What is the impact of waste accumulation on the environment and your health?
Accumulation of wastes will degrade the environment quality and ability to sustain life, and threaten your ability to remain healthy.
First, if we understand “waste” to be not only things that are simply discarded, but also things “eliminated” from our bodies or systems because they are toxic and non-useful, then the accumulation of those things in our environment will not be good for it.
Second, “accumulation” means that more and more of it are generated. It is not something that we just put in a corner or secured area and work around. It will eventually reach into and impact our living environment.
Third, following #1, a greater amount of toxic, unhealthy waste in our environment will eventually get back into our food chain, and those eliminated toxins will come into contact with our bodies, negatively affecting our health.
This is why “sustainable” living first looks to REDUCE material usage. At he start of the cycle, reducing the amount of material in it will reduce the amount of waste that can be generated.
The second action is REUSE. Reusing or even “re-purposing” anything means that it is not sent to the “waste” mass, and is also preventing the entry into the cycle of whatever it is that would have been obtained for the purpose.
RECYCLING is really the last resort. It does help reduce waste by using it as a resource for new products. But it is also the most energy intensive and difficult parts of the three sustainability options.
One practical problem for sustainable ecology and society is how to balance the resource uses to the waste generation such that no net accumulation of waste occurs. This may not even be theoretically possible due to the second law of thermodynamics – entropy is always increasing.