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Talking Rubbish. How to Manage or Dispose of It


Rubbish is universal yet many do not understand how to manage or dispose of it properly. In many parts of the world, it is practically impossible not to see rubbish littered. Rubbish is produced on a daily basis as people consume goods. Some dispose of their rubbish properly whereas many others dispose of it anyhow and it ends up polluting the environment and becomes an eyesore. This paper will endeavor to summarize the actions that the three major groups- society, business and government have taken in corporate social responsibility, ethics and ethical reasoning in decision-making taking into consideration stakeholders such as stockholders, customers, environmentalists and so forth. The paper will look at how all the stakeholders can tackle the thorny issue of excessive dumping.

Action was taken by various governments

Both the rich and poor countries produce enormous quantities of rubbish and have to tackle it. Policies regarding management of waste in many governments are vague or nonexistent. Yet rubbish poses a serious threat to the environment especially global warming. Some rubbish is hazardous to live organisms as it realizes poisonous gases upon decomposition. Some groups in the society especially the environmentalist have come up with various ways of managing waste such as recycling. This means that a big industry has emerged to deal with this issue. However, this industry is hard-pressed because recycling is very expensive and may close if they fail to get financial support from the government. Conversely, the government has failed to live up to its role of dealing with the issue. It is only left with a peripheral with a supervisory and regulatory role (Talking Rubbish, 2009, p. 2). The government often comes up with campaigns to educate people on waste disposal but many do not follow the advice. Perhaps the government can allow people to dig into the waste of households to check if they are disposing of it properly. Doing so would reveal a lot about people and their behavior because it is often said “you are what you throw away” (You are what You Throw Away, 2009. p. 4).

Governments have come up with rules regarding waste. This is especially the case in rich countries but they fail to reinforce them. Contrary, in poor countries such rules often are non-existent as they deal with other problems bigger than waste. Some policies in waste management in some countries are not useful and only serve politicians’ interests. Such decisions are not ethical because they do not serve the interest of the society but of individual politicians.

Governments of rich countries have rules and regulations concerning landfills. This is in a bid to try to reduce the negative effects from such landfills when waste leaches into the soil and eventually into water bodies. Modern landfills are mandated to take precautions. For instance, European law forbids mixing solid and liquid wastes in landfills and a landfill is permitted to receive one million tonnes of waste every year (A Better Hole, 2009, p. 9). The governments also control burning of waste as it releases toxic gases into the atmosphere. Some have introduced modern incinerators that are more environmentally friendly. However, the rules have not eradicated pollution but the reduction is significant (Down in the Dumps, 2009, p. 5-9).

Environmentalists’ role

Environmentalists working together with firms that manage waste have come up with new methods of handling waste that is environmentally friendly through the application of science. They have come up with faster ways of decomposing waste in landfills as some take many years to rot such as paper thus spreading the time for releasing waste into the atmosphere. Expired beer and soft drinks are added to the waste as they accelerate decomposition. This reduces the volume of wastes in the landfills thus creating space for more waste. Biodegradable waste especially from plants and animals is converted into fertilizers. In addition, instead of burning waste it is heated and broken down into a mixture of gas called syngas, which is then converted into useful chemicals and liquid fuel. Many ways of disposing of waste are high-tech (The Appliance of Science, 2009, p. 11-12).

Consumers’ responsibility

Consumers can buy recyclable products. Buying such products encourages firms to produce environmentally friendly products. After consuming the products, consumers can separate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste to make recycling easier and reduce the cost of separating the waste for the firms that engage in recycling. This is called self-sorting and it makes recycling work much easier. Consumers also help to tackle the issue of rubbish by agreeing to follow policies formulated to manage waste such as paying for the services offered. In some countries, households and businesses are charged according to quantity of waste produced. Ethical consumers will pay fully for the quantity they produce instead of disposing of some illegally to reduce the cost (Round and Round it Goes, 2009, p. 13-16).

Businesses’ Corporate social responsibility and ethics

Most businesses have taken up the responsibility of protecting the environment through the decisions they make. They are concerned about the impact of their decisions on the society. This has made many companies produce goods that can be recycled and while at reduce their carbon print during the manufacturing or production processes. For instance, Hewlett-Packard designs recyclable electronics (Less is More, 2009, p. 20). Governments enable businesses to make eco-friendly goods by offering them incentives such as tax reductions. This is evident in the policies the firms have formulated to tackle rubbish as well as adhering to governments policies (Muck and Brass, 2009, p. 17). However, some firms are unethical in the way they dispose of their waste especially e-waste. Such waste is donated to poor countries but in the real sense, it is being dumped. Some also set up firms to manage waste in poor countries where rules are less stringent and therefore they expose the local population to environmental hazards.

Going green

The problem of waste is easily tackled at the source and this means going green. Some people have taken action and are living green for instance car-pooling, growing their own food, using renewable sources of energy to avoid reliance on fossil fuels and more importantly trying to reduce waste by recycling (Less is More, 2009, p. 20).


Proper waste disposal is the way to go. The government has a bigger role to play by ensuring that proper policies are put in place and reinforced. It should oblige manufactures to incorporate disposal costs in their products as they design them. Such products will be attractive to consumers thus reduce waste. The ways of tackling rubbish should be affordable to all the stakeholders involved to encourage them dispose of waste properly.


A better hole. (2009). The Economist, p. 9.

Down in the dumps. (2009). The Economist, p. 5-9.

Less is more. (2009). The Economist, p. 20.

Muck and brass. (2009). The Economist, p. 11.

Round and round it goes. (2009). The Economist, pp. 13-16.

Talking Rubbish. (2009). The Economist, p. 2.

The appliance of science. (2009). The Economist, p. 11-12.

You are what you throw away. (2009). The Economist, p. 2


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