Reducing Waste and Promoting Sustainability: Ideas for Global Waste Management Practices

As part of their sustainability efforts towards reducing and recycling e-waste, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), a Fortune Global 500 Company and a ‘Maharatna’, has launched a special initiative called “Sound Management of Waste Disposal (SMWD)”.

The company has issued a directive on E-Waste Management across its organization to ensure effective management, including timely disposal in compliance with statutory requirements. BPCL is committed to achieving Zero waste to landfill certification at all its operating refineries and marketing locations by 2025.

Improper disposal of waste is a critical challenge worldwide, as its hazardous nature can have adverse effects on the environment, animals, aquatic life, and human beings. BPCL recognizes that waste generated from its refineries and other operations can harm the environment and the community. Therefore, the company has pledged to reduce the waste generated by its operations, implement effective waste treatment techniques, and direct it to disposal through authorized vendors.

With the increased use and dependence on Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) such as Mobile Phones, Personal Computers, Laptops, Servers, Televisions, Washing Machines, Refrigerators, Air Conditioners, etc., there is a significant rise in e-waste. EEEs contain valuable materials and may have hazardous/toxic substances in their components. Improper disposal of EEEs can lead to health risks and environmental damage. BPCL believes in unlocking the circularity of resources and thus diverts e-waste and non-hazardous scrap for recycling and refurbishing through registered recyclers. In FY 2021-22, BPCL completed 2.57 tonnes of e-waste disposal in compliance with pollution control board guidelines.

BPCL’s Research & Development (R&D) department plays a crucial role in innovating and creating new technologies, niche products, and future capabilities for business growth and sustainability. The R&D department is undertaking various developmental activities in niche petrochemicals, waste management, energy-efficient refinery processes, greener chemistries, biofuels, green hydrogen, and CO2 mitigation.

From the above response, there are several ideas that other countries can borrow to improve their waste management practices. These ideas include:

1. Launching special initiatives to promote sound waste disposal management: Countries can adopt BPCL’s approach of launching special initiatives to promote sound waste disposal management. These initiatives can be geared towards reducing waste generation and promoting recycling and proper disposal. For example, India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched a campaign called “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” in 2014 to promote cleanliness and proper waste management practices in India.

2. Issuing directives on waste management: Governments can issue directives on waste management practices to ensure that waste is disposed of safely and in compliance with statutory requirements. For example, the European Union has issued directives on the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment to ensure that they are disposed of safely and recycled properly.

3. Pledging to reduce waste generation: Governments can pledge to reduce waste generation and implement effective waste treatment techniques to protect the environment and the community. For example, the Government of Japan has set a goal of reducing food waste by 50% by 2030 to promote sustainable consumption.

4. Diverting e-waste for recycling: Governments can encourage the diversion of e-waste for recycling to reduce its impact on the environment and promote circular economy practices. For example, the Government of Ghana has partnered with the Global Environment Facility to establish an e-waste recycling facility to promote sustainable e-waste management practices.

5. Investing in research and development: Governments can invest in research and development to develop new technologies and sustainable waste management practices. For example, the European Union has invested in research and development to develop innovative waste management technologies such as bioreactors and gasification technologies.

Adopting these ideas would be helpful to other countries as they strive to promote sustainable waste management practices. These practices can help to reduce the environmental impact of waste and promote sustainable consumption practices. By implementing effective waste management practices, countries can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to global efforts to address climate change.

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