According to the various latest reports world generates around 4 billion tonnes of industrial waste each year. Since the world population is expected to significantly grow in years to come, this already huge number could grow even further, creating serious health and environmental issues in many parts of the world.
The waste minimization is the process that includes methods aimed at reducing the amount of waste produced by either a person or a society in general. The waste minimization is closely connected with energy efficiency because less energy used means also less generated waste.
A thorough analysis of waste generating process is the only way to a successful waste minimization policy. The main sources of waste vary from one country to another so the thorough analysis first need to be done on domestic level before moving to some sort of international waste minimization policy.
Waste minimization is not the same thing as waste management because waste management has the main purpose in processing generated waste, with the main emphasis of possible re-usage or recycling of this waste.
Waste minimization is the number one waste management strategy according to the waste hierarchy classification of three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle). Reducing the total amount of waste is the most desirable and of course the most effective solution to tackle the waste issue on global scale.
Our industry is the main generator of waste. The key to reducing the amount of waste produced by our industry lies in improving the efficiency by creating more efficient manufacturing processes and using materials that produce less waste. The main problem is that these advanced manufacturing processes require significant investments which means that they are hard to achieve for many developing countries.
Some developed countries, like UK for instance, even offer government incentives for waste minimization, and incentives are certainly one of the best ways to implement successful waste minimization policy.
With the adequate incentives many industries would look for solutions that would minimize the amount of generated waste. Together with improved efficiency the amount of waste can be also reduced by improved design and better durability of certain products, waste exchange, and of course reuse of waste.