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Sustainable Business and waste management technologies

Consider the following hierarchy of waste management technologies in decreasing order of preference:

1. waste reduction
2. reuse of material
3. recycling
4. treatment or incineration
5. land disposal

What criteria do you think are the most important in this prioritization of preference? Do you think this order of preference is correct and if not what would you change?

Using specific examples to support your answers, what are advantages and disadvantages of each of the methods considering the options of on-site versus off-site waste management?

Solution Preview

Businesses want to optimally reduce the waste they generate. Waste generation is a cost which needs to be managed effectively; therefore, less waste results in less to be managed. Reuse of material benefits others without much, if any, processing. Transportation and handling are costs, but usually minimal costs. Recycling involves costs in the act of processing the waste into other products, which can then be used / sold effectively. However, many businesses are not ready to take on the eventual production / sales of the recycled product. Treatment or incineration is often the only legal management of hazardous materials, and thus a necessary cost. Land disposal includes the cost of transportation, handling, and the landfill cost itself, while benefiting nothing. Reduction, reuse, and recycling all benefit the environment to varying degrees, however ...

Solution Summary

This solution includes an analysis of waste reduction, reuse of material, recycling, treatment or incineration, and land disposal and their appropriate prioritization for an organization as well as advantages and disadvantages of each and of off-site vs. on-site options.