Possible Solutions to the Problem of Solid Waste Management Basing on the Comparison of the Situation in the USA and the European Countries
Today the problem of solid waste management is current for developed and developing countries because the hazardous effects of the ineffective solution of the question can lead to influencing the state of the environment and changing the ecological situation at the polluted territories. There are many models and programs developed at local, regional, and governmental levels in the USA and the European countries which are worked out for providing the effective solution to the problem of solid waste management.
To overcome the issue of solid waste management, the USA and the European countries practice the collection, transportation, recycling of the waste at the local and regional levels, with focusing on the competitiveness of the industry, with involving the other countries’ landfills, or with concentrating on the inter-municipal cooperation.
It is necessary to develop the economically advantageous project of the industry’s modernization according to which the spending costs should become lower and results higher. The inter-municipal cooperation can be considered as the most economically effective solution to the problem.
The problem of solid waste is one of the most controversial for the urban territories with the constant growth of industries which provide the highest percentage of the solid waste. Moreover, the problem of municipal domestic waste is also current. Today it is more typical for the USA to use landfills and the system of recycling as the main methods of solid waste management.
Nevertheless, different states focus on various ways of waste management with paying attention to the regional and local programs (Bel et al.). However, the main problem which can limit the effectiveness of solid waste management remains unsolved. It is the problem of the local and governmental costs spent for the management. That is why the most effective solution to the problem must be also effective from the point of its financing.
The discussion on the effectiveness of this or that solution to the problem of solid waste management is still open. If it is possible to accentuate the successfulness of the realization of the inter-municipal cooperation in such European countries as Spain and the Netherlands and in the USA, it is also possible to focus on the regional programs typical for the US counties with involving the citizen information programs, recycling, and depending on waste-to-energy plants, and on the cooperation between two countries (Canada and the USA) because they are used with following the standards of technology and provide definite environmental benefits.
Thus, the example of the realization of the regional program associated with solid waste management in the US counties is the system of waste management in Cheshire County. The main characteristics of the system are the usage of the citizen information programs, the waste stream reduction and recycling, the development of the network which connect the territories with the centrally located county landfill.
To support the system, many counties can use public and private partnership with the local transport companies. All these factors accentuate the fact that “municipalities are paying too much for solid waste disposal” (Monahan 7). That is why it is necessary to find the more economically effective solution to the problem.
The idea to use the landfills of the neighbor countries, for instance Canada and the USA, for realizing waste management programs can be considered as effective from the point of economy. However, it is important only for those territories which are located close to the countries’ borders. Moreover, there are many aspects connected with the problems of crossing the borders (transportation) and locating the waste in the landfills (Schaefer). That is why this solution also cannot be considered as the most successful one.
To realize the effective solution to the problem of solid waste management in the USA, it is significant to use the principles of the inter-municipal cooperation which also can involve the definite aspects of the public-private mixed policy. This system is more appropriate for the USA because of the high level of the local fragmentation in the country.
Moreover, it can be also discussed as the more developed one in comparison with the typical local and regional programs. Thus, “in the US, inter-municipal cooperation is usually not compatible with private production, although it is seen as a form of contracting out” (Bel et al. 5).
The inter-municipal cooperation allows decreasing the amount of the costs used for the collection, transportation, effective disposal, and recycling of the solid waste with sharing the responsibility for providing the necessary management. Thus, the effective inter-municipal cooperation can solve the challenges of funding and social costs. Moreover, such form of cooperation between the local authorities contributes to solving the environmental issue which is rather difficult to discuss at local levels independently.
Nevertheless, why is the inter-municipal cooperation more effective than, for instance, regional county programs? It is important to note that modern programs used in counties are predominantly based on the successful aspects of the inter-municipal cooperation which is economically beneficial.
The inter-municipal cooperation provides the opportunities to concentrate on the technological modernization of the processes, development of the transport system, to rationalize the division of the budget and involve all the necessary means with increasing the managerial capacity (Wilson and Scheinberg).
The inter-municipal cooperation as the solution to the problem of solid waste management is based on the efficient economy balance between the country’s territories and provides the effective developed system (Bel et al.).
In spite of the fact there are many programs which are used in the world for solving the problem of solid waste management, one the most economically effective systems is the inter-municipal cooperation which can be successfully realized in the USA.
Discussing possible solutions to the problem of solid waste management, Matthew Schaefer in his article “Waste Management in the U.S. Context: Trade or Environmental Issue?” pays attention to the relations between the USA and Canada, their integration in overcoming the issue of the solid waste with the help of the landfills abroad; Germa Bel and the group of researchers in their work “Similar Problems, Different solutions: Comparing Refuse Collection in the Netherlands and Spain” focus on comparison the effectiveness of the realization of the inter-municipal cooperation in Spain and the Netherlands; in their article “What Is Good Practice in Solid Management?”
David Wilson and Anne Scheinberg concentrate on the necessity of finding the easiest variant for solving the problem which can also be appropriate for implementing in cities and countries with low incomes; Matt Monahan in his “Municipal Solid Waste Study” develops the recommendations for using regional programs in US counties.
In his article “Waste Management in the U.S. Context: Trade or Environmental Issue?”, Matthew Schaefer discusses the peculiarities of the transportation of the waste between Canada and the USA. The author states that such practice has advantages for the economy of the both countries, but it also requires the solution to the question of the open borders and the creation of definite transnational standards for reducing the waste.
Germa Bel, Elbert Dijkgraaf, Xavier Fageda, and Raymond Gradus developed the work in which they analyzed the peculiarities of the realization of the inter-municipal cooperation in Spain and the Netherlands with references to the experience of Great Britain and the USA. It is the most beneficial program from the point of economy for countries with the high level of the local fragmentation.
In their article “What Is Good Practice in Solid Management?”, David Wilson and Anne Scheinberg discuss the findings of their prolong research which was conducted on the problem of finding the most effective and less expensive way to cope with the issue of solid waste management which could contribute to the requirements of the developed countries and developing countries.
They focus on the difference in approaches to solving the problem in big cities and low-income cities. The necessary technological modernization of the process should be supported by the authorities and political commitment. Nevertheless, it is also important to pay attention to the modernization of the economically advantageous recycling system.
In his “Municipal Solid Waste Study”, Matt Monahan analyzes the features of waste management in the counties of the USA and concludes that the current system is not effective in relation to the level of expensiveness and requires the further development. It is necessary to implement the constant system with basing on the cooperative work of municipalities in order to monitor the process of collection, transportation, and recycling the solid waste form the territory.
The articles are similar in providing the analysis of the effectiveness of this or that program depending on the economic factor with the focus on the examination of the benefits resulted from the usage of the mixed (public and private) policy.
These examined articles are different in providing the possible solutions to the problem of solid waste management which depend on various criteria (the involvement of municipalities, governments, integration with the neighbor countries).
Bel, Germa, Elbert Dijkgraaf, Xavier Fageda and Raymond Gradus 2006, Similar Problems, Different Solutions: Comparing Refuse Collection in the Netherlands and Spain. PDF file. 07 Apr. 2012.
Monahan, Matt 2004, Municipal Solid Waste Study. PDF file. 07 Apr. 2012.
Schaefer, Matthew. “Waste Management in the U.S. Context: Trade or Environmental Issue?” Canada-United States Law Journal 28.103 (2002): 103-114. Web. 07 Apr. 2012.
Wilson, David and Anne Scheinberg. “What Is Good Practice in Solid Management?” Waste Management & Research 28.12 (2010): 1055-1056. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.