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Why We CAN'T Afford To Lose Organic Material By Burning Or Landfill Disposal

22 Jul, 2023 118
Why We CAN'T Afford To Lose Organic Material By Burning Or Landfill Disposal - Unimother

Dear reader, are you aware of the impact that burning or landfill disposal has on our environment? With the increasing concerns about climate change and pollution, it is more important than ever to address this issue and find sustainable solutions. In this article, we will explore why losing organic material through burning or landfill disposal is a major concern and what we can do to prevent it. You do not want to miss this crucial information.

The Value of Organic Material

Organic Material: A Necessity

Organic material is the fundament of every ecosystem. It provides vital nutrients and minerals for plants and living space for millions of organisms. It boosts soil fertility, encourages biodiversity, and feeds plants, bugs, fungi, and bacteria to help them work together, resulting in better plant growth. Different plants need different nutrients and nutrient ratios, and adding organic material makes sure water and nutrients get absorbed better by plants. If we don't dispose of organic waste correctly, it can be lost or polluted, creating unnecessary transport. At the same time, we lose valuable soil because we don’t refill the removed nutrients plants used up. Therefore, the soil layers keep decreasing every year. Burning and landfill disposal are the worst ways to manage organic waste and can damage the environment by polluting groundwater and air.

Time to Act Now

We need to act now to preserve organic material. Sustainable practices, such as composting and recycling, can cut down waste, save money, and improve soil fertility. By recognizing the worth of organic material instead of simply disposing of it, we can make sure our environment is healthy for future generations. Let's not miss this chance to protect this invaluable resource before it's too late!

 

Depletion of Resources

Organic material is precious - it contains vital nutrients like hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are essential for plant growth and making food we eat. But when it's burned or buried in landfills, these nutrients are lost forever or require high amounts of energy to get them back into plant-usable form again.

Agricultural practices, especially synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, often lead to decreased soil fertility over time, even with higher amounts of synthetic fertilizers. This causes a lot of increased water usage over time while also wasting the biological potential of the soil. The Haber-Bosch process is used to synthetically produce ammoniac fertilizers out of nitrogen and hydrogen gas and utilize high amounts of energy. Logically, those synthetic fertilizers can’t have the microminerals and trace elements of natural soil. Resulting in food of lesser quality.

Self-growing methods are the solution. They use organic waste, sunlight, and rainwater instead of disposal. Nutrient loss can be reduced, and valuable resources like food scraps, leftovers, and vegetable washing water won't be thrown away.

Everyone can help! Even growing a single salad at home stops plastic packaging waste and reduces deforestation and pesticide production. Let's get growing!

landfill organic material mixed with plastic

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The table below shows how different Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) compare in terms of Global Warming Potential (GWP).

Greenhouse Gas

Global Warming Potential

Carbon Dioxide

Methane

25 

Nitrous Oxide

298

Methane stands out with a GWP 25 times higher than carbon dioxide. It is hence important to cut emissions of methane and adopt sustainable waste management practices.

Methane also affects the water cycle, making climate change faster with less water in the atmosphere. Composting organic material is one way to support the water cycle and slow the effects of climate change.

Environmental impact of self-sufficiency

We must all do our part to tackle this issue. Growing plants on balconies and windowsills is good for the environment and helps absorb carbon dioxide. Plus, recycling organic material instead of burning or sending it to landfill reduces GHGs and promotes a circular economy.

Let us come together to make a difference and fight climate change. We can keep our planet healthy and ensure a better future for coming generations. Why not compost and make the Earth happy instead of filling it with a heap of garbage?

Landfill Space Constraints

Landfill Capacity Restrictions:

The issue of limited landfill space and its environmental impact is real. Highlighting the constraints associated with accommodating waste in landfills is important. Improper waste management practices cause capacity restrictions due to increasing amounts of organic material. As a result, chemicals and other pollutants leak into groundwater. This renders the area unusable, now and for future generations. Implementing alternative decentralized and automated solutions that reduce landfill space and minimize harm is imperative.

A table outlining Municipal Solid Waste Materials in Landfills and their data is shown below:

Municipal Solid Waste

Material in Landfills

Amount Of 

Food

24.1%

Wood

8.3%

Paper

11.8%

Yard Trimmings

7.2%

Total Organic Material

51.4%

Rubber, Leather & Textiles

11.1%

Plastics

18.5%

Glass

5.2%

Metals

9.5%

Other

4.3%

Landfills are not only responsible for methane emissions, but are also major contributors to groundwater contamination. When landfills hit maximum capacity, rehabilitating the area is necessary. The negative consequences of improper waste disposal can last for a long time, affecting both human health and ecosystem sustainability.

We can take several steps to address these concerns. One way is to manage waste disposal at homes, reducing the amount of organic material sent to landfills. Incentivizing recycling programs and promoting composting can also divert organic matter from ending up in landfills. Additionally, sustainable farming practices like vertical farming, aquaponics, or hydroponics can help reduce deforestation caused by urban expansion.

These steps support a shift towards a sustainable waste management system that reduces reliance on landfills and preserves natural resources because everyone starts separating the waste as waste volumes go down without organic waste. This way, we can ensure a healthier environment for current and future generations.

Harmful Air and Water Pollution

Harmful Fumes into the Air and Water!

Burning organic material releases harmful pollutants, including particulate matter, dioxins,  and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), leading to poor air quality and potential health risks. Additionally, landfilling waste can result in leachate that contaminates groundwater and nearby water bodies.

Both short- and long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to a wide range of diseases, including stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, trachea, bronchus and lung cancers, aggravated asthma, and lower respiratory infections.

Also, exposure to air pollution can cause type 2 diabetes, obesity, systemic inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. This does not even consider the damage done to young developing brains in need of lots of oxygen. 

In 2021 over 97% of the urban population was exposed to air pollution. If we instead would have 97 % of the urban population growing plants, all fine particulates, and many air pollutants would be absorbed by the plants and turned into food. What a wonderful world we live in.

Finishing the Cycle: Organic matter deserves a rebirth, not just an end in fire or underground.

worm composter for the family

Closing The Loop

Why settle for synthetic fertilizers? Instead, opt for nature's organic material! It's like deciding to bring plastic food to Christmas dinner instead of a wild turkey.

Worm composting can even be done indoors, while black soldier fly larvae offer a wide spectrum of waste variety, fast converting rates, and healthy protein and fats for feeding livestock, pets, and humans.

Recycling organic material through composting or other sustainable methods closes the nutrient loop, returning valuable nutrients to the soil. This reduces the demand for synthetic fertilizers and helps preserve valuable resources.

 

Sustainable Agriculture and Soil Health

Taking care of the soil is key to sustainable agriculture. Vermicomposting and a healthy soil structure will improve water-holding, increase crop resilience, and support insects and wildlife. Burning or landfill disposal of organic material should be avoided.

It's important to preserve organic material, as it plays an essential role in soil health and productivity. Let's commit to sustainable practices that support soil health and a flourishing ecosystem for future generations.

When your compost pile has better recycling skills than you, it's time to accept the circular economy!

Encouraging Circular Economy

Encouraging the Resource Reutilization Cycle

The resource reutilization cycle is essential for sustainability and waste reduction. With this circular economy approach, resources can be used efficiently and environmental impact can be minimized.

Six key points that show the importance of the resource reutilization cycle:

  • Automation: Automation technology makes processes smoother, resulting in higher efficiency and productivity. This gives more freedom in utilizing resources at home.
  • Composting: Composting is a sustainable way to manage organic waste. Not only time is saved, but also unpleasant odors from traditional landfill disposal.
  • Osmosis filters: Osmosis filters purify water from local sources, eliminating the need for plastic bottled water and reducing plastic waste.
  • Closed-loop systems: Closed-loop systems recycle and reprocess materials, reducing reliance on virgin resources and waste generation.
  • Product durability: Designing products with long-lasting durability promotes sustainability by extending their lifespan and reducing replacements.
  • Collaboration: Collaboration among industries and sectors fosters innovation and knowledge sharing, leading to advances in resource utilization.

In addition to these points, the resource reutilization cycle helps create a more sustainable future. Natural resources can be conserved, pollution can be minimized, and climate change can be mitigated.

Composting is especially important in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) found that composting can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 135 kilograms per tonne of waste processed annually.

The evidence shows that promoting a circular economy through resource reutilization can have wide-ranging environmental benefits while driving economic growth and innovation. A world without organic material would be as dull as an empty disco, with even the bacteria doing nothing.

Supporting Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Promoting Bio-Diversity and Ecosystems:

Organic material ingested by organisms is key to fostering diverse fauna and flora. They help to harmonize natural habitats and secure ecological balance. These organisms also enrich soil nutrients, boosting plant growth. Plus, they facilitate nutrient cycling and decompose organic matter, providing habitat and food for various species.

To support biodiversity and ecosystems, a holistic sustainability approach to waste management is essential. This includes minimizing land conversion and preserving vital ecological functions of existing ecosystems for future generations.

Fact: UNEP states that waste management practices have a huge impact on biodiversity loss.

Empowering local communities: Grow your own organic produce and save the planet from landfill disasters! Who needs imported vegetables when you can do this?

Empowering Local Communities

Sustainable waste solutions empower communities to take control of their organic material. This reduces landfill reliance and creates a cleaner living environment. Benefits include:

  • Stronger, tighter-knit local communities.
  • Better Nourished and independent communities
  • Environmental stewardship.
  • Social meeting points, fostering community connections.
  • Encouraging sharing and improving on overabundance of food.
  • Developing a sense of ownership and responsibility for their environment.

Innovative initiatives like roof gardens build social meeting points, fostering a sense of belonging and community pride. Plus, they remind us that organic material has more potential than a Tinder profile! A small change can make a bigger impact when we give local communities the power to make sustainable waste solutions happen.

A Small Change, Big Impact

Small Change, Big ROI

One small shift can have huge effects on our environment. Here are 6 ways that small steps can make a big impact:

  1. Self-watering and automation systems reduce the labor needed to grow food.
  2. Worm composters take little maintenance but help with organic waste management.
  3. The black soldier fly is an effective tool for waste reduction.
  4. Fish feeders automate feeding while reducing human involvement.
  5. Together, sharing these changes can help mitigate climate change and save money.
  6. Carbon sequestration is improved, and greenhouse gas emissions are lowered due to sustainable practices.

Unlocking Hidden Benefits

By utilizing these practices, we not only stop organic material from going to waste but also gain additional advantages. Self-watering and automation systems make growing food less labor-intensive. Worm composters manage waste and enrich soil with nutrients. The black soldier fly aids in waste management and food production. And fish feeders automate fish feeding. There are endless possibilities to make positive changes.

Sarah's Story of Transformation

Sarah, a small-scale farmer, put these practices into use. With self-watering and automation systems, she could focus on other aspects of farming. She installed worm composters to manage waste and enrich soil. She used black soldier flies for waste reduction. And she put in fish feeders for automated fish feeding. Sarah saw how insignificant changes can cause major environmental improvements. She also contributed to climate change mitigation and saved money.

Why is it important to not lose organic material by burning or landfill disposal?

Burning or landfill disposal of organic material can result in the loss of valuable resources and contribute to environmental harm, making it crucial to find alternative methods of disposal.

What are the negative effects of burning organic material?

Burning organic material releases harmful greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, which contribute to climate change and pollution. It also wastes limited valuable nutrients that can be used to support plant growth and soil health.

How does landfill disposal of organic material impact the environment?

When organic material is sent to landfills, it breaks down and produces methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Landfills can also release harmful toxins into the environment, contaminating soil and water sources.

What are the alternatives to burning or landfill disposal of organic material?

Composting and anaerobic digestion are two environmentally friendly alternatives to burning or landfill disposal. These methods convert organic material into nutrient-rich soil amendments and biogas, respectively, reducing waste and emissions.

Why is preserving organic material important for soil health?

Organic material contains essential nutrients and microorganisms that nourish and support healthy soil. Losing organic material through burning or landfill disposal can deplete soil health and fertility, making it harder for plants to grow and thrive.

What can individuals do to help prevent the loss of organic material?

Individuals can reduce their waste and support composting and anaerobic digestion by properly disposing of organic material, such as food scraps and yard waste, in designated bins or facilities. They can also use compost in their gardens and support local initiatives for waste reduction and sustainable practices.



Conclusion

Preserving and recycling organic material is paramount for a sustainable future. The consequences of burning or landfilling organic waste are far-reaching, impacting soil health, air and water quality, and biodiversity, and contributing to climate change. By adopting composting and vermicomposting, we transform waste into a valuable resource, close the nutrient loop, and promote a circular economy. As responsible stewards of the planet, it is our duty to prioritize sustainable waste management practices, embracing the potential of organic material to build a healthier and more resilient world for generations to come.