When we talk about resource recovery, it is related with solid waste management. Solid wastes and their collection, disposal, treatment need to be done in a way in which pollution to the environment can be prevented but also, resources can be recovered to as much extent as possible.
Initial days of civilization, thoughts were given to proper collection and allocating areas whereby the solid wastes of society could be collected and processed under hygienic conditions. Today, authorities have taken a step further. They are trying to segregate the different types of wastes which society is accumulating, trying to save materials and substances which can be reused further before they are returned to the landfill areas for the natural process of decomposition or incineration.
The step towards resource recovery from solid waste disposal comes from the fact that resources are slowly getting depleted from the earth’s surface. As the world needs more and more energy to sustain the giant wheels of civilization and advancements of technology, the reality is that earth has a finite pool of resources which are being depleted faster than the resources are being returned to earth. Thus the movement to recover from the wastes of society has come into focus.
Resource recovery can take place by following the three principles – reduce, reuse and recycle. Solid wastes when they come into the landfill areas, are segregated into the various categories of wastes – from those which consist of bio degradable substances to non biodegradable substances such as plastics, paper, synthetic materials and so forth. These are then differentiated as to whether materials can be reclaimed from them or they can be burned down into ashes by the incineration method. When it comes to mostly household wastes and biodegradable organic substances, incineration or pyrolysis methods are commonly used. The ash, heat, gases which are generated are energy resources which are captured and used to run the incinerators themselves.
The materials which are found reusable are subjected to recycling plants which contain giant shredders which can shred off appliances and other materials into tiny bits and the base metals and other items which are recovered from them are sent off to foundries and smelting plants to be used in different manufacturing processes.
People in societies are being made aware of the increasing problem of waste accumulation and the importance of resource recovery. They are being encouraged to reduce their utilization of the earth’s resources such as paper, reduce use of harmful elements such as plastics, conserve use of energy such as lights, fans, heaters and so forth. They are being encouraged to reuse resources such as use rechargeable batteries, plastic bags for repeated purchases and so forth. Recycling and supporting products made from recycled materials is another way to ensure recovery of resources.
Thus, there is much that people can be made aware of and changes that can be incorporated in our daily lives to help conserve resources on this planet. And waste management is one way to do just that.