The Impact Of Recycling In Preserving The Environment

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

The Impact Of Recycling In Preserving The Environment


Waste has been identified as a huge environmental and health problem that if left unchallenged can hinder healthy and effective society. This study was therefore carried out to investigate the impact of recycling in preserving the environments. Furthermore, it attempted to ascertain the impact of solid waste management practice in Nigeria and to evaluate the role of government in waste management in Nigeria. The study adopted the descriptive survey approach and enrolled a sample of 133 respondents from the Lagos state waste management agency (LAWMA). using the Chi-square statistical tool, the null hypothesis result showed that waste recycling has a significant effect on environmental preservation. Furthermore, the findings reveals that there is a relationship between solid waste management and environmental pollution. The environment will remain polluted if solid waste are not properly managed. The study recommended a holistic and people-focused approach in developing and implementing waste management policies.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The generation and disposal of waste is an intrinsic part of any developing or industrial society. Waste, both from domestic and commercial sources has grown significantly in Nigeria over the past decade. Every time a householder shops at the store, and open market he contributes to the mountain of waste. It is possible to quote figures which show that the production of waste amounts to millions of tons. The percent of Nigeria’s population living in cities and urban areas has more than doubled in the last 15 years. The cities and urban areas experience continuous growth which contributes to enormous in generation of solid and liquid waste.

The management of waste is a matter of national and international concern. The volume of waste does not actually constitute the problem but the ability or inability of governments, individuals and waste disposal firms to keep up with the task of managing waste and the environment. There is no doubt that a dirty environment affects the standard of living, aesthetic sensibilities, health of the people and thus the quality of their lives. The corollary is that improper disposal or storage of this waste can constitute hazards to the society through the pollution of air, land and especially water. In this research, our attention would be focused on domestic waste. We will highlight some of the problems which have attended the management of this category of waste in Nigeria today. It will be seen that Nigeria has not done well in the direction of tackling the menace of domestic waste. This is even in the face advanced management strategies existing today for domestic waste management which have been adopted in many places. We will proffer suggestions that may assist in addressing this issue that seems to be aborting most efforts of International organizations, the federal government, city authorities, states and professionals alike.

Recycling depends on waste materials which cannot be reused directly but can be converted to new product or raw material through the processes of transformation. For instance, used paper is recycled into files, envelops and cards. Energy is recovered through recycling through: pyrolysis (combustion of waste in the absence of oxygen to create gases, liquids and solid compounds), incineration (combustion in the presence of oxygen to produce oxidized compounds), anaerobic digestion, gasification and pelletization; as well as composting (biological and chemical degradation of organic waste in either large centralized, small enterprise, backyard or household basis). Together, the ‘3Rs’ aimed at achieving sustainable solid waste management; and, also relates to other global environmental challenges, particularly, climate change mitigation, specifically, the emission of greenhouse gases that could create sustainable development co-benefits and reduction in the emissions of methane (CH4), biogenic carbon dioxide (CO2), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), nitrous oxide (N2O), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) from landfills.

Technologies required to reduce or eliminate greenhouse gases emission, sustainable though, include composting of organic waste, high-tech incineration and expanded sanitation coverage, industrial co-combustion for waste-to-energy, landfill gas recovery as well as thermal processes for waste-to-energy. For example, in Europe landfill receives 66% of waste, incinerated (18%), composted (6%) and recycled (10%); in Eastern Europe, landfill takes 90% and recycled (10%). In the USA, recycling, for instance, takes care of cans, bottles, shipping cardboard, unsold food and scrap. In dealing with the cost of sustainable solid waste management, different principles have been developed: extended product responsibility in which waste disposal cost is inputted in the market price of the product and the polluter pays principle. Success story of sustainable solid waste management is reported in; a case study in Nepal with European Union funding; involving activities such as expansion of house-to-house waste collection, employment generation for community members for street sweeping, and, addition of 58 new dumpsters; installation of organic waste compost machine at Bhaktapur; creation of landfill at Katuwu Khola which replaces dumping of municipal waste at the river bank; and, public private partnership in waste management in Biratnagar with success in only one of the three companies. Expanding recycling programmes can help reduce solid waste pollution but the key to solving severe solid waste problems lies in reducing the amount of waste generated. It was noticed that only the landfill system of waste disposal is being generally adopted in Lagos State. Whereas in other places for example, there are several methods of waste disposal used to ameliorate and mitigate the issue of population effect on waste management Main benefits include sale of compost from recycled waste and employment sourced from the three waste management companies. In Hetauda, success is augmented by the involvement of CBOs and NGOs.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Wastes pose serious environmental and health problems, promote insect vectors like mosquitoes and flies (Cairncross and Feachem 1993), rats and mice, cause fire hazards, flooding of streams, development of aquatic weeds, odor problems, nuisance, and so on. According to Pichtel (2005), the environmental impacts can be clustered into six categories which include: global warming, photochemical oxidant creation, abiotic resource depletion, acidification, and eutrophication. Some of these problems are related to their major constituents. It is on these premises that the researcher intends to investigate the impact of recycling in preserving the environments.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to ascertain the impact of recycling in preserving the environment; but for the purpose of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following objective:

  1. To ascertain the impact of recycling in preserving the environment
  2. To ascertain the impact of solid waste management practice in Nigeria
  3. To evaluate the role of government in waste management in Nigeria
  4. To investigate the environmental effect of solid waste management in Nigeria.
  5. To evaluate the relationship between solid waste management and environmental pollution.

1.4 Research Hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study; the following research hypotheses were formulated;

  1. H0: waste recycling does not have a significant impact in preserving the environment.
    H1: waste recycling has a significant impact on environmental preservation.
  2. H02: there is no relationship between solid waste management and environmental pollution
    H2: there is a relationship between solid waste management and environmental pollution

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the federal ministry of environment, in addressing the challenges of recycling as a means of managing solid waste in the country, the findings will also be of great importance to the environmental management agency as the findings will aid them in developing a model to check and control solid waste management through the recycling process. The study will also be of importance to researchers who intend to embark on studies in similar area. Finally the study will be of great importance to academia’s as the study will add to the body of knowledge

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers the impact of recycling in preserving the environment. However in the course of the study, the researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study. Some of these constrain are:

(a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

(b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

(c) Finance:

The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.

1.7 Definition of Terms


Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. It is an alternative to “conventional” waste disposal that can save material and help lower greenhouse gas emissions (compared to plastic production, for example). Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing: energy usage, air pollution (from incineration), and water pollution (from land filling). Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” waste hierarchy.


Waste and wastes are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or it is worthless, defective and of no use.

Examples include municipal solid waste (household trash/refuse), hazardous waste, wastewater (such as sewage, which contains bodily wastes (feces and urine) and surface runoff), radioactive waste, and others.

Solid waste

Solid waste means any garbage, refuse, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility and other discarded materials including solid, liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material, resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations,


Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light. Pollutants, the components of pollution, can be either foreign substances/energies or naturally occurring contaminants. Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution.

Chapter Five

Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was on the impact of recycling in preserving the environments

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of waste management and environmental preservation.

5.2 Summary

Waste management is capital and labor-intensive, consuming as much as 20 to 50 per cent of municipal operational budgets. Both capital and operational cost savings can be realized by effectively recycling waste that would otherwise end up in rivers, lakes, or landfills, and using treated wastewater and sludge for biogas, irrigation and aquaculture. Also, hazardous waste facilities have not yet been established and hazardous wastes are co-mingled for disposal with municipal solid wastes, despite laws to the contrary. There is the limited involvement of civil society in the execution of waste management projects. Hence, to achieve specific waste management goals in Nigeria, Sustainable Integrated Waste Management which is the selection and application of suitable technologies and management programmes needs to be considered.

5.3 Conclusion

By adopting the wealth aspect from waste or treating solid wastes as resources, in terms of waste management strategy has effectively become not only a service but an instrument for alleviating poverty. Government should not only conceive waste management as a means of service delivery but a war against poverty and poor living environment. The future prospect of scrap metal/plastic collection, scavenging and artisanal recycling is envisaged to be prosperous and can offer livelihood opportunities for poor people if the process of collection remains unaltered. However, price fluctuation and the cost of conveying especially scrap metals to recycling plants outside the study area have negative influences on the motivation for the job and the realization of good incomes adequate enough to meet improved standards of living for members that are still new in the business.

5.4 Recommendation

A holistic and people-focused approach in empowering the unemployed to make choices for their livelihoods should be the key focused of intervention. Within this framework, the collaboration of all stakeholders such as WMEs, municipal solid waste management agencies, government agencies such as the ministries of trade, labour and state security to dialogue and design policies and regulations that will address issues of scrap metal/plastic price, price fluctuations and cost of conveying the materials from collection points to recycling plant and also make provision for a functional recycling plant in Lagos. This will strongly improve the actors income. The implementation of the policies and regulations from ISWM should be strictly adhered to. The policies and regulations should take into cognizance the importance of all stakeholders and harmonize their difference so that the exploitation of a category of stakeholder (e.g. scavenger) by the other (for instance major waste dealers) is minimized. It is suggested that solid waste activity being an informal sector should be transformed into a more formal sector which will in turn bring about better organization of the sector, hence making it more attractive thus, paving ways for lots of job opportunities for a good number of both unskilled and skilled people residing in Lagos. This can be achieved through involvement of non-governmental organization (NGO) to provide appropriate public awareness, tools and educational programmes concerning the benefits of solid waste management. The WMEs should be encouraged to form strong and functional association with educated and influential leaders that will take their case to appropriate government authority.

Lack of diversification was observed from the results of the field work, that majority of the respondents were restricted to waste activity and not diversifying into other activities. Diversification if encouraged will add extra income and promote more employment opportunities. Alternatively, public and private participation (PPP) arrangement should be encouraged to collaborate with WMEs thereby, generating more job opportunities, with a wage adequate to meet improved socio-economic conditions of living for WMEs where issues of social security, work accidents insurance and the provision of working tools, equipment and protective clothing will be well taken care of.

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