One of the major purposes of waste jobs is not to deal just with the packaging and materials a business has already created – but to prevent it from creating any more. That’s why the primary thrust of many waste management programme is always to reuse or recycle before landfill is considered.

In general you’re looking at three options before the landfill happens – reuse, which is favoured because it requires little to no energy to perform; recycle, next bets because although it uses energy it produces materials without digging up more stuff or clearing more forests; waste to energy, viewed with suspicion because it pollutes, but still better than just dumping stuff in the ground; and finally landfill.

Reuse is next to impossible in a business situation, except in very small and specific cases – like a café, for example, which technically reuses its crockery and cutlery rather than getting new plates every time a meal has been sold. So most corporate waste jobs are about finding ways to inject by-product and effluvia into recycling.

Actually that reminds me – there is another method of waste management commonly used in business, which I have not yet outlined. Biodegrading is technically not recycling, because the material that biodegrades is not reconstituted into another material of the same class. So waste jobs in business may also look at biodegradable materials and see how these may be most effectively used.

In every waste management scheme, the goal is to minimise energy used in dealing with the waste, while maximising energy saved as a result of having the waste dealt with. That second point is a nice one so I’ll explain further.

When you maximise the energy saved by your waste jobs, you aren’t just talking about the energy you didn’t use when you refrained, for example, from burning it or from transporting it to a landfill. You are also talking about the energy you didn’t have to use to create more of the same item later (rather than recycling it). So on occasion the energy saving made through using a low-energy form of waste management can be significantly higher than it first looks.

Recycling is hardly ever practised in the pure sense, even where the most efficient waste jobs are underway. Normally it is too expensive to recycle something into a carbon copy of itself – printer paper into printer paper, for instance – so instead the recycled stuff is injected into manufacturing processes for similar classes of thing. Paper board and specifically recycled paper are of a different type or quality to high gsm printer paper – but they still represent a reduction in the amount of new deforestation being done to provide the paperboard and the other paper products.

There are of course valid arguments against recycling as an effective way to run waste jobs. The basic claim is that recycling itself is so energy-costly that it would be better not to bother. Again, the reality of the situation is as much as anything a function of several warring factors. If legislation demands recycling, for instance, then recycling must be done.
About Author: Olivia is a freelance copywriter and environmentalist. He’s currently working with Ends Job Search promoting a variety of jobs including waste jobs and specialist jobs in the conservation sector.

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