In Gatsby Metals, we try to minimize the harm to biosphere and cherish environmentally friendly activity and lifestyle. We appeal for active reduce of unrecyclable waste volume that each of one generates, separate waste disposal, reuse of plastic items and equipment instead of buying new and active participation in clean up campaigns of urban and natural spaces.
Gatsby Metals applies the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover waste management strategy.
Reduce: is to limit the amount of waste you create. This includes buying products with less packaging and entails the deliberate lowering of the number of plastics an individual uses in his day to day life.
Reuse: this involves putting to use plastics that have already been used. This can mean putting them to better use than just throwing them away. For instance glass jar for food or plastic bags for bin liners.
Recycle: The basic phases in recycling are the collection of waste materials, their processing or manufacture into new products, and the purchase of those products, which may then themselves be recycled. Recycling can help reduce the quantities of solid waste deposited in landfills.
Recover: is to convert waste into resources (such as electricity, heat, compost and fuel) through thermal and biological means. On individual level, this entails the insistence on not using plastic but rather finding and using existing alternatives.
Waste Management Methods
Worldwide there are four different waste processing paths: Recycling, Composting, Incineration and Landfilling.
Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. It is an alternative to "conventional" waste disposal, which saves material and help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing: energy usage, air pollution (from incineration), and water pollution (from landfilling).
Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed in a process called composting. This process recycles various organic materials otherwise regarded as waste products and produces a soil conditioner (the compost).
Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials. Incineration and other high-temperature waste treatment systems are described as "thermal treatment". Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas and heat. The ash is mostly formed by the inorganic constituents of the waste and may take the form of solid lumps or particulates carried by the flue gas. The flue gases must be cleaned of gaseous and particulate pollutants before they are dispersed into the atmosphere. In some cases, the heat generated by incineration can be used to generate electric power.
Plants for waste incineration however release 2.5 times as much CO2 to make the same amount of electricity as a coal power plant. This is evidenced by data compiled by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their eGRID database.
The chart shows that generation of 1MW energy would discharge CO2 emissions equivalent to:
- 2 500kg from solid trash incineration;
- 1 500kg from biomass incineration;
- 1 000kg from coal&oil fired power plants;
- 450kg gas fired station
For comparison 1 MW energy produced in a nuclear power plant could get as low as 15kg CO2.
A landfill site (also known as a tip, dump, rubbish dump, garbage dump or dumping ground and historically as a midden) is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial. Landfill is the oldest form of waste treatment, although the burial of the waste is modern; historically, refuse was simply left in piles or thrown into pits. Historically, landfills have been the most common method of organized waste disposal and remain so in many places around the world.
Landfilling is potentially harmful to the biosphere because of (i) possible groundwater contamination and (ii) generation of methane associated with buried organic waste, which undergoes anaerobic decomposition (because of the lack of oxygen). When released into the atmosphere, methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Waste Management in European Union
The mean quantity of municipal waste generated yearly by a resident of the EU in the last decade is about 500kg. With the ever increasing purchasing power and the improving life standard the trend of increased goods consumption will result in an increase of generated waste.
According to Eurostat in 2007 and 2017 the waste management methods have had the following proportion in European Union countries:
The data demonstrates that in 10 years, recycling and composting which are renewable waste methods had almost coughed up (from 36% in 2007 to 48% in 2017) with the more environmentally harmful alternatives incineration and landfilling.
This is a demonstration that there is a commendable reduce of the waste related environmental impact in EU.
In order to keep that tendency on, we all must take active participation in the municipality initiatives associated with separate waste disposal.
Limiting the global warming
In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC (https://www.ipcc.ch/) reported:
“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” Specifically, “Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.”
Indeed, to get to 45% cut of the CO2 emissions within a decade we need to make significant change in the way we implement our daily activities.
We all very much shall responsibly take our share in this mission.
Did you know that CO2 emission attributable to one liter fuel of your car amounts 2.32kg CO2 for a gasoline car and 2.7 kg for a diesel car?
That said, if you travel 10 000km with your car yearly, you will be accountable for just about 2 500 kg CO2 emission yearly associated only with the operation of your vehicle.
It is time for electrical family vehicle.
Make sure that your offspring and the next generations will live on a clean planet Earth
Take a moment to think that we are not the last living generation on Earth. In 200 or 500 years, human beings, animals and plants will continue to be born, grow, meet each other, fall in love, live and dream for quality life which given our present negligence may turn to be inaccessible at such time.
This is why it is sensible to put all efforts for ecologically clean operations and lifestyle. Our very own children and the generations after ask for this.
Sort the waste
As a first step, forget about the general garbage bin. Yes, it is around the corner but nowadays the waste sorting containers are everywhere even in the small population centers.
The ecological problem related with the general purpose waste container is that it is destined to be landfilled. The waste from this container includes large organic part which as mentioned earlier when buried will generate methane a much worse greenhouse gas than CO2.
Waste Management in Sofia Municipality
A distribution map with the blue, yellow and green waste sorting containers for paper, plastic and metallic, and glass waste for Sofia city is available on https://waste.sofia.bg/map/.
On this website Sofia Municipality provides information for locations and logistic measures for collection of the following waste categories: paper, plastics, metals, glass, electronic devices, batteries, organic waste, bio waste, clothes, building materials, car batteries, machine oils, tires, toxic waste.
This goes to show that the waste sorting environment on municipality level is well established. It is up to the commitment of every individual, by living in a sustainable manner, to give back his love to the Earth, which created all of us.
It is time to define e-waste strategy
Most of us have a growing collection of unused mobile phones secreted in a drawer, tied to us by threads of nostalgia or the psychological barriers to get rid of electronic goods. Unlike redundant washing machines or television sets, the old mobiles are small enough to hide and forget.
With the technological progress, the quantity of unused electronic devices in a household has been rapidly increasing. Studies indicate that 44% of users leave their old smartphone somewhere in the house, other 14% throw it in the general garbage. It shall be mentioned that a smartphone includes almost half of the periodic table including heavy metals and discarding it outside designated places is a global problem.
E-waste represents 2% of America’s trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste in those landfills.
Smartphones are pocket-sized vaults of precious metals and rare earths. A typical iPhone is estimated to house around 0.034g of gold, 0.34g of silver, 0.015g of palladium and less than one-thousandth of a gram of platinum. It also contains the less valuable but still significant aluminum (25g) and copper (around 15g).
And that’s just the start. Smartphones also contain a range of rare earth elements – elements that are actually plentiful in the Earth’s crust but extremely difficult to mine and extract economically – including yttrium, lanthanum, terbium, neodymium, gadolinium and praseodymium.
Then there’s also the plastic, the glass, the battery… it’s a very long list of ingredients.
These are all present in relatively small amounts. But more than two billion people currently have a smartphone, and that number is projected to increase. What’s more, the concentration of some of these elements, such as gold and silver in a mobile phone is actually much higher than their concentration in an equivalent weight of ore. One tone of iPhones would deliver 300 times more gold than a tone of gold ore and 6.5 times more silver than a tone of silver ore.
WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?
Because those two billion smartphone users upgrade to a new phone roughly every 11 months, which means their old smartphone gets cast into a drawer somewhere and forgotten about, or it gets thrown out. Barely 10% of these get recycled and their precious components recovered and reused. It’s a veritable goldmine sitting in cupboards, in boxes, in landfill. In an era when the prefix ‘peak’ is starting to be added to a whole lot of resources as well as oil, it makes economic and environmental sense to avoid wasting such valuable substances.
Еstablish e-waste management policy
Instead of being careless, we shall try to establish e-waste management policy for our household/company. A good start would be reducing the number of devices to the extent possible, longer use of each device and hand over of unused devices to the recycling channels instead of throwing them in the garbage or keeping them at home.
Currently most of the mobile operators worldwide have enabled a possibility to return back unused mobile phones and the chances are that this way you could get new device at a discount.
Did you know that the medals for the postponed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are created entirely from recycled consumer devices?
About 32kg of gold were extracted from 6.2 million used mobile phones donated over two years by the Japanese public. They also recovered 3.5 tons of silver and 2.2 tons of bronze to make 5 000 Olympic and Paralympic medals.
How about that!
Those who donated their unused devices for the cause will not only take pride of being a significant part of the home Olympics. They are surely going to apply this attitude for the years to come educating their children to be e-waste thoughtful as well.
In addition, the bed frames for athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been made from recyclable cardboard. The mattresses for the 26 000 beds needed for the Olympics are formed of polyethylene materials that will be reused for plastic products after the event.
We could all take this inspirational move as an example.
Well done, Japan!
Call Sofia municipality to take your old refrigerator or home boiler free of charge!
Instead of harming the environment why, don’t you just make a phone call to arrange for a municipality team to come home and take unused large home appliances?
Electronic and electrical equipment, white and black appliances could be turned over in the scrap depots or you could arrange free of charge transporting from your home on 080014100 or 0885770041.
Compost the organic waste
Bio-waste like leaves, plants, soil, branches shall be placed in the special brown containers (for Sofia) or left BESIDES the general waste bins, carefully packed so that they do not disunite around the bin.
Viable alternative of the brown containers not available in every municipality is the composting. Those who live in houses and have backyards generate large amounts of biodegradable waste. Instead of throwing this waste for landfilling, we could save it in a composter where with time these unused organic materials turn into soil conditioner perfectly suitable for our garden.
In addition, this way we reduce the amount of waste that needs to be transported and deposited which in turn saves energy. Compost is formed because of the natural decomposition of organic materials caused by the soil animals. Initially, the compost is being treated by the primary consumers like bacteria, fungi, scrofula, earthworms, snails, centipedes etc.
Later mites and very small bugs are involved and after that the tertiary consumers interfere – animals who eat the above listed species or the leftovers from their activity or just plant residues.
In order to get quality compost, it is necessary to keep some simple rules like not composting meat, fish or other organics that are appetizing for rodents. It is recommended to monitor the acidity of the soil, which is being regulated by fertilization and liming. From time to time, the composter shall be stirred so that the biomass do not rot.
The waste, which is subject to composting, is divided into “greens” – food waste including nitrogen and “browns” – waste including predominantly carbon. The greens are those that are fresh and moist while the browns are dry. The former include peels from vegetables and fruits, coffee grounds, tea bags, indoor and garden flowers as well as freshly mowed grass.
Brown are dried grass, straw, hay, bread, eggshells and pasta products. For quality compost the ratio green/brown shall be 30:1. Because the green waste is decomposed fast and the brown slow, the overall process is slowed down when there is no sufficient green portion.
Operate in environmentally friendly way
As part of our waste management policy we could also apply some other simple ”save the planet” principles.
Avoid using plastic bags – replace them with paper bags. Instead of constantly buying new items, think carefully and inform yourself of ways to modify or fine-tune existing items/devices. This way we will reduce the amount of generated waste.
In this spirit, Getsby Metals packaging principles include making packages from used paper packaging. Do it yourself as well.
The administration of our activity involves huge document flow. We want to save the forests and the jungle hence to the extent possible we do not print out hard copies of documents. In that direction we actively advise the state administration and our corporate partners to follow similar policy. Let’s breathe clean air.
Get involved in clean up campaigns of the neighborhood where you live. Do so twice a year – in springtime and in the autumn. Initiate clean up campaigns of the places you love to visit, regardless if this is in the mountain or this special forest glade with a stream where you regularly go for picnic. This way you help others to feel better at the same place and the animals to be healthier and live in natural, unpolluted environment.
Plant a tree. Avoid buying black plastics goods. Black plastic is difficult for lasers to see and therefore it is generally not sorted for recycling. Avoid using plastic cups, plates and utensils.
The European parliament voted ban to many single use plastic products from 2021 including:
- Disposable utensils (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks)
- Single use plastic dishes
- Plastic straws
- Plastic cotton buds
- Plastic balloon handles
- Oxodegradable plastics and food containers like cups made of expanded polystyrene
The plastics that are not recyclable include blisters with tablets or capsules, laminated packaging for animal food, paint containers, plastic toys and extruded polystyrene used for packaging. The plastic and aluminum foil is not recyclable as well as chips packages, food and drinks in pouches, packing of pre-cut salads, non-polyethylene foils like PP, PVC etc.
Buy for your children either wooden or metal toys.
Leave the car in the garage
Have you noticed on your way to work in the morning’s rush hour that in most of the vehicles there is only one passenger – the driver? This is the reason for the urban congestions and the polluted air. Imagine how much cleaner would have been the atmosphere if every vehicle transports 5 passengers, four of which have left the car at home and are doing their daily commute to work by the help of a neighbor or a colleague. It will be 5 times cleaner!
Be active in finding alternative transportation – subway, trolleybus, tram, bicycle, moped or simply walking which is also good for your health.
For employers – chose office location close to a subway station. Offer monthly transport tickets or simply transport your employees. If you ensure daily transport of 40 employees with two or three vehicles this will be enormous gift for your fellow citizens and good marketing move. Favorable natural conditions allowed our existence and preserving them must be everyone’s duty.