What is residual waste anyway?

27 october 2022, By Anenaa Thirumurthy
Estimated time to read: 5 minutes
confused woman
Residual waste is non-hazardous waste that does not count to the other recycled types of waste. In other words this is non-recyclable waste which we cannot be handed in separately. Residual wastes can further mean residual municipal wastes such as mining wastes. However we won't be using this definition for the purposes of this article. In the Netherlands residual waste (rest afval) is thrown in the grey bins where these can be found at most sorting bins.

How Much Do We Produce?

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Over the last five years the municipal residual waste produced in European Union is around 113 million tons. Even though the recycling rates are slightly increasing from 45% in 2015 to 48% in 2020. Reaching the target of reducing the residual waste by halve (56.5 million tons) will be achieved only by the year 2030 according to our source above.

What Are Some Examples of Residual Waste?

According to Milieu Centraal, these can be for instance CDs, diapers, coffee cups (unless specifically collected otherwise) ,chips bags (yes your Doritos bag too), credit cards, photo graphic films, pizza boxes, ceramics and more.

Is Residual Waste Dangerous?

trash on the street
The answer for this question is difficult as the residual waste is diversified. It's difficult to tell if the residual waste can harm the people and environment but the residual waste component containing the food processing wastes, presents relatively little risk. Others such as some metal containing wastes, present a high degree of risk. And these would need to be collected separately, especially if you are a business entity.
The residual waste by itself doesn't come under the material defined as hazardous by the government (such as radioactive waste) but they include the near hazardous waste that are not covered under the regulation of the hazardous waste.
Hence if these residual wastes are not disposed properly or sorted maximum as possible, they can cause a significant environmental harm and health problems, which might include chemical burns and cancers.
Prior to its treatment it is sometimes pre-sorted. The remainder of this waste is treated by incineration or pyrolysis, which is the process of burning or thermal processing in an oxygen-less environment. After incinerating the residual waste, the heat produced is typically used to provide electricity or used for district heating.

How can it be prevented?

The main solution is to reduce the usage of the products which can't be recycled properly. By doing so the residual waste will not be generated in the first place.
The second main reason which will help you to prevent the residual waste is that to sort the waste as much as possible. Over 60% of the residual waste produced could have been recycled if only they were thrown away properly. And this number is even higher when you look at places with large foot traffic where people aren't so keen on sorting their waste properly anyway.
In these recent days there are so many technical advancements which helps you to sort the waste into different categories. We are one of such companies with that technical advancement.

About PLAEX:

Garby in an fice
At PLAEX we create smart recycling bins based on artificial intelligence to sort various types of waste.
Unlike the regular manually sorting bin which are huge leads people in confusion which waste goes in which bin. Our new smart bin GARBY will sort waste for you automatically, at the source and provide you with waste management statistics and inform you when its full.
We also launched a pilot program where you can ask for a demonstration of our products.

Final thoughts:

Residual waste is produced 113 million tons every year. These are waste are not recycled to the fullest. Though government tries to recycle residual waste to the fullest it becomes very hard to reduce residual waste. The products which produces residual waste must be reduced . Usage of the sorting bin such as GARBY which will help you sort out maximum waste with low effort should be implemented.
How would you like to be part of the change to a more sustainable future? Remember, it is not complex, it's PLAEX.
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