Feb 7, 2019 in Analysis

Waste Management in the USA and Germany

Introduction

The waste management is an important issue that our world faces today. With the every decade this problem becomes more and more urgent and complicated. The waste contaminates the environment and atmosphere and kills our planet. It is like a slow bomb that can destroy everything we have unless the humanity will find ways to cope with it. Many countries worldwide already have a good experience of successful managing of their waste. And Germany is the country that represents these innovations best of all. The reasons for that are deeper than simple pragmatism of the political bodies. This nation was always characterized by sophisticated approaches to the events around them. They can be a perfect example in many spheres of political, cultural and social life. The same thing concerns the way how the Germans generate their waste. Dislike other countries they do not use landfills and do well in recycling, reduction and transforming waste to the energy. However, their success is a result of cooperation and partnership between the politics and every citizen of the country. No one country can achieve that unless its nation will take their personal effort. And yet, the politics influence people and it is up to them to cope with this problem. There are numerous ways how to manage the waste not only to reduce the harm to the environment but also to get some benefits. The USA is a big country and people inhabiting it are as diverse as the country’s states. Thus, it becomes more complicated to generate the waste. However, the country targets at improvement of the existing methods and strategies. The Americans still use landfills that damage the environment. The country experiences a lack of free space for the creation of new ones as the amount of waste increases annually. And yet, the government establishes new requirements and recommendations to have better future for them and the following generations. Although, the issue of waste generation depends on every human personally, the politics plays the main role in its solving. 

Waste management in Germany

The policy of Germany aims to turn the waste into resources.  The country realized that the wastes are a good source of raw material that can be reused for the benefits of the country. They are able to collect and reuse metal, glass and textiles thanks to the people who separate their waste. There are no legal obligations for Germans to sort their household wastes. However, they are extremely conscious about that and feel strong responsibility to take care about the environment. 

This awareness and consciousness of the German nation allows the state to introduce new recycling technologies and capacities. The lack of raw materials is one of the biggest problems for many countries. Thus, Germany found a solution and started to reuse recycled wastes. In addition, it excludes the transportation costs and reduces the impact on environment. This political side is very influential as the government of every country pays more attention to the economic benefits than to the environmental. And also it leads to the reduction of harmful emissions leading to the climate change. German politics look forward to the future, making decisions that will protect their citizens and the country in general. As a result, this closed cycle waste management leads to the development of the economy of this state. Moreover, it became a part of the economic sector and allows achieving the high recycling rate.  

Germany represents the country with the most substantial approach to the issue of waste management. The government made the biggest contribution to that in 2005, when it banned the landfilling of wastes. Thus, they protect the water, air and soil from the dangerous waste emissions (Look, 2009). Although, the recycling and reuse of wastes has evident advantages, there are some disadvantages as well. Each category of wastes collected separately has different types and people cannot reprocess them together. Thus, they separate them and reprocess individually. In addition, the recycled materials have much lower quality and cannot serve to the same needs as before.  Besides, the recycling also causes the wastes that must be saved in special secure landfills.  Thus, it is important to make people aware of the possible consequences of waste contamination and harmful influence of land fields. People must share positive experience the other countries have and realize that our impact can change the future of this world. 

 
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Waste management in the USA

The situation in the USA is another. There are multiple landfills across the country and it experiences a lack of free place for the new ones. The percent of waste generation increases annually and the problem begins to transform into crisis.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of average American’s waste increased by a third during the last thirty years (Pichtel, 2014). The country focuses of the corresponding to the rule of three Rs and aims its policy to recycle, reuse and reduce the wastes.  The hazard of the landfills is increasing. The wastes contaminate water, air and soil causing significant harm to the health of people. The agricultural and mining industries produce the major part of wastes in the USA. The other source is food wastes that are prevailing in the country. While there are people in the world dying from hunger, the Americans throw away significant amounts of food products (Ferdman, 2012).

However, the USA works on making the landfills the least hazardous for the country. The special machinery compacts the layers of waste and cowers with earth. When the landfill is full and cannot be used any more, they cover it with the soil and use for other purposes. And yet, they leak the dangerous gases and liquids. The gases contaminate air and impact the climate change. The liquids leak to the underground waters and the surface. In the last decade the government allocated funds for creation of the modern sanitary landfills, situated above the water level and containing several layers to protect the environment from leaks. However, these technologies are not perfect and the leaks still take place. Moreover, they require many costs for their creation, maintenance and processing of the wastes. Also, quite frequently the winds blow the wastes of the landfills and contaminate the areas around them with litter. Also, there is a less expensive but evidently harmful way used by the USA. It is ocean dumping. They incinerate the ach to the ocean, thus not thinking about future concerns. It is comfortable at this moment and they apply this strategy to save free areas of land. 

The problem of finding new places to dispose the constantly growing stream of wastes becomes more urgent. The politics must set up functional rules enhancing people to divide the garbage before leaving it. Generally there are two categories of wastes recyclable and non-recyclable. The situation with the recyclable waste is clear, as it can be reused as a source of new materials. And the non-recyclable ones the specialists can compost or incinerate (Parry, 2013). 

One more thing than can make a good impact on this issue is reduction of waste generation by people. And we can achieve that with the support of the government and appropriate country’s environmental policy. The American politicians suggest that recycling is not advantageous as the recycled goods are not always economic to sell. So, the state leaders must provide economic or legal incentives to enhance the society to divide the garbage and the responsible bodies to process, recycle and reuse. 

During the last two decades, the USA manages its wastes under the federal Resource

Conservation and Recovery Act. This legal institution allowed decreasing the amount of uncontrolled waste dumping. Also, they improved the landfill system and launched innovative approaches to their organization. The old standard hazardous ones almost disappeared across the country. Moreover, they cleaned the contaminated sites to protect water, soil and air from dangerous pollutants. So, the American officials realize the hazard of wastes and go forward to make the country clean and safe for its inhabitants.  

Comparison of approaches

It is up to politicians to analyze the successful approaches to the waste management of other countries. And in this relation, Germany is a good example. The political support of waste management programs in Germany allowed lifting this issue to the state level and therefore finding more efficient solutions. As the USA still mainly uses landfills to manage the wastes it takes many costs for their keeping. In such a way, it is much better to direct these funds to the development of reuse program. The politics can keep such a strategy to solve the problem, reduce the hazardous impact of the wastes and get a good source of the raw materials. 

The politicians in Germany are interested in the efficient waste management that brings economic benefits and protects the nature. The government and the major companies in the USA must assist the improvement of the waste management strategies as well. However, the reason for more successful garbage generation in Germany lies in the personal attitude of the people towards it. Their cultural background shows that this nation always tends to think about general good of their country. And in America people think first about themselves and then about all other things. Thus, they should overcome their selfish attitude to this world otherwise the situation with wastes will only worsen. According to that, in order to cope with this problem the American officials should expand the responsibilities of the manufacturers and public for the production and consuming of products and packages. Germany can share its experience with the USA, help to avoid problems with the implementation of these strategies and develop more effective waste management policy. 

Waste management decisions

In order to make the appropriated decisions and solve the problem of waste management it is important to define the nature of the wastes. Municipal solid garbage, natural disasters, animal disease incidents, chemical, nuclear and radiological incidents cause different wastes. And the government must find preferable and available options to generate each of these types. Thus there is no unique solution for all kinds of wastes. Also, the disposal and treatment of the waste depends on its amount. It helps to facilitate the waste management process and make it more effective. The waste management facilities have to sort the wastes into different streams to avoid contamination of the recyclable wastes. However, it requires political regulations at the local, state and federal levels. The role of politics here is major as only it can regulate the waste management process, and thus, save the environment and our future. So, after the waste segregation to different streams it can go to the recycling, treatment or disposal stage. The waste recycling and reuse must be the primary decisions. Nowadays, there are multiple opportunities for fulfilment of these options and even hazardous wastes can pass this stage and serve as new sources of materials. The government in partnership with citizens must direct their forces to minimize the waste generation. It must be priority decisions that can reduce the negative impact of wastes and make our society think about the consequences (Humes, 2012). They mainly concern the environment, including contamination of groundwater, surface water, air and soil. Besides, the hazardous impact of waste can lead to the spread of diseases, injuring people, animals and plants. In order to make appropriate decision it is important to choose the optimal waste management option with regards to the environmental risk. 

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The political officials are responsible for giving permissions and licenses for the waste management options. Thus, they play the major role in this process, studying and controlling the waste generation. Moreover, the officials must coordinate some peculiarities with the local residents. As far as people may dislike the waste disposals or its transportations near their neighborhoods.  In all cases it is necessary to remember that the waste management decisions depend on the cost effectiveness and feasibility of the wastes.  

Thus, in order to protect our planet, save natural resources and money people should reduce the waste they create. The officials should develop the reusing strategies, including technological facilities and creation of positive attitude of people towards the reusable goods. 

However, the definition of the waste depends on us and our attitude to it. People define what a trash is and they need to throw it. But at the same time another person could repair or fix it and use for a longer period of time not throwing it to the garbage bin. The things that are wastes for one people are real treasures for another. So, it is better to donate things that can be used by others. This approach can help to reduce the waste amount greatly (Whiteley, 2010).  

Due to the improvement of life standards in the country people have more opportunities to purchase new products and goods. As the consuming opportunities grow the manufacture of the goods increase as well. Thus, the producers use world resources faster and the supplies of materials will not sustain for the future generations. In order to prevent that, the manufacturers should adhere to the sustainable development programs. And the consumers should control themselves and try to use less (Morgan, 2009).

Future outlook

In the coming decades the waste management will change significantly. According to the existing trends and huge politics involvement in the waste management process in the USA the situation with waste generation will improve. As far as the Unites States is the largest consumer of goods and producer of waste in the world it will use its resources and generate wastes more efficiently. Due to its significance in the development of the entire world, our country has a responsibility to develop and use new efficient approaches and improve the waste management strategies. The country will decrease the quantity of landfills in favor of reuse and recycling. The scarcity in raw materials and energy resources makes people to think about possible ways out of this problem. The recycling and reuse of the wastes at the household, commercial and state levels will allow making the environment greener and solving many problems in the future (Samuelson, 2009). 

The Germany will continue to improve its recycling practices. As far as they are at the higher level of waste management now, they may found new approaches of waste generation. The intentions of the country include achieving zero waste and total recycling and reuse of the produced wastes. Their achievements can allow them to design highly efficient recycling processes and help other countries to develop their environmentally friendly strategies. It is evident that this country has a lot of developments so they will cooperate with other countries worldwide to aid them in launching new waste management programs. 

In the future these countries will use wastes to produce new efficient sources of energy and materials. Also, they will found ways how to avoid harm to the environment and save our planet from the global warming and climate change. To achieve these goals, the politics of the United States and Germany must work together and coordinate the waste management programs in their countries. As those who does not think about others have no future and the country that only consumes and creates nothing cannot maintain its power. 

Conclusion

The issue of waste management is one of the most urgent nowadays. The wastes carry hazard to the future of our planet. The humanity found out several ways to generate their garbage. The most common approach is to create the landfills and store the wastes there. Also, people incinerate and compost it. The more innovative ways are recycling and reuse of the properly divided wastes. However, all these methods need a lot of funds and cause serious harm to the environment. These problems include air-quality issues, water and soil contamination and a greenhouse effect. 

The comparison of two countries the USA and Germany allowed highlighting the differences between the approaches to generate waste in these two countries. Germany has waste management strategies that are more beneficiary to the environment and economics of the country. They succeed in waste recycling and reusing due to the support of the government. Also, the attitude of people towards these issues is utterly significant. They have one of the most successful experiences in the world and continue to develop. In the future, they can possibly find out some new even more powerful and efficient solutions to the problem of waste management. 

The USA has to improve its waste programs and it is on its way to perform that. The country produces one the biggest amounts of waste per person in the world. Thus, they search the ways to cope with their waste. The amount of landfills is not enough and the harm to the environment makes them to think about the future concerns. In the coming years the United States probably will develop new policies aimed at achievement of better results in their waste management programs. 

The ways to find a solution depend on our attitude to it. The waste has a big power as we are addicted to it and the modern world cannot but produce the garbage. Moreover, its amount increases with the development of industries and technologies. Thus, the humanity should not look for the free space to store it, but search the methods to have benefit from the garbage.

Only the politicians can solve the problems connected with the landfills and waste management. The policy of the country must be aimed at a decrease of waste and as a result increase of resources. Moreover, it must be submitted at all levels, from the government to the municipal legislation bodies. A city and town councils must cooperate with the citizens to make our environment cleaner and our future safer.  People must understand that there where is a landfill or an area contaminated with wastes now, once lived wild animals and grew unique plants which we will never see again. 

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