What Is Waste Separation?
Waste separation is a separate collection of different types of waste. The waste, which is as far as possible sorted by type, is then reused as secondary raw material or disposed of according to type.
A distinction is made between two groups of originators and dependent aspects for waste separation:
- The separation of household waste in private households.
- The separation of waste in trade and industry.
This differentiation results in different waste separation systems. Household waste is usually disposed of uniformly through a system that covers the entire area and is integrated into the municipal waste management system. On the other hand, companies require special solutions adapted to the industry and product, which can be integrated into their business workflows.
Today, both sides are often combined into a uniform waste separation system that follows the same legal framework, financing and waste management organization.
In addition to waste from consumption and production (primary waste), secondary waste is also considered in waste separation. This waste is generated during waste disposal (including residues from animal carcass recycling, waste incineration ashes and slag, shredded material, sewage sludge).
What methods of waste separation are there?
Waste has become an important economic good. This is the only way to finance waste disposal from a macroeconomic point of view. For this reason, waste separation is also seen as an opportunity to refine otherwise worthless material. Modern waste management follows this principle.
In the process of waste separation, a distinction is made between two methods:
- The originator sorting by himself.
- The subsequent sorting in waste sorting plants, the so-called splitting.
The latest developments are taking into account the later disposal of a product already during its manufacturing and use. This should make waste separation easier. Measures such as the Green Dot also make it easier for disposal companies to separate the residual waste from the source furthermore efficiently.
What Types of Waste Separation Are There?
Until the late 1970s, there was only one type of waste separation: waste and non-waste. Accordingly, there was only one garbage can for each household, and for garbage that did not fit into the can, bulky waste was collected several times a year. It was only from this time on that thoughts were given to waste separation further.
- Waste glass
Used glass is understood to be container forms made of glass that are not subject to a deposit. Mostly, waste glass is collected in central, public containers, differentiated by green, brown, and white colours.
- Waste paper
We have our garbage cans for the disposal of waste paper and cardboard residues. The use of “blue garbage can” is mandatory.
- Construction waste/mixed construction waste
All mineral materials are counted as building rubble, everything beyond that is classified as mixed construction waste. This waste must be disposed of in special containers.
- Biowaste garbage can
Organic waste such as leftover food or fruit is better utilized with the help of the “brown” organic waste garbage can, for example, biogas or fertilizer.
- Dual system
In the course of the new packaging ordinance of 1991, the Dual System was introduced in Germany. All correspondingly marked packaging materials made of plastic and metal are put into the yellow garbage can.
- Electronic scrap
These wastes are usually consumer electronics, communications equipment and a variety of household aids and lighting fixtures. It is also hazardous waste.
- Bulky waste
Anything that does not fit into the 120-liter trash can and is a disused household item is considered bulky waste. For such waste, a bulky waste collection must be ordered, or there are regular collection dates.
- Special waste
All waste that is explosive or toxic is considered hazardous waste. This includes old paints and varnishes, alkalis, disinfectants, acids and waste containing oil, which must be disposed of separately.
Why Is Waste Separation Sensible and Important?
Correctly implemented waste separation is sustainable. It conserves natural resources, protects the environment from further destruction and saves costs. Many recyclable materials and raw materials in the waste can be recycled by separating waste.