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Educational Programs for Recycling and Repurposing of Solid Waste

You are currently viewing a revision titled "Recycling and Repurposing Man-made Waste", saved on December 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm by Christina Isley
Recycling and Repurposing Man-made Waste




Waste management is an international concern in developed and underdeveloped nations. Sites for waste disposal are increasingly becoming limited. Limited access has led to improper management of waste and environmental degradation. Single-Stream recycling and waste management facilities are not accessible and affordable for all. Among food waste there is waste from man-made products. Solid waste such as clothing, plastics, paper, glass and many of our basic necessities are cased in or made from solid products. When those items are no longer of use or wanted they are discarded with natural resources such as food. But unlike natural resources these resources do not compost. The improper disposal of solid waste that cannot decompose has contributed to environmental degradation.

There are many ways of disposing of such items in a sustainable way that can expand the life of a material or transform it to suit another purpose. Reusing, Recycling, and Repurposing waste is a sustainable way to reduce the amount of waste that is produced by creating a new use or purpose of the material. This cuts down on the amount of waste that is produced and gives communities another resource of waste disposal that is sustainable and has little cost or is free.  


Context within NORA


Being at Home- The access and ability to dispose of waste properly impacts the area and home where one lives. Improper disposal of waste can lead to many (health) hazards in the home and environmental hazards in the surrounding area.

Self-expression- Repurposing waste allows for self-expression through arts and crafts. It allows the individual to think creatively to create a new purpose for waste or create art for decoration.

Opportunities to learn- the introduction of recycling and repurposing programs is a way to educate individuals on how they affect the environment and educate them on new ways of managing their waste. Having education on this could eventually lead individuals sharing this information with others.

Meaningful livelihoods- some individuals or groups are taking the opportunities to learn about recycling with the purpose of creating a greater abundance for themselves and the communities they live in.

Participation-The individual who participates in recycling and repurposing is contributing to the effort toward sustainability.



Water- Waste management has an impact on marine water. Solid waste that is recyclable or reusable finds its way to bodies of water that are habitats for living things.

Land- increasing amounts of land are being used for waste disposal.

Physical, human-made assets- furniture, casings, plastics, paper, aluminum, etc., make up the solid waste stream when they are disposed of. These materials and items can be reused, recycled, and repurposed.


Organizational Forms

Self-provisioning cluster- individuals and institutions reducing the amount of waste they produce and taking the initiative to reuse, recycle, and repurpose the items they have no use for.

Community solidarity cluster- Policies can encourage community efforts in reducing waste, such as recycling centers and thrift stores. This allows for these resources to be available and accessible in the community so that people will more likely decide to manage their waste in a sustainable way.


Understanding Current Patterns of Abundance and Scarcity

What is it?

The type of waste this wiki is focusing on is municipal solid waste and industrial solid waste that cannot be composted. The materials that typically make up these categories of solid waste are glass, plastics, paper, tin, metals, and cloth materials. In developed nations these items that are discarded are taken to a landfill that is reserved for municipal waste. These materials do not compost so they accumulate and the availability for more landfills and space to discard of waste is becoming limited.  In many developing nations there is little to no regulation or resources for the disposal of waste.  When waste is not regulated it is thrown into the environment, burned, or buried; waste also spreads into bodies of water. How we dispose of waste has an impact on the environment and the environment has an effect on all areas of our lives. Although waste cannot be eliminated completely the goal is to reduce the amount of waste production by reusing, recycling, and repurposing waste.

A study in Europe explained that one of the obstacles to waste management is bringing awareness to individual households (Odufuwa, 2012). This study recommended public educational programs that focused on waste disposal, management, accessibility to disposal sites, and waste separation.


Approaches to creating greater abundance



Ohio, USA

(Hildebrand, 2013)

In 2007 Ohio’s government implemented an order to reduce waste and improve energy consumption state wide. Part of this plan was to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills by 75%. This plan was tested at the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. The government created a three year sustainability plan; the staff and offenders created recycling programs and various grassroots projects. Along with the recycling project an environmental literacy program was implemented that gave offenders an understanding of why they were being sustainable and the effects they had on the environment and community. By eliminating trash bags and limiting the use of paper towels they were able to save $130,000 annually and by partnering with a local institution they were able to reach a goal of 98.2 percent waste free rate.


Government regulation

To address the accessibility of waste management making paved roads in order for private waste management companies to reach those in rural or remote areas

Waste separation and recycling regulations for waste management companies

Recycling bends in public

Adopt a resource management plan:

Reduce, reuse, recycle, and restoration of damaged resources or environment

Research into sources of waste reduction and recycling to aim at reducing the volume of solid waste

(Omofonmwan, Eseigbe, 2009)

(Odufuwa, B. A., Odufuwa, B. O., Ediale, O. M., & Oriola, S., 2012)



There are low rates of household awareness of alternatives for waste disposal 

 Implementation of environmental education into existing curriculum of schools. Students working with teachers and staff to implement environmental programs in their schools. Through these programs they gain knowledge to carry with them out side of the school.

Sites with in local areas for the disposal of solid waste that will not compost (electronics, chemicals, clothing, household appliances)

Strengths and Weaknesses


The level of household awareness of recycling and repuropsing waste is low and it is usually a free choice in how an individual disposes of their waste.

Waste companies that do recycle and separate waste often charge so those in a lower soci-economic status may not be able to afford these resources.

Transportation to recycling centers is not always reliable.


The majority of plastics, glass, and other forms of solid waste can be repurposed in homes and used multiple times after their initial use.

When children learn of sustainable disposal of waste they often carry that knowledge into their homes and implement it.

When implemented properly recycling, reducing, reusing, and repurposing lowers the amount of waste institutions produce and send out to landfills. 



How to recycle the sustainable way:


How to recycle common waste and materials:


Seven greener ways to get rid of things:


Electronic Recycling programs by region:


International facilities for recycling, reusing, and repurposing waste:


Recycling center search by region:



Hildebrand, J. (2013). Ohio Implements Energy Conservation and Sustainability Initiatives. Corrections Today, 75(1), 40-48.

Omfonmwan, S.I., & Eseigbe, J.O. (2009). Effects of Solid Waste on the Quality of Underground Water in Benin Metropolis, Nigeria. Journal of Human Ecology, 26(2), 99-105.



Hildebrand, J. (2013). Ohio Implements Energy Conservation and Sustainability Initiatives. Corrections Today, 75(1), 40-48.

Odufuwa, B. A., Odufuwa, B. O., Ediale, O. M., & Oriola, S. (2012). Household Participation in Waste Disposal and Management in Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria. Journal Of Human Ecology, 40(3), 247-254.




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