Human-caused climate change is no longer subject to scientific debate. There is considerable evidence linking our actions to global warming and the effects of this are predicted to be extreme. While the energy industry is responsible for the majority of global concentrations of greenhouse gases, the waste industry is another substantial culprit.
We all produce waste, and a lot of it. It is estimated that Australians could cover the entire area of Victoria with the amount of waste sent to landfill per year. That’s a pretty sobering fact. It highlights the growing need to rethink rubbish removal Sydney and the potential for small individual actions to contribute significantly towards the mitigation of climate change.
The harmful impacts of the waste industry can be found underground in landfill. To fully decompose plastic requires sunlight, so any plastic that is not recycled and ends up in landfill will be there for a long time, since, unsurprisingly, there is not a lot of sunlight beneath our feet.
While plastic waits to fully decompose, it produces methane and this is where the climate feels the impact. Unlike its cousin carbon dioxide, methane is not talked about that much, but it needs to be. Anthropogenic methane emissions sit at around 320 million tons annually. One molecule of methane is equivalent to at least 23 molecules of carbon dioxide in terms of its global warming potential. With rubbish removal in Sydney supplying what gets buried in the ground and how much methane is emitted into the atmosphere, looking at how environmental rubbish removal in Sydney is could help Australia meet its emission reduction goals.
If each individual recycled as much as possible, the positive impact on the environment would be big. In Australia, 200,000 plastic bags are sent to landfill every hour, where they will take at least 500 years to fully decompose. Meanwhile, 5 million coffee cups go into the ground per day making them the second largest contributor to landfill contents after plastic bottles, which can take up to 450 years to break down.
From these figures, then, it shouldn’t be hard to understand that rubbish removal in Sydney, in particular the distinction between what gets recycled and what gets dumped in landfill and contributes towards methane emissions, is important to the climate change effort. Not only because of methane emissions from landfill contents decomposing, but also due to emissions used in clearing trees to provide the initial space for landfill.
Given Australia’s addiction to coffee, disposal of coffee cups is a key starting point for environmental friendly rubbish removal in Sydney. A majority of coffee cups do not end up getting recycled due to their complex material composition (made from both plastic and paper) and, when disposed of incorrectly, contamination of other waste. Quite simply, if we all decided to either sit in and drink coffee from ceramic cups or bring our own reusable cup for takeaway drinks on the go, it would put a significant dent in landfill waste and therefore methane emissions. That is an easy change that each individual can and should make, along with a wider policy of increased recycling. Spread the word around the office.
Indeed, how we undergo rubbish removal in Sydney today will impact on the way of life for future generations, our children and our grandchildren. The benefits of acting now to reduce methane emissions from landfill can have a bigger and quicker impact than efforts to reduce carbon dioxide since methane is a more potent greenhouse gas and is has a shorter life span.