The importance of waste management

As our global population continues to expand, so does the amount of waste we produce. The quantity of garbage we release today is in fact unprecedented. Consequently, effective waste management has become an indispensable pillar to prevent the critical implications that derive from uncontrolled waste production - such as resource inefficiency, climate change, health consequences - and for achieving sustainability and ensuring a greener future for our planet.

What is waste management and why is it important?

To provide a definition, waste management could be defined as the processes and practices aimed at collecting, transporting and disposing of garbage, sewage and other waste products. The goal of waste management is to increase the product’s lifecycle and reuse and recover materials where possible, in order to reduce the total amount of waste that goes into landfill and minimize the environmental burden. The final goal pursued through this practice is thus to recreate a valuable resource through responsible disposal of rubbish, which is why waste management plays a crucial role in supporting sustainable development and the transition towards circular economy.

The benefits of waste management

With the deteriorating Earth state that we live in nowadays, waste management appears to be one of the most important environmental protection strategies. This practice has, in fact, several benefits both on the environment and the society. In particular, the main benefits of waste management are:

  • Environmental protection and pollution reduction. One of the primary benefits of waste management lies in its ability to minimize the environmental impact of human activities. Proper waste disposal and recycling reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or incinerators, thereby decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. By diverting waste from landfills, we conserve valuable space and reduce the risk of harmful substances leaking into the soil and contaminating water sources, protecting both human health and ecosystems.
  • Resource conservation. Waste management fosters resource conservation through recycling and reusing materials, reducing the total amount of material reaching final disposal. Recycling allows us to reclaim valuable resources from discarded items and, by doing so, we minimize the need for raw material extraction, thus conserving natural resources and mitigating the environmental impacts associated with the extraction and processing of raw materials.
  • Economic benefits. There are plenty of economic benefits deriving from waste management: not only this practice reduces the overall cost of waste disposal, but also fosters the creation of job opportunities. Last but not least, investing in waste management processes boosts companies’ reputation, attracting customers and investors.
  • Enabling a circular economy. Waste management is a key enabler of the circular economy, a model aimed at reducing waste and optimizing resource use. In a circular economy, products and materials are designed for longevity, reuse, and recyclability. This transition from a linear "take-make-dispose" model to a circular one is fundamental in achieving a sustainable and greener future, and it is evident how waste management plays a big part in it.

Waste management in Prysmian Group

Prysmian has long undertaken to make wise and aware use of its own resources to reduce the waste products from every production process. The Group’s Policy on Health, Safety, the Environment and Energy (HSEE), signed in 2020, for systematic energy management and, in general, the optimisation of resources and materials, bears witness to the Group’s responsibility in this matter.

In order to meet the commitments contained in the HSEE policy, the Group manages the various environmental matters by implementing Environmental Management Systems (EMS), which makes it possible to define plans, processes and practices intended to improve the organization’s environmental performance. In addition, specific procedures and operating instructions are followed for the correct identification of:

  • Activities, processes, projects and investments that generate waste, and evaluation of the associated potential environmental impacts;
  • Types of waste generated, their classification under locally applicable legislation and proper grouping and reporting;
  • Specific instructions and training for staff on the proper handling of waste in the Group’s operating units and for its disposal in accordance with regulatory requirements, but also in order to minimize the environmental impact of operations downstream in the supply chain;
  • Specific requirements and/or performance indicators applicable to the various types of suppliers, with random HSEE audits to verify waste operations.

Waste management: a crucial practice to safeguard our Planet

Waste management is not merely a method of getting rid of waste: to reach a greener future, it is mandatory that we adopt waste reduction and recycling practices on both individual and collective levels. Governments, businesses, and individuals must collaborate to promote sustainable waste management and implement innovative solutions. Investing in waste management infrastructure, supporting recycling initiatives, and raising awareness about responsible consumption and disposal habits are essential steps to safeguarding our planet's well-being for future generations.