors. The latter approach might produce short-term gains, but fails to incorporate long-term changes, as this project in London showed. However, it is possible to design circular economy systems for apartments that equal or even exceed waste recycling for suburban single-family homes.

For example, in the city of Melbourne Testing dehydrators in apartment buildings Food waste is collected and processed on the premises. Recognize that individual apartments often lack space for composting.

In South Korea, apartments are an integral part of the recycling scheme. Some have space for recycling bins, including food waste bins, on each floor.

New York City has developed “Zero waste” guidelines based on case studies in the handling and disposal of organic waste in apartment buildings. The program includes the rehabilitation of buildings.

To improve recycling of apartment waste, investigation points out the need to take into account all relevant factors, including the chemical properties of the waste, domestic practices and business patterns. We can apply what we know about apartment living to design better apartments and retrofit existing ones to reduce the waste they produce and better manage it.

With million australians Now that we live in apartments, we can’t keep putting your waste in the “too hard” bin.

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quotes: Research Finds Apartments Present Additional Challenges for Waste Production, Collection, Sorting, and Disposal (March 2, 2023) Accessed March 2, 2023 at apartments-extra-production-disposal.html

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