Resource recovery in terms of waste aims to reduce the amount of waste generated and promote the re-use, and in turn, reducing the need for raw materials. Therefore, as the demand for materials grows worldwide, and with raising input costs, it makes sense for businesses to adopt the waste hierarchy.
The waste hierarchy indicates an order of preference for action to reduce and manage waste, with prevention being the most favourable option and disposal the least favourable. In implementing the waste hierarchy, the aim is to extract the maximum practicable benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste. The correct implementation of the waste hierarchy can help prevent emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce pollutants, save energy, conserve resources, and stimulate the generation of green technologies.
The prevention and minimisation of waste involves a set of processes and practices being implemented to prevent or reduce where possible the amount of waste arising from a certain activity. Waste prevention and minimisation should be the primary focus of waste management within industry, as eliminating or minimising the quantity of waste in the first instance significantly addresses the issue. The sustainable recovery and treatment of waste can also involve a significant amount of time and resources; therefore, the benefits of waste prevention and minimisation can be considerable if carried out effectively from the outset.
Where waste has been prevented or minimised as much as possible and yet certain quantities of unavoidable waste arise, the treatment, sustainable recovery, and re-use of wastes must be considered. For example, with the treatment of wastewater, auditing upstream production processes to optimise recycling opportunities would be beneficial to ensure as much recovery of the waste stream can be achieved as possible.
Waste resource recovery goes further than just the management of waste; it is part of the circular economy in which the requirement for the extraction of natural resources and generation of waste is minimised. Resource recovery can apply to all industries, and with an in-depth assessment of manufacturing processes and the materials used, can help significantly reduce the volume of waste produced.
AVRIO can help businesses to continually review and resource improvements to operations and management systems. This will help to ensure businesses are as resource-efficient as possible while remaining in compliance with all relevant legislation.