End-of-life options are confusing, but remember - our products are always better than traditional plastics, no matter where they end up after use. This is because some of the huge environmental advantages start at the very beginning. One of the most important is that they help to keep fossil fuels in the ground because they are made from plants not oil.
The biggest problem with moving to more eco-conscious ways of managing the waste generated by tattooing, is that contaminated waste must be disposed of safely, and in some places there are laws that must be followed regarding this.
Your best end-of-life option will depend on where you are because there are so many different regulations for tattoo waste around the world, as well as differences in available facilities.
In some countries tattoo waste is classified as hazardous or offensive, meaning that by law you must have the appropriate waste management contracts in place and this often dictates that it has to be incinerated. In other countries there are different regulations, or even none at all.
Incineration or landfill are two of the most common end-of-life scenarios for tattoo waste around the world today.
Incineration - You can find green waste management companies who use waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration. These facilities use the steam/heat produced by the incineration process to generate electricity or heat. The process of modern ‘clean’ incineration facilities, produces residues of bottom ash, which is approximately 10% of the original volume of waste, and lime. These byproducts are collected for various other processes by third parties.
Landfill - Landfill does not offer the necessary climate to compost and it is unlikely that any material will be able to degrade efficiently if buried in a conventional landfill. So, even though the materials used to make our products are designed to be composted and returned naturally to the Earth, it’s unlikely that they will be able to properly break down in landfill, but neither does anything else!
So, which is the best current end-of-life option for my tattoo waste?
If you have the choice between incineration or landfill, which are two of the most common end-of-life scenarios for tattoo waste today, then choosing a green waste management company who offer clean incineration would be your best choice.
This is because the process of clean incineration means that your waste would go on to be used for other purposes, where as in landfill it could still be there hundreds of years later and may even find it’s way out into the environment.
However, if landfill is your only option, then remember that our products are still always better than traditional plastics. This is because some of the huge environmental benefits start at the beginning - they aren’t derived from fossil-fuels, they’re sustainable, and the manufacturing process is less damaging to the environment compared to that of traditional plastic products.
Plus, if these materials do end up in landfill after use they will not contribute any significant quantity of methane formation.
Current systems have clearly failed us. If we want to help save the planet and create a more sustainable tattoo industry, then we must think outside the box and look for new ideas, before it’s too late.
At Green House Tattoo Supplies we are committed to finding solutions, and we see the introduction of new products and materials like these as opportunities to reconsider the entire system. We are currently researching alternative end-of-life options for tattoo waste, working with specialists, and focusing our attention on more efficient use and recovery of resources.
There are no perfect solutions to an imperfect system, but there’s room for vast improvements from where we are today.