CHAPTER - 3

WASTE MINIMISATION - CONCEPT


1.0 Waste Minimisation Concept



1.0 Waste Minimisation Concept
Since the beginning of environmental movement in the country, both government regulatory agencies and the industry focussed their environment protection efforts on controlling the effluent at the point where they enter the environment. This concept is appropriately known as "End Of Pipe (EOP)" treatment. While this EOP approach has to some extent been effective for protecting the environment, it has also presented following disadvantages:

1) It can result in the transfer of pollutant from one medium to another thereby effecting no net environmental benefits. In some instances, this transfer can even increase the risk to human health and the environment.

2) It requires huge dead investments and recurring expenses which makes this concept highly unsustainable and at times for most of the SMEs this is just not feasible on account of poor profitability, space constraints etc.

Realising these drawbacks and looking into other pressing problems ( the pollutant assimilation capacity of the receiving bodies nearing exhaustion), the concerned agencies were forced to look back into the industrial production processes and search for alternative approaches for environmental protection - thus emerged the concept of proactive approach of waste reduction at source as a means for achieving environmental protection. In other words, waste minimisation concept was realised as the need of the day. Waste Minimisation can be defined as "A new and creative way of thinking about products and the processes which make them. It is achieved by the continuous application of strategies to minimise the generation of wastes and emissions".

For processes, waste minimisation involves conserving raw materials and energy, eliminating the use of toxic substances as much as possible, reducing quantity and toxicity of emissions and wastes before they leave the process etc.

For products, it means reducing their environmental impact during its entire life cycle from raw material extraction till ultimate disposal.

Waste Minimisation means economic savings from reduced consumption of raw materials and energy, it means lower pollutant treatment costs, it means better working conditions, it also reflects other benefits such as a better company image. Implementing Waste Minimisation may not (in fact, will not) solve all environmental problems at a facility, but it does decrease the need for installing and operating end-of-pipe treatment equipment and reduces the quantity of hazardous waste that needs to be treated and disposed of

Waste Minimisation efforts often reduce workers' exposure to hazardous chemicals, as well as the frequency and severity of accidents and chemical releases. Products that are designed and produced with Waste Minimisation concepts in mind are often less harmful for consumers to use