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According to the U.S. Clean Air Council, about 4.39 pounds of trash per day and up to 56 tons of trash per year are created by the average person in the United States. This means that each day, Americans throw away enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks. One-third of these waste generated is packaging. With these alarming numbers, waste disposal seems like a nightmare.
Waste disposal plays a vital role in cleanliness and the environment. Proper waste disposal methods minimize the spread of infections and reduce the risk of accidental injury to people. It reduces the likelihood of contamination of the soil or ground water with chemicals or microorganisms. A garbage-free environment reduces odor and does not attract animals and insects. It also keeps for an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere.
Wastes are classified into three types — hazardous, non-hazardous and special wastes. Non-hazardous wastes do not pose an immediate threat to human health and the environment such as household garbage. Hazardous wastes have properties such as ignitability or reactivity and contain toxic components that can leach into the soil. Special wastes are regulated with specific guidelines such as radioactive and medical wastes.
An important part of the waste disposal process involves the use of waste receptacles. A waste receptacle's main purpose - also called garbage or trash cans, waste containers and bins, among others - is to collect trash. It is a temporary storage of waste materials, usually made of steel or plastic.
There are different types of waste receptacles for specific types of waste. These are:
Non-Hazardous Waste Receptacles. These are ideal for residential, industrial and commercial use for disposing non-hazardous wastes.
Hazardous Waste Receptacles. Hazardous waste can be solids, gases or liquids. The receptacles for this kind of waste are usually made of steel or heavy lined plastic to accommodate all kinds of wastes.
Medical Waste Containers. These are used for biohazard disposal. They are designed so that the user will never have to touch the lid of the receptacle. Made from either metal or plastic, they are OSHA, OBRA and NFPA compliant. They should be emptied out on a regular basis to ensure biohazard waste doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
Proper waste disposal benefits everyone. It benefits the environment as it prevents toxic chemicals and unsightly waste to leak into our water sources and soil. Using waste receptacles for proper waste disposal encourages recycling, which helps sustain our natural resources. It also protects the general health of the public. Adapting waste disposal methods minimizes exposure to poisonous pollutants that are released from burning garbage. Proper waste disposal also complies with EPA laws and U.S. environment policies.